Collaboration

Over 6000 educators from around the globe gathered in Anaheim for the Annual ASCD convention.  More about the individual sessions in another post ~ this one is to thank the Randolph crew that was in attendance.  I was the only HS person and I must say it was wonderful being around the elementary educators ~ they always have such an enthusiastic and passionate approach to teaching children ~ it was invigorating being around them!  And what better place for elementary educators than Disneyland, California style!

ASCD

ASCD ~ OPENING SESSION

After a great pre conference on the brain and learning yesterday~ today was a great opening session with Jim Winter and WAVELENGTH.  The link below will be especially meaningful for educators and is just a glimpse into the 90 minute performance we witnessed today ~ excellent beginning.  Stay tuned for more ASCD highlights!

Shriver Cup Special Olympic Bowling

This has been a busy weekend for our Special Olympic teams.  Yesterday we hosted a regional basketball tournament and today our athletes traveled to North Brunswick to represent Randolph High School in the Shriver Cup Special Olympic Bowling tournament.

Our bowling team is coached by Ms.  Patti Mountjoy and Ms. Erin Donnelly.  These coaches have been working with our athletes since last year’s tournament to get them ready for competition.  Everyone had an awesome time and our mens team brought home a bronze medal.

This weekend marked the opening ceremonies for the Unified Special Olympic winter games in Austria.  The goal of Unified Special Olympics is inclusion.  Athletes with intellectual disabilities play and compete on the same team as athletes without IEP’s.  This movement has really been taking off (please see earlier post where NJ Unified Special Olympics recognized RHS as an exemplary play unified school).

I could not be more proud of our special olympians as well as our high school partners who have given of their time to practice and compete with our special olympic athletes.  I urge you to attend an event to see first hand what I’m talking about ~ incredible.

 

Unified Special Olympics

Randolph High School hosted a Unified Special Olympic basketball tournament this morning with Cranford, Union City, and Trenton.  It was by far one of the best athletic events I have attended all year.

Play Unified gives our special athletes an opportunity to compete with their general education peers and to watch the interactions between and among the players is truly heartwarming.

This was the first time that our team competed in basketball and they were outstanding.  While according to the scoreboard they did not win, the expressions on their faces while playing and scoring baskets evidenced the great time they had competing ~ they were definitely winners in my book.

Tomorrow they will be competing in the Shriver Cup Bowling tournament in New Brunswick ~ good luck to our athletes!!

A Day in the life…

There has been some chatter on social media talking about teachers and administrators getting a true birds eye view of what it’s like to be a student.  That’s one of those things that we all seem to think we know all about because we all were one “of those” at some point in our lives.  I’m here to tell you ~ if we did know~ we forgot!

The administrative team at the high school agreed to a shadow day ~ a day where we each picked a student and became their “buddy” for the day ~ ALL DAY!  We covered all grade levels and tried to pick different types of schedules.

First and foremost~ we were exhausted at the end of the day despite the fact that one of the administrators tracked the steps taken and it totaled a mere 2000 for her ( a far cry from the recommended 10,000 per day).  Of note however is that the student did not have physical education that day.  I, on the other hand, played 40 minutes of floor hockey as the goalie.  It was not pretty but I managed to leave in one piece AND got to my next class on the opposite side of the building on time.  And PE as the second block of the day with 7 minutes to “freshen up” is a killer and does not make for a great hair day.

Many of us were given tests that we had to take and experienced what it was like to (for what many times is a legitimate reason)  walk in to a testing situation without being fully prepared.  Yes, we were graded :-).  I used to bristle a bit when I would observe a class and students were given a minute or two at the end of the period to “chill!”  Living the life of a student, I could have kissed the teachers who did that so I wasn’t running down the hall fumbling with my backpack and papers trying not to be late to the next class.  Lunch was an experience ~ and LOUD.  I forgot my lunch pin so was almost not able to buy lunch because the new lunch lady did not know who I was and even providing my name turned up as  “no results” on the computer ~ thankfully she let me write down my name with a promise to return with the money.  During lunch I received a message that my mom had been taken to the hospital and not being able to get service to call her was very frustrating.  I did finally find a spot with service and found out she was taken to the hospital for some tests.  The afternoon was that much more stressful wondering if she was OK.  It truly gave me pause when I thought about how many of our students could potentially be walking around with so much more to think about than what class they had or homework assignment or upcoming assessment.  The afternoon included history, advanced woods and English.  My student taught me the lathe, a sanding machine and a table saw ~ I’m no better at wood working than I was at sewing in eighth grade!  History was a test on WWII and English was group work on a project.  Watching the clock get (slowly) closer to 2:30 had most students already thinking about what the rest of the afternoon held for them ~ practice, getting food somewhere, and then getting home sometime well after 6 or 7pm. PHEW!

Collectively we were able to identify some areas of a student day that we can certainly pay more attention to.  It is my plan to convince at least one or two teachers from each department to engage in this activity.  I believe that once they really see what it’s like to sit in 5 or 6 academic classes with PE in the mix, they will be much more sensitive to what it might be like to navigate being a student.   I’m positive the resulting discussions will produce some viable ideas to improve the life of students at RHS ~ stay tuned!

 

Just a few students ready for the day….

shadow day