After a week of Spring vacation, the Tribe of Dragonauts got back into action... but in a wholly new environment. The page has turned from our opening days in the warm, historic Philomen Bryan House (second oldest in all of Fort Lauderdale).
On Monday we got the band back together for a day of "tech checks" and preparation for this new approach to hybrid-learning. For students who schooled throught the pandemic shutdowns of 2020, hybrid learning is not new (and probably has a bad reputation). So let's share a bit of our unique approach.
We start the day with our Launch Circle Discussion, much as we did on our yellow circle rug. But now the Dragon-riders are tuning in from their own Chromebooks. We've been using a platform called Butter (an alternative to Zoom) which feels a bit more welcoming to the learning environment. The day continues to begin with our Brain Games warmup.
In these Socratic Discussions, the Rules of Engagement are still the focus, with the learners picking one of the six rules to monitor. For example, where we might have focused on listening respectfully in prior sessions (a common starting point), the learns can then transition to being concise (short, direct, and on point), or providing evidence to support their positions.
After the Launch, the learners move into Core Skills time. And this part of the day is not that different from what we were able to do when we were meeting in person. Each Dragonaut is working independently on math, writing, and reading. Progress is tracked with the online platforms that manage both teaching and assessment.
Taking short breaks to stretch, play and for snacks, plus DEAR time (Drop-Everything-And-Read) make up the remainder of the morning, book-ended by our "Landing" or "Closing" discussion for the day. Then its off for lunch and with options for an afternoon of project learning time.
Project learning in the first week focused on creative projects
Once again, the Dragon-riders buckled down to focus on their Core Skills work, earning time for a "Fun Friday" including games in the pool! A big highlight was getting Mr. T and Ms. Chantal in the water for big game of Marco Polo.
Search For Our Home-base For Our School Continues
Amidst all the hybrid learning, we continue to explore options for our school location, visiting several commercial properties and recreation centers that might be suitable for our needs. It has been wonderful to interface with different members of the Fort Lauderdale community, as different organizations (including the City) have weighed in on recommendations.
We will miss the friendly environment created by History Fort Lauderdale, and the warm confines of the Bryan House, but that was just our opening chapter. We consider ourselves blessed that we were able to launch our humble beginnings in such a wonderful location.
In addition to the new school location search, we are also gearing up for our the Children's Business Fair this spring, and Tobin is headed off the California to participate in an Acton-hosted Learning Design workshop - with a specific focus on taking Family Friendly Fort Lauderdale to a new level as a student-driven media project. Make sure you subscribe* if you are not already on the list for the weekly updates.
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