15 December 2012

The Octopus Assembly

In the final two weeks of the semester, The Octopus Garden Project team was given two challenges:
1) create a display to showcase the project to the community on Open Day: deadline: 5 days
2) create a presentation for assembly to showcase the project to the school: deadline: 2 lessons

My learners have come so far in this project that there is no longer the 'cannot lah' attitude evident at the start of the school year; the fact that I have pushed them and coached them into embracing deadlines and challenges sees once-lethargic learners, unable to work without cajoling, now able to pick up and run with anything and everything I throw at them. I am so proud of their progress.

The first challenge was the display space - a week of every free, every break and eveery evening after school was spent creating an under-the-sea foundation suitably created to showcase the work of the learners. My need to not do things by halves can, and often does, mean exhaustion, however it was totally worth it. The display space was a great success at Open Day and visitors were blown away not only by it, but also by the many tools we are using to collaborate and create: Google Drive, Google Sites, Picasa, Edmodo, Twitter, Blogger, Mural.ly and Minecraft...

For more details, check out this team's version of the creation of 'the garden' in their blog post on The Octopus's Garden Blog.

The final week came around and, basking in the success of 'the garden', I anticipated a more relaxing week that would allow me to focus on my final assignments for the two of the online courses I am currently partaking in. I managed to catch up with all the learners' blog posts and my marking - and just as I was about to start on my writing, we were thrown another deadline...

Wednesday 08.20am: please would we think about doing an assembly to share The Octopus's Garden with the school - tomorrow at 08.30am.  Challenge accepted.

Fortunately, I had both classes that day. At the start of the day I had Grade 7s, who mind-mapped all the things we wanted to share with the rest of the school; we created a sign-up to share out the work, and then created a Google Presentation collaboratively. Via Edmodo and their team files, they shared their progress with Grade 8, who in their lesson at the end of the day, picked up and ran with finishing off the presentation. No problem.

I had nine fantastic volunteers who came in early on Thursday morning; we did a run through and decided on speakers and order - and then they went and delivered an awesome presentation to the school. You can view it on our website by clicking HERE.

Not once did they even hint at the fact that they couldn't do it; not once did they complain; not once did they even express concern about the short notice - the critical thinking, time management, communication and creativity that I have tried to instill through this project has truly paid off and they just went and ran and were incredible.

The Octopus Garden Project team ARE 21st century learners and I am so proud of how awesome they are.

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