Every year, our 7th graders participate in a Medieval Faire sponsored by their history teachers. It’s one of my favorite activities of the year. I got to pretend to be a peasant with a wee bit of the plague.
This week I’d like to highlight a post by Areli that she wrote for the Edublog Challenge. I think it is wonderful. You can visit her blog by clicking HERE.
For Challenge#5 I have decided to write about my baby sister, Airani. Here is a picture of her in her ankle-foot braces and walker. Enjoy!
In 2010, my brother, sister, and I were expecting a new baby sister to join our family. We were very excited and anxious, and my parents already had a name for her–Airani. Unfortunately, the doctors had informed our parents that the new baby would be a little, extra special compared to other babies. Airani was diagnosed with a birth defect called spina bifida. Spina bifida is when the tissue surrounding the spinal cord does not develop completely and (many times) nerves in that specific area are affected. Airani’s spina bifida condition does not allow her to move or feel her feet, not allowing her to walk.
That August, we welcomed our new little sister into the world. After three weeks in the hospital, she finally came home. Airani is now two years old and will be turning three on August 5th. Right now she is going to physical therapy to help her become stronger from her lower body and she has definitely found her ways to move about, usually to find Mom. When Airani was younger, she would roll around on her back to reach a certain destination. Now that she is older, she is bending her knees and is trying to crawl! She does move around quite well now. In order to stand properly, she needs to be wearing her ankle-foot braces so her feet can stay straight. Since she is growing and people can’t be carrying her all the time, she is using a walker to help her move around as well and is soon to have her new wheelchair. That’s pretty exciting!
Airani has made great improvements and (hopefully) will continue to make more throughout her life. She cannot walk now; however, there is a possible chance that she will be able to someday. Even though she is limited in what she can and cannot do, we still make her a part of everything and try to be creative so that she can participate. Seeing her and how strong she has become is more than I could have ever asked of a happy, healthy little sister and I hope that Airani won’t give up on her dreams.
Breeyana, one of the most talented and creative students I’ve ever had, surprised me with a homemade gift. If you are not a Minecraft player, it is known as a Creeper. Thank you Breeyana!
Two visitors arrived at school a couple of weeks ago. They are truly world travelers! They began their trip a long time ago with our friends in New Zealand, the Ins and Outs. They arrived along with a wonderful book that told the tale of their meeting. It’s Snail and Whale!
They even have their own blog which we used to post a few stories about the fun times we had together. We took them on a tour of campus and my AVID class had the opportunity to take them with us on a fieldtrip to the University of California Santa Cruz.
You can check out some of our photos below. At the end of our visit together, we sent Snail and Whale off to their next class in Florida. I wonder what they will find there?
What a busy month March was! I finally have the chance to get caught up with blog posts and share my experiences.
In the middle of March, I was able to attend the Computer Using Educators (CUE) conference in Palm Springs, California. My head is still spinning a bit from all of the great sessions, seeing so many good friends, and making so many new ones.
I was part of a wonderful group of five educators from my school district that attended. We had a blast covering multiple sessions, sharing our ideas, and eating great dinners. It made the LONG drive (about 6.5 hours) seem a lot shorter!
The keynote speaker was one of my heroes in education, Sir Ken Robinson. He told the audience of nearly 4,000 that educational technology was at the top of a giant wave that was transforming education. Technology allows students to express their creativity. It also allows teachers to be learners alongside their students and to become innovators in the classroom once again. I was very fortunate to be able to attend a follow-up session with him and receive a copy of his latest book along with the photo below
I absolutely loved the sessions that I attended. Many were presented by friends of mine. I had the opportunity to meet up again with my blogging buddy, Linda Yollis, and we had a great time. She presented a wonderful session on blogging and parent involvement. My friends that attended with me were very impressed and we all learned a great deal from Linda!
Even though the conference is over, I have many fond memories to reflect upon. I am also looking forward to the next conference that I will be a part of. It is called the Rockstar Teacher Camp and it will be in my hometown of Paso Robles at the end of April. I’ll get a chance to meet more inspiring educators!
Students entered their village for the first time last week, Exciting!
Part 2 – Implementation
Since my previous Minecraft post, my students and I have busy role playing our characters while learning about the feudal social pyramid and the role of the church in the early middle ages.
My goal is to use Minecraft to complement my curriculum objectives. Students will be role playing medieval, and then renaissance characters, in the virtual world being created by myself, my aides, and a talented high school aged son of a colleague. I will embed lessons and quests within MC that will provide my students with options for learning the required standards.
Students will not be required to play MC. I will always provide options that allow for students to explore learning by other means. I do, however, expect to find that many students will want to “live” in our virtual classroom world and that I will be challenged to manage and distribute interactive content on a regular basis.
We are currently preparing to enter our medieval world. Each of my five history classes has their own village based on a real English city. They also have roles to play from duke and duchesses all the way down to peasant farmers.
When we finish our studies on medieval Europe, we will move into the renaissance period. At this point I will load up another world we are creating, Tudor London, and all my classes will “live” within the walls of this historic city while we become enlightened.
We end the school year with the Age of Exploration and I intend to send students off to discover and settle their own new worlds.
Next post – Assessments
Had a chance to role play a bit with my middle schoolers today. I created a medieval scriptorium complete with Gregorian Chants, candles, and incense.
To prepare, students used Google translate to covert the content I wanted them to learn into Latin. They used the Google font Medieval Sharp to turn their translations into the final script we used to copy to vellum.
They spent 35 minutes in complete silence and focused attention to create the first part of what will become our illuminated manuscript.
As a bonus, we made a deep discovery. When examining images of a 1,000 year old manuscript, they quickly discovered it was written in Latin and collaborated to translate the page as I watched. Awesome day of learning for all.