Yay for blogger initiation! I think there was a time when I just did not get blogging. I did not think it was a worthy priority to dedicate time to. The thing was, I had not invested time into it to see the greatness that could come out. I said to myself I did not have time for it. Oh but how you can make time when something becomes such a clear benefit for you. The ideas I have already received, the resources, the insight, the communication, and the personal, professional growth make me so excited to become a part of the community.
This will be the start of my third year teaching, and I still exercise the dream I had for my first two years about setting the stage just right for my classes of Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Precalculus, and Calculus. My goal is to have things run smoothly for the first week of school and to get my students pumped and prepared to learn. Big goal of many little goals, I know. Vague, I know. My first week tends to be a frenzy for me. I am not prepared to give any genius insight on it because I just do not have it down yet.
What I really want to talk about is a shiny, brand new goal for this year that goes beyond the typical first week goals and first week list of things to do.
I am hoping to raise an interest in at least 5 students and create a team at my school to participate in the FIRST Challenge robotics building program. There is more information about this challenge at http://bit.ly/PEQYVG.
Newby teams in Iowa are being supported by the company Rockwell Collins. The kits to build the robots are about $1,000, but there is a grant Iowa teams can apply for through Rockwell Collins to cover these costs. (There is options for other states, but I am not keen on them. Sorry other states.) The application is at http://bit.ly/ME6ZKw .
The requirements for this funding include:
1. Teams will consist of 5-10 members between the ages of 14 and 18.
2. The team will meet at least weekly throughout the season.
3. Coaches will participate in a training session for coaches.
4. The teams will participate in a tournament, which may be a regional or championship event.
5. The coach will be responsible for managing the team and participating in a post-season evaluation.
I am fully ready to cover and get my group of creators and innovators through requirements 2-5. I just need a team of students who are excited to jump into robot building.
Now, I know a little about computer programming (a very little, little), but I am excited to jump into a project like this though I know I do it kind of blindly. Through this robotics club, I am hoping to create an outlet for students who may not have had that moment/opportunity in school yet to let out some of the creative and exploratory minds. I am excited to see what they can come up with and the beasts we can create. To at least gain a little more knowledge and be a somewhat knowledgeable coach, I want to tell you about my next awesome discovery.
On the radio, I listened to how elite colleges are offering FREE online courses. I went to Stanford’s offerings at http://www.stanford.edu/online/courses. And wouldn’t you know, there is a robotics course! It is a 7 week course, and takes the structure like any online course. You do not exactly get credit, but you get the knowledge and a certificate of course completion. I will most happily flaunt that Stanford certificate in a scrapbook, that I will probably never make, and I will gladly take that wealth of knowledge. There are other courses and colleges participating. For now, with the little goals and things that need to be done at the start of school, I have just signed up for the one course. But this year, I hope to be collecting the certificates of completion and gaining that wealth of knowledge.