And just like that, it was over. What a wonderful week, though! Yesterday was the conclusion to the STEAM camp, which involved the students putting the final touches on their projects in order to present to their parents at the expo. We had 3D water cycles, water purifiers, terrarium aquariums, google slide presentations, info graphs, and even water turbines! It seemed like chaos, but our teachers were right there lending a hand. Honestly speaking though, there were some students that were in the zone and didn't need our assistance. We had some awesome kids!
I asked our teachers about their experience and working with the students. They agreed that they made some genuine connections to the kids. There was even the joke of the week of potentially adopting some of them to bring back to the US!!!
But now that the camp is over, we're going to hang out on the island and get back into "beach mode." We can't thank Tess and Pieter at Makerpedia enough for their work. Everything was tip top and the teachers had an amazing experience. And as we all reflect on the program, we anticipate next year being even better! In the meantime, here's the video we showed the parents at the expo (4min). Enjoy!
"What I've found amazing is how the students have worked and shared together in the learning process."
Being on a Caribbean island you'd think that it'd be hard to all of a sudden switch gears and jump back into the classroom. However, on Monday, there we were side by side with the students, mixing it up, getting creative, and introducing them to new concepts and ideas. The theme around the camp is "Water Is Life." Tess and Pieter, the organizers as well as full time faculty members at ISA, have done a fantastic job designing the week's curriculum and activities. They've allowed us to play a complimentary role in assisting in the activities and even taking over periodically in the instruction of the day.
One aspect of this experience that I hear from our teachers is their interaction with the local students whose first language isn't English. It isn't that there is a language barrier. Quite the opposite. They've been impressed on how much English they've mastered. And for these local students, English is not taught in their schools. Their language of instruction is either Dutch or the local Papiamento. This caused a little concern from our teachers going into it, however within the first hour those concerns were
The time has finally come! We're all settled in now and our program has gotten off to a fantastic start. It was a bit rocky at the very beginning with a 3am wakeup, 2 hour drive to the airport, and some "mechanical issues" courtesy of Delta Airlines, but they worked it all out and four hours later we were landing in Oranjestad, Aruba :)
As with any longer term stay, we immediately began the settling process of rental car, phones, grocery run, and getting into our new digs. It's a necessary evil, but it was a great opportunity to introduce one of our teachers that's attending, Nic Skaggs, to the island. It was a whirlwind of an orientation for him, but he was eating it up!
Since we don't actually start the STEAM program at the International School of Aruba until Monday, we all took the weekend to simply chill and stress the vacation aspect of our program. Therefore, we've been taking full advantage of dinners on the beach, sleeping in, a few snorkeling sessions, meeting up with the ISA teachers for pizza, and experiencing the annual Aruba High Winds competition! The competition is a series of races and freestyle events involving kite boarding and windsurfing. Very cool stuff.
However, tomorrow we begin the STEAM camp with the kiddos. Tess and Pieter, the organizers of the camp, have put together a wonderful week's worth of activities centered around the theme, "Water is life." I think the students are going to be blown away. I know the teachers were impressed. So be sure to check back with us here as well as on social media!
Every. Summer. Every single time summer kicks off I have to play DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince's Summertime. I was an avid viewer of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air way back in middle school and when the music video premiered, I thought it was the coolest song ever.
So here we are fresh (pun intended) off the 4th of July festivities, deep into summer. For most all of us, we're recharging our batteries from the school year past. Some of us have kept on with conferences and other various PD opportunities. Some of us have simply worked on some much needed personal projects at home while others have packed up the fam and took a long overdue vacation. However, I would bet there's some of us keeping an eye on the calendar keeping a mental note of how many weeks are left before the dreaded first day of school when teachers have to report.
For us at LFT, we just wrapped up a 16 day tour of Spain and Portugal! We tagged along with the fine people of GoAfar.org to experience their Spanish archaeology program. Somehow, however, it morphed into a tour of the Iberian peninsula for us...which was totally fine! Being a close friend of ours, Mat Saunders, who is the founder and director of GoAfar, showed us a great time and the work his students are doing is truly ground breaking. Based in Zorita de los Canes, his team has been given permission by the government to excavate the castle that sits above the town. Upon our arrival, Saunders' team had just unearthed a previously unknown antechamber at the castle! The whole camp was abuzz. Besides
Wow! As I told one of my students this week, I don't think I looked forward more to summer than this year. I know I'm not the only teacher out there that is exhausted and simply wants to have their mornings to themselves. Although the school year is over, now is the time of reflection. We, as teachers, always look back with questions, the good stuff, the bad stuff, the little moments of success, the anecdotes that you'll repeat in the years to come. It's just what we do. And we should!
For me, the roller-coaster ride of this school year was punctuated with a thank you note from one of my students. It was unexpected, but was one of those moments where you acknowledge to yourself that maybe you do know what you're doing!
But here's to all of you out there in the trenches! Congrats on another school year in the books. Enjoy your summer break...even though you have PD to attend or coaching responsibilities to take care of or conferences to put together ;)
Meanwhile, I'll be gearing up for our Aruba trip this July! We can add two more to our group if you fancy a beach trip July 9-15. I can't stress enough how fun (and different) this will be. Check out the opportunity here or contact us if you're interested!