West Middle School is committed to preparing our students for their world. It’s exciting to be part of a staff that is committed to embracing better practices and new experiences that empower and challenge students. We are making sincere efforts to provide 21st century learning experience for our students – that includes capitalizes on opportunities to embrace new technologies.
West Middle School has been fortunate to receive a video streaming bundle that enables us to connect to other institutions/agencies. Some of our teachers are participating in the Skype in the Classroom movement, using this as a means to connect to others worldwide. Our new video streaming equipment enables this same easy connection [we only need an outside IP address] but it allows for more capabilities.
Our first month having this equipment has been a great deep dive experience! Below is a video taken of one of our 7th grade science classes several weeks ago as they listened to a great talk on organ donation. I knew this would be an interesting talk but I didn’t know the impact this presentation would have on our kids. Our kids asked great questions about policies, procedures and biological ‘whys and why nots’ of donations! I had a great time watching them have a great time!
I knew this was going to be a great experience for our students but 3 days ago our staff participated in a presentation [as students] and I saw the potential for expanding our teaching and planning competencies. Our instructional facilitator arranged for our PD session with NASA and we got a quick overview on how we can collaborate on some great projects and learning opportunities. This included:
- Live shots of satellites in space – cool
- Satellite shot of West MS from space [it’s a GoogleEarth shot but he really made a big deal of it so I go excited] – very cool
- Pre-designed activities that students have to complete then we dial them in for the culmination – very, very cool
- Possibly interviewing real NASA personnel to talk about what is needed to work at NASA!!
These were just some of the ventures he described. This is a great opportunity to provide a different kind of rigor and relevance for our students! We will continue our talks about embedding these opportunities from several outside sources into our instruction through our PLCs and collaborative planning. These experiences along with our focus on high yield instruction will go a long way in providing meaning learning to students.
We can credit and thank a lot of people for this and future learnings:
- District support staff – Instructional Technological Facilitators
- Our instructional facilitator Art ‘Sonic’ Smith
- A rockin’ staff and great students
- Our outside agencies – NASA and NCSSM