Monday, June 1, 2015

Cajon take me away....

When I was a kid, there was this great commercial, which is still quoted by many of my generation today, for Calgon bubblebath.  "The traffic, the boss, the kids, the dog!"  Oh my, how very simple the burdens were in the 70s!  With four days left this week, and one professional development day on Monday, the stress level is at an all - year high.  Yes, the scramble has begun for all those outstanding papers and assignments, as the year comes to a close.

Today was my annual celebration with my gifted and talented seniors.  Each year, we gather together for breakfast, and for the announcement of the Grey Scholarship winner.  The Grey Scholarship is awarded to a Donegal Senior who assisted in creating a positive learning environment, fostered the most advanced abstract thinking in classmates, and served to challenge those around him or her to explore new and different paths to understanding.  Seniors are nominated and chosen by their peers who have been impacted by the senior of choice.

"His questions brought great discussion to the group."

"She inspires me to be the most peaceful person I can be.  She made me think more creatively and positively in everything I do..."

"...He has a creative imagination and can easily influence anyone he comes in contact with.  He brings people out of their shells and easily gets the day going." 

"... He is always engaged and working to involve all his peers, sharing creative and insightful ideas."

"I like how he challenges other people's opinions and makes me reconsider things."

The praises went on and on, as the nominations rolled in.  Yes, this is a special senior class.  And yes, I probably say that every single year.  When it was all read and counted, Alex Wakefield won, with the highest total nominations.  (That's him at the end of the table in the blue shirt, flanked by his girlfriend, Betsy, and Bryce -- two other fine nominees...)

Beginning my day with seventeen of the best and the brightest students was certainly a highlight.  In fact, as I headed to school after leaving the diner, I figured I'd celebrated the high point for the day.

Boy was I wrong!

To quote Sonny and Cher, the Beat Goes On.

Presentations continued.  While individual classmates are probably unaware of the intricacies of all of their classmates' projects,  and are somewhat surprised by the accomplishments.  

Novel writing and editing, a study of emotions and cartoons in a kindergarten sibling, an analysis of the Oakland Raiders' front office, and where they've gone wrong.  Learning languages, spending five minutes every day choosing something new to explore, journaling, scrapbooking, quote-gathering, and finding inspiration.  The metacognition and personal reflection was astounding.  

I'm still hoping to see the Tri-copter (aka drone) that one student is building, and was fascinated by the Cajon Drum, which provided my Calgon calming moments, as Alyssa described the construction of this birchwood instrument, and then played it for the class.  While it looks like a simple box stool, it is a fascinating instrument that she not only built, but has played in worship at her church. 

And yes, that is a Webb's Depth of Knowledge Wheel on the board behind her.  I defy anyone to say that the focus of these projects is anything but DOK 4, given the intensity, creativity, and synthesis involved in the projects presented.

Yes, summer is coming.  I've learned so many new things, that my bucket list continues to grow.  

Duolingo, Cajons, and so many more resources have challenged me to consider what I can do on my summer vacation.

Which starts a week from tomorrow!

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