My brother called the other day; he was very excited. While on a business trip in San Francisco, he ran into Jerry Rice, yep possibly the greatest receiver of all times, Jerry Rice. He had a chance to talk with him, shake his hand and even get a photograph.
We all have people we would love to meet in person. For some, it’s a famous actor or actress, for others a professional athlete, a political figure or someone that has inspired them. For me, if I could choose anyone it would be the Scholars in Room 208. Ever since hearing about these third and fourth grade podcasters from Wells, Maine, I have been hooked. I listen to their podcasts every chance I get and wait anxiously for their next broadcast. Even though I have never met them (until recently), I felt like I was a part of the class, sitting in their interviews, going on their field trips and even living through the renovations in the gymnasium.
This week, my dream came true. Dawn Strunk and I visited the Scholars of Room 208. Monday night we accompanied Bob Sprankle, Cheryl Oakes and Alice Barr to a wonderful dinner filled with fun conversation and a bit of ed tech theory. Bob is the teacher in Room 208, Cheryl the computer teacher at Wells Elementary and Alice a Technology Coordinator at a different district in Maine. If all of these names seem familiar to you, it may be because they are also the hosts of Seedlings on Bit by Bit. My favorite dinner take-away, monk-e-mail, sure, not the most educational tool in the world, but good for a laugh.
On Tuesday, Dawn and I were honored to visit the students of Room 208. Upon our arrival, the energy in the room was unmistakably electrifying. After lunch, students got right to work writing their weekly blog. Several teams worked on their respective sections, asking questions and refining their thoughts. Afterwards, students read their section aloud while other students provided feedback. Comments such as, “I’m not sure that transition works there” and “do you think that was made clear enough” were part of this peer review process. Mr. Sprankle has masterfully managed to create a culture of collaboration in a safe and friendly environment.
After recess, a tour of the building and some time for questions (oh, and a fire drill), we all traveled to the computer lab for a visit with Ms. Oakes. After a few minutes of typing exercises, Ms. Oakes gathered the students to provide instructions for the day and review some internet safety rules. Personally, I was having a hard time keeping up, but the students had no problem. After writing a letter to their parents, students had some time to explore their Think.com accounts. Chris and I put together a survey to determine the class’s favorite band.
Sometimes when you get to meet the person you’ve always wanted, you come away a bit disappointed. NOT ME! I had an unbelievable visit and want to sincerely thank Mr. Sprankle, Ms. Oakes, Ms. Barr and especially all of the students in Room 208!