Thursday, January 29, 2009

Back from Doha, Qatar

We made it back! We arrived home Tuesday! What a trip! I'm speechless!

The goal of the Conference was for International student teams to develop a new global collaborative project that will address a vital social issue. All of the teams did well; the four best proposals are now competing on the Conference Ning. You can go to the Ning, read about the projects and then vote for the one that you believe gives the best 'pitch' and is worthy of launching. The winning project will begin sometime during February of '09.

In addition...we have posted most of our pictures and our reflections on the Conference Ning. Take a few minutes and surf through the site. You'll be amazed at just how well the students connected with each other and at the projects they produced. Our very own Karla and Steve are on two of the final four teams! Wow!

Friday, January 16, 2009

We're on Our Way...

All through the Winter Break I believed that we were not going to be able to make the trip. My blog post about our quandry reflected my mood. We hadn’t raised nearly enough money and felt certain that the students would want an ‘all or nothing’ scenario about attending the conference.

When the students returned to school on January 6, I proposed the question to them. They asked for a couple of days to think about it. They came back to me the next day (they had their own meeting about the situation) and said they felt that if they all couldn’t go at least some of them should since they all had worked so hard on the Flat Classroom Project. I reminded them that we had money for only 3 students to attend—and those students could attend only if: 1. Mr. Stallworth (our principal) supported this change in plans, and 2. Those three students would need to contribute roughly $500 each toward airfare and other expenses.

They agreed, so I proposed the change to Mr. Stallworth and he gave his approval. Now, we had to choose which three of the 9 would attend. Steve R and Karla N both won awards for their Project Multi-media artifact, so they were selected based on those awards. All that was left was to choose the third student out of the 7 remaining. Admirably, the three juniors took themselves out of the running. They said that they would have an opportunity to participate and attend the Conference next year.

That left 4 seniors…two of which said the $500 wasn’t possible for them to raise. Now we were down to two remaining seniors. I told them that I couldn’t choose…they would have to devise a plan. They decided on an essay contest. Each student wrote an essay on why they should be selected to attend/what the conference meant to them. When I read the essays, I wept. Both essays were wonderful and very touching. How could I choose?

Since I couldn’t choose, I turned the matter over to Julie Lindsey and Vicki Davis. They too were equally impressed with the essays and had difficulty trying to select a ‘winner.’ They decided to factor in the students’ Project Multi-media artifacts to help them make a decision. It worked…they felt that Erika B’s video was the more creative and informative of the two, so Erika was selected as our third participant.

Then…the rush to pay for tickets and to secure copies of passports, etc…all the while still planning for and teaching 100+ students! Wow!

Here's an update on our finances: Our airfare is paid for…what would just be superb would be to get in a few donations that would cover expenses for the students while we are there so that their families would be relieved of the burden of any more expenses. The ChipIn on our conference blog says $3,000…if we could raise $700-$1,000 I know that would cover the additional expenses. So...if you can, if your are willing, please ChipIn for my students!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Please ChipIn and Help My Students!

Last semester my students participated in the Flat Classroom Project. They have been approved to attend the Flat Classroom Conference this January...we've been fundraising and have done well, but just need a little more to get there...Will you ChipIn and help them?? Their trip begins on January 21!!!

Thanks for helping!!