August 21st, 2017 - I will remember this day for a long time. We just finished the Slackwood School Solar Eclipse Party. Even though we weren't in the Line of Totality, we did get to see about 70% of the sun, covered by the moon. Yes, I know that doesn't really happen, but, Wow! It was amazing.
When I first started hearing about the upcoming eclipse, my mind went right to "natural phenomenon"that is the spark of the Next Generation Science Standards (I'm kind of a nerd that way.) I thought, "The eclipse would be such a great phenomenon to talk about with kids, unfortunately we don't start school for another two weeks!" But then I saw that all of the schools in the Midwest and the South were already in school and many of them had planned to have Solar Eclipse Viewing parties. Still,..bummer... we don't have kids around to share this with.
Then I thought... "Who cares!" Wouldn't it be cool to throw a Solar Eclipse Party and see who shows up? So, I shared this with a few of my teachers and they said to go for it. I put out an announcement via email on a S'more and shared it via Facebook and Twitter. We gathered supplies for making Pin Hole Cameras and my teachers found a book to share (Eddie's Eclipse by Becky Newsom and Pam Tucker) because we always try to bring it back to reading. We got some Sun Chips and some Sunny D for snacks during the 2 hours escapade and then we were ready.
Would anyone show up? I hope it doesn't get cloudy. Well guess what? They showed up. Families and friends. Kids of all ages. 75 students from pre-K to 6th grade. Our students or past students. Friends from the community and neighboring schools because they heard about it. For almost two hours the kids and their families learned about the Eclipse, made pin-hole cameras, and shared Eclipse glasses to look at the phenomenon. It was awesome. People running in and out of the building. making and sharing. Central office administrators came down to see what was going on. It was amazing.
In Teach Like A Pirate, Dave Burgess asks the question, "If the students didn't have to be there, would you be teaching to an empty room?" The answer is a resounding, NO! They come to Slackwood school because we are part of the fabric of our community and because it's a fun place to be. They come because of the passion of the staff I work with and families in our community, we have built a community of learners. They know that when they come to our school, they are going to have great experiences that they'll remember for a lifetime. Yesterday was one of them! --- By the way, I'm pretty sure the adults that were there enjoyed the day as much or more than the kids!
One student noticed that you could look through the glazed window and see the eclipse
I want to thank the teachers and staff at Slackwood School who continue to make my crazy ideas come to life and who take risks daily for the good of our students and community.