June 22, 2010 - 12:52 PM
I've already discussed my summer teaching internship at Aim High in previous blogs, but as an added thought (and publicity measure) I've embedded our promotional video. If any parents from the California Bay Area are reading this, you seriously need to watch this video. You might have found the next awesome summer enrichment program for your middle school student.
Anyways, today we had our Professional Development Day, which called on the staff of all twelve Aim High campuses located in San Francisco, Oakland, Marin and the lower-Peninsula (where my Redwood City Site is located) to come spend the day together.
Long story short, each teacher spent half the day teaching and half the day learning. We attended workshops on topics like classroom management, lesson-planning 101 and the Aim High CORE values [Community, Opportunity, Respect and High Expectations]. Then we spent time brainstorming ideas with teachers from other sites who are teaching the same subject area. For example, I'm teaching 9th Grade Environmental Science so I spent the period talking about how to incorporate the recent oil spill into lesson plans and how to best prepare students for our overnight camping trip. And, of course, we played several fun icebreaker games throughout the day.
There was one thing that happened today that I really want to tell you about. When we talk about providing an enriching learning experience for our student, we refer to it as the Aim High ‘magic.' I've never been able to capture this concept fully, but I think I might have experienced that ‘magic' that makes the program truly unique, not to mention what brought me back for a second year.
My staff members and I walked into the gymnasium about twenty minutes late. Out of roughly 120 people, I probably recognized two faces upon glancing across the room. Alec Lee, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Aim High, was standing at center court while everyone else was sitting in circles on the ground around him. He looks at us and says, "Welcome. We're glad you made it. We've grouped ourselves together by birth month." I immediately remembered the activity from last year.
My birthday is in July, so I tossed my bag down and threw a ‘seven' up in the air with my two hands, ie - giving a high five with one hand and a peace sign with the other. Without any hesitation every member of the July group behind Alec simultaneously held their hands, each mimicking my ‘seven,' and made room for one more person in their circle. There were no words spoken, but rather a welcome enthusiasm that emanated from the smiles of everyone in the gym.
I have a feeling that this is going to be a good summer.
For now though, it's time for some sleep. My science team, made of myself and two other college students from Santa Clara University and Cornell University, need to plan out our five-week lesson plan tomorrow sometime after our staff training ends and Parent Orientation Night begins.