Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chester Academy Visit

Today I had the pleasure to visit Chester Academy, a K-8 school in Chester, NH of about 600 students.  While I was disappointed that the 6th & 8th graders were out of the building (those are my people!), it was such a pleasure to walk the halls and see the classes in session.  Again, I was reminded of the importance of collaboration, because as always happens when meeting other teachers, I left there with some more new ideas in my pocket.

In the fifth grade, students had a visitor from the Audobon Society, who met with small groups.  The presenter had crickets, a frog, and some sort of constrictor snake that gave me the shivers as she wrapped it around her neck.  The kids were enthralled.  Across the hall, the other 5th graders were on a mobile computer lab, funded by a grant a group of teachers had written, on a "virtual" field trip to Yellowstone National Park.  Fourth graders sat with serious looks on their faces giving their teacher their full attention as they did Science NECAP preparations.  Second graders talked to me about how they don't get along with their older brothers.  Third graders were sprawled around the art room undertaking different projects and collaborating in groups.  A seventh grade reading group met in a small room, and a boy told me the story of his broken collarbone. 

After my tour, I spoke at the faculty meeting about "Classrooms Without Walls,"  but as I reflected on my way home, I realized that this faculty is already practicing this.  They had visitors in the school.  They had can drive signs up in the hallway.  The sixth grade was at science camp.  The eighth grade was in Boston.  They were already blurring the lines between the classroom and the community--and I wish I had realized that earlier and applauded them for that. 

I am so grateful to schools who are allowing me to come in--it is nothing short of an honor to witness the wonderful things that take place in all of our schools in New Hampshire.  Much thanks to the faculty & staff for the stimulating conversations that lingered right out into the parking lot.  It is extremely appreciated on my part.

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