Oh the possibility of day three! Possibility was the word of the day as we dove into the nuts and bolts of the OWL methodology. Beginning the day with the “Spectrum” activity was a wonderful treat as we had the opportunity to see where OWL’ers stand on the really important issues like chocolate or vanilla and cats or dogs. This activity also gave us a chance to see where teachers felt they were on the OWL continuum. Knowing this vital information set the stage for the rest of the day.
One of the most important things we examined today was the process of trying something knew. We have a great group of teahcers that found OWL because they were looking for a paradigm shift in their classrooms. We were reminded that great things only happen when we allow ourselves to try and fail a couple of times before we reach that breakthrough. A new OWL’er said it best when she mentioned, “trust that even if you make mistakes and have some bumps along the road, it’s ok.” She could have not been more correct! Other participants also noticed that this concept is not exclusive to our classroom practices. He said, “this practice goes beyond the classroom. It applies to our lives in general.”
Day three was also all about connecting the activities and process done on day one and two with the fantasticness that is OWL. Teachers self-selected strands to follow to either give them a foundation in OWL, get a quick refresher on what they already know and dig a little deeper, or share their experiences with other veteran OWL’ers and work out some kinks in their practice. In these small groups teacher unpacked the ACTFL proficiency guidelines, shared games like “Schooch” and learned some tools for “de-unitizing” there classroom. The strands are a vital part of the work done at Boot Camp because the small groups give teachers the opportunity the share, glean ideas, and build a community with teachers who are in the same part of the process as they are. Talk about differentiation and meeting the needs of all involved! Whew!
By the way, the language circles today were on FIYAH! We started the morning with four circles for our teachers (1 French, 1 German, 1 Chinese, and 1 Spanish). Everyone had to participate in a language to which they had had no previous exposure. This gave teachers the change to feel what their students feel. The circle debrief revealed feeling across the spectrum. From frustration to triumph, embarrassed to empowered, needy to fulfilled, teachers felt it all! We were then able to observe one of our facilitators run a circle with some great students from some of the Houston Area schools. The demo circle served as a vital teaching tool for new and veteran OWL’ers alike.
Tomorrow we will continue the awesomeness under the big blue Texas sky. The possibilities are endless and all participants are be given the tools they need to sustain their teaching journeys.