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Ok.. so there’s been a lot of change- and a lot of learning. Both for you and for me. I learned I’ve overextended myself with the committment to a daily blog, keeping up with new videos for every project, and more. Some of the problems will hopefully be solved after working with District IT personnel since a lot of it comes from the fact that I can’t update this site here at school with the videos. At home, my kids and life outside of school consumes my time. I’ll figure it out. Next year we’ll tweak the lab and the policies and figure out the best plan. Now that Palm Beach school district’s IT department is on board with some truly innovative ideas and helping us realize our goals- I think it’s coming soon to a screen near you. We’ll discuss the changes after we get back. I’m thinking a lot about our policies- what’s important to me, and what I believe we should stress. I’m also looking into new technologies that will help us really get an interactive presence in the lab- HOPEFULLY one that can also be accessed at home to show mom, dad, and uncle Richie your work, allow comments and interactivity, etc… I’m stoked about the possibilities.

You guys have learned a lot, too. Did you know that we’re already- assuming the same level of competition we had last year- #1 again for certifying students with the ACA test? Between my class, Mavrookas (who also uses this blog) and Moya (who hasn’t pushed testing much, but his kids are ready), we’ve already certified over 150 students this school year. Last year we certified over 230 and second place weighed in at just over 80. Granted, we have a lot more classes than most schools, but still, percentage wise, we’re certifying around 90% of our first year students halfway through the year. That’s incredible. You should be really proud if you’ve already passed the ACA test. Most schools don’t even test until after a full year of working with the program. Kudos to all of you. (if you haven’t passed yet, don’t stress it. Relax for the holidays and we’ll knock it down after we get back. I know you’ll pass it by the end of the year.)

EXAMS:

It’s Exam week. Most of you have worked hard all year. Your exam is simple. Write me a couple paragraphs that explain the three things you like most about this class- the atmosphere, the projects, the software, the equipment- whatever you think are the three best things about this class. We’ll make sure that when we re-think the class, we don’t sacrifice on any of these strengths.

The next paragraph, I want you to tell me three things you’d change if you were the TEACHER. This does NOT mean that you tell me we should be playing games every day. That’s you being a kid. Be a teacher for 10 minutes. Put yourself in my shoes. I love you guys, and I want what’s best for you. You have 5 hours to go home every day and play videogames. You only have 90 minutes every other school day to play with the software and tools we have in here. How can we make the most of that? How are we under-utilizing this? How come you WANT to play videogames sometimes in my class??? Seriously? Crummy flash games over playing with graphics, music, video, etc??? Linerider vs photoshop and linerider wins??? Even once in 100, that should never happen. Something must be wrong. Tell me what it is. Let me know what is going so wrong that with all the cool stuff we have in here, you launch a timewaster or just hang out and chat off task. What is going so wrong that you don’t want to take advantage of all that’s in here? Three things that need to change so that we can’t wait to get in here and hate to leave.

That’s how I feel every day (well, almost every day ;-)). I love coming in to school and experimenting with graphics and see what you guys can come up with. Grading exams yesterday I was in absolute AWE of some of the work I was looking at!!! Some of you have been holding out on me! Amazing stuff happens in here and I’m missing it sometimes. I guess that says a lot about how I, myself, can get distracted and miss the coolest part of being in this room… seeing you guys work and blow me away with your incredible ideas and the important things you have to say and to create.

You’re not kids to me. I don’t blow off your chatter. You’re artists and I love to be moved by your art and to hear what you have to say.

Let’s make this lab- even if it’s only for 90 minutes every other day- a place where all of our dreams come true… Where art, respect, life, beauty, trust, honesty, and meaning take form and get tangible.  For your exam tell me 3 ways that’s happening for you in here. And three things we can change to make it happen even more.