Thursday, April 9, 2015

Spring Break reflection #roadtrip

Lola and Carter
I love Spring Break. And I'm lucky to have two weeks off -- to rest, recharge, and reflect.  Spring Break means sleeping in, (until 6:15 am- see crazy dogs above who are my alarm clock every day) no makeup most days, and time to write and catch up on reading. Spring Break definitely feels like vacation, but I also know that learning and inspiration continue for me regardless of whether school is in session. This break started with a trip down the California coast starting with a stop for BBQ in Pacifica! Super yummy, even though the brisket and pulled pork sold out just as we went to order...

One of the things I love about taking road trips is taking pictures- every day is a photo walk! Here is the Pigeon Point Lighthouse on Highway 1.

A lighthouse and a new photo app
And... The Mystery Spot! 
Santa Cruz
an afternoon walk
Every vacation, I try to make a trip to the ocean. I love listening to it, watching it, everything. Sadly, vacations always end, but I still had over a week of break left! I decided to take a few road trips to visit schools-- to connect with my friends, to learn, and to be inspired! I do consider myself to be a connected educator, and I love learning from passionate educators via Twitter and Voxer. Being a connected educator means a lot of different things, as Pernille Ripp explains in her post here. As she shares, it's not just about being connected to people via social media. It's also about face-to-face connections, and with this in mind I hit the road! First stop? Corte Madera and The Cove School in the beautiful Bay Area. I was interested in this school for a few reasons: their school is brand new with some amazing learning spaces and I'm still on the hunt for design ideas for our new campus which is slated to start construction in June. This school also has Cove in Motion, which means they start every day with exercise and fun as a whole school! Petra Luhrsen and I headed out at 5:30 am so we could get there before school started to meet Amy Fadeji. Principal Michelle Walker met with us first thing and shared the guiding principles and signature practices of Cove. Then she set  us loose in the school! A picture is worth a thousand words, so here is a little tour for you! 

Who let the dogs out? Who? Who?
Mrs. Fadeji in motion
A great way to start the day!
This kindergartner explains her daily schedule
Project GLAD meets mindfulness

Love these chairs!
The reading tent 
Flexible tables- no assigned seats

"Could you clarify that for me?" says this 2nd grader

cafe tables

musical fun

We HAD to test out the web!

Next stop... Hall Middle School, home of the amazing Eric Saibel. This middle school has 5th graders, for this year anyways, and we were excited to check out Eric's school.

Staff feedback posted in the lounge
 You can read more about this feedback, and how it was gathered by this school's leaders and shared to help improve school culture in Eric's post here.

What do current students value at Hall?
We found something sparkly!
Learning walls
Today I headed out with Trisha Sanchez and Petra Luhrsen to check out Stoneridge Elementary School in Roseville. Stoneridge is a STEAM powered school with an awesome principal Brandon Blom!

This patio gets a makeover this summer
These will decorate the patio!
Three little pigs STEM experiment
iPad charging station
Erin Dealey inspired art!
Love this idea- kids work in the library!
Project Lead the Way in 5th grade

4th grade STEM- building "modules" to keep the egg safe!
Love this office art!
Stoneridge selfie 
Whether it was a trip to the ocean or a school visit, this Spring Break has me feeling rested and energized and ready to head back to school in a few days. It's been great to relax and connect face to face for sure. But being a connected educator really never takes a break - each day I have the opportunity to listen and learn via Voxer and Twitter. I've been really thinking about how to incorporate a Maker Space in my school and what that looks like. I've also been thinking about where to store all of our STEAM gear- Spheros, Bee-Bots, Makey-Makeys and more currently live in my office. I recalled Brad Gustafson talking about a mobile cart for this maker stuff and threw out a question about where to get it. Not too much later came this:

This link is more than just a LINK. Brad wrote a whole blog post! All about Maker Spaces and the amazing mobile cart you see below. AMAZING. You can read the whole post here.

Monday I'll return to school relaxed and recharged. And I'm also heading back with tons of ideas and inspiration for our school. On your next break, where might you go? Take a road trip and learn something awesome!


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