Survey Results Are In!

After administering the Active Learning Classroom survey designed by Steelcase Education, 253 students responded.

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Professional Development

As professional educators it is our obligation to our craft to continue to develop our toolbox of skills as the world our audience lives in changes. By meeting our students where they are at…in their world…we are required as teachers to reflect on creative strategies that allow our students to grow academically during their formation at Rockhurst. Professional Development is a key aspect of our careers as teachers and is also an crucial component of STEAM.

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Reflection on Student Whiteboards

When I notice the many changes that have occurred during the transition to the new classroom, I am most impressed with the way in which the students seem to be more engaged in daily activities. This has been achieved with new furniture/technology and with the introduction of the personal whiteboards to the students. The whiteboards serve many functions in the new classroom, including privacy and visibility.

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Service Learning

In January of 2015, my friend Mr. Bill Palin, a lawyer in Boston calls my cell. “Hey Greg, I just finished helping teach this course at MIT. The level of sophistication is really not that great, you should run this class at your school.”

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Three Weeks In

I entered the new active learning classrooms with excitement as well as apprehension of the unknown. Being in an active learning classroom has given me the permission to think outside the box, and relinquish control of my classroom to my students.

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Problem Solving in the Jesuit Tradition

I have been teaching high school aged men and women problem solving skills since January of 1974. The technology of the day—the sliderule. At Grain Valley High School, I started my first programming (coding) class in 1978 using four TRS 80 computers from Radio Shack with 4K Memory. We saved our programs on cassette tapes. Wow…technology has changed in the last 41 years, but developing problem solving skills in young minds …well… that hasn’t changed that much.

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STEAM Co-Curriculars

Underneath the Science Department’s umbrella of “STEAM Co-Curriculars”, there are 7 clubs: Science Club, Ecology Club, Robotics Club, Astronomy Club, Zoology Club, Engineering Club, and Rocket Club. Co-Curricular Clubs offer students an opportunity that is an extension of the classroom, enhancing their formation and allowing them experiences they may not be able to have within the current academic curriculum.

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Active Learning Classroom (Faculty Reflections)

After 11 days, here are some reflections from the teachers in the Active Learning Classrooms:

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Problem Solving (Part 2)

As I mentioned in my previous post, the Exeter Math Problem sets and the way students and teachers approach the mathematics inspired me. I implemented their Math4 problem set into my AP Calculus BC course. After eleven days of class, here are two quotes from students:

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The Future of Science Education

Recently I was in St. Louis and visited my wife’s cousin who is a DJ for a well known rock’n’roll radio station.  We met up at the radio station, so I was able to see the workings of the station behind the scenes.  I quickly realized that what went on behind the microphones was not what I had previously thought.  The entire station is run by computers… no CD’s, no records, no answering phones, just music previously programmed, delivered by computers.  When I asked my wife’s cousin about the innovative methods his station uses, he said, “Times have changed, we need to use the technology that we have to deliver what our listeners want.  We are here because of them.”

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Problem Solving

Despite more than ten years of experience teaching mathematics at Rockhurst, I had a wonderfully humbling experience at the Exeter Mathematics Institute problem-based learning workshop this past week. Math teacher Patrick Curran, Math Department Chair Joe LeRoy and I spent four 8+ hour days working through mathematics problems written by the faculty at the Phillips Exeter Academy.

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Introducing the Robotics Maker Space

I had the opportunity to tour the new Robotics maker space this afternoon, and I tell you - it’s as if this room was predestined for this very purpose. There’s even a 4-pillar support colloseum around the robot battleground in the center of the classroom! You’ve really got to see it up close to feel the excitement of this room’s potential. Moreover, there’s plenty of space for the heavy fabrication machinery at the back of the room, and the variety of equipment as you can see in the image below has just enough space to fill the room entirely. Not to mention Andy has good taste in music which sets the work atmosphere just right.

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New Frontiers

I just finished reading Heroic Leadership by Chris Lowney. This should be required reading for any leader, especially one who is involved in Jesuit education (every teacher is also a leader).

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Reflecting

Reflecting upon my Rockhurst High School experience, a few highlights come to my mind:

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We Call it Rocktopus

The first 3D print to arrive at Rockhurst High School. When I heard about it, I had to grab a few photos and share. It’s blue. It has eight arms. We call it “Rocktopus.”

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