Monday, August 11, 2008

Teachers Return

Wow! What a great way to begin a new year! All Chets Creek teachers gathered at school today to load three large buses for the Schultz Center for the day. The Schultz Center is our professional development facility that had set up our entrance into a technology tour around the world. We arrived to be greeted by Jeff Utecht from Manilla! Jeff was skyped into the center via the Internet. Wow! Can you imagine? Someone giving an opening keynote from his motel room on the other side of the world! It was just a quick peek into the possibilities. After Jeff wow-ed us, our own Principal, Susan Phillips, took the stage to remind us of our theme, "Around the World in 180 Days" and how the theme would impact our children throughout the year as we delved into technology as a tool for engagement and efficiency. This became real to us as all of the papers that are usually handed out on this first day came to us loaded on a flash drive disguised as a bracelet!

As is our tradition, each grade level then introduced themselves with a skit that, as usual, was irreverent and hilariously funny! Each grade level is assigned one of the continents and first grade has Australia so it was the Australian Idols that took the stage singing songs from the past by Aussie artists such as Olivia Newton-John's "Physical", "The Land Down Under" by Men at Work, and "I am Woman" by Helen Reddy. Judges, "Randi, Simon and Paula" weighed in after each song! I will be laughing at those memories all year!

Lunch was provided (how nice is that!) with a menu consisting of one dish from each of the continents!

Then Dr. Terri Stahlman, our Director of Technology and former Chets Principal, introduced our new professional book study for the year, Web 2.0: New Tools, New Schools by Gwen Solomon and Lynne Schrum. The book parallels the work that we will undertake in our classrooms as we take risks by re-envisioning and enhancing our curriculum.

New teachers were up next. They were invited to the front with a little "This is You Life" information about each "new to Chets" teacher.  Then, as is the tradition, they were asked to perform. They were given 10 minutes to design a flag to represent them as a group and to write and perform a song. As usual, they did not disappoint and reminded us why they had been hired and all that they will add to the diversity and talent of our faculty!

In between each event we played games and won prizes - using the Internet to help! Most of us found out we had better brush up on our geography skills before we begin on this adventure around the world!

Next up was Melanie Holtsman, our Instructional Technologist (a new position for us this year), who explained the opportunities that we would have to send a stuffed bear, "Chet" with any of our traveling students or adults who would then be asked to blog about his adventures. How exciting that would have been last year when one of my students traveled to Hong Kong! I can't even imagine what we will learn from the many travels that Chet will have this year as he travels around the world and we live vicariously through his adventures! The day ended with THE GRAND DRAWING for some wonderful prizes including a flip camera, headphones, an iPod, a web cam, a digital camera and even a Wii! Does it get any better than that?

We boarded the bus back to school with visions of technology dancing in our heads! I can only imagine where we go from here!!


Anonymous said...

Whoever rocked that mullet wig sure is pretty cute!

H. Alvarado said...

Nothing showcases the many,many different talents of our teachers better than the Australian Idol video slideshow! :)

Jeff Utecht said...

It sounds like a wonderful first day back to school! What a great way to start with a little laughter and a whole lot of fun!

Here's to a great year! (as he raises his mohito to the scree) ;)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for blogging about the first day back. I'm so glad I decided to stay home with Charlie, however, I REALLY MISSED being with everyone for all the excitement of a Chets Creek 1st day of pre-planning! Miss you, Elizabeth :-)