Our summer lunch menu is available in PDF.
How did news get around in the 1940’s? Newspapers, radio, magazines, and newsreels. This last one has been the focus in Mr. Frago’s Social Studies classes for the past four weeks at Goochland Middle School.
In small self-selected teams, students have chosen topics of interest related to World War II to create newsreel-like reports based on research. To help stay organized and on schedule, the students are using scrum, a framework originally designed to facilitate teamwork in computer programming projects. Mr. Frago and Mr. Beasley (GES 5th grade teacher) have adapted the framework to facilitate teamwork in all project-based learning activities in their classrooms.
When students are in scrum, they select tasks to complete that align with the goals set by the team for each class block. Students work independently, or in small sub-groups with team members, to complete and evaluate each task. Tasks for a class block may include writing and editing a script for a video segment, selecting and sourcing background images and video clips, designing and building props and costumes, and filming and editing video. Students are in constant communication to keep each other on task and to provide feedback as tasks are being completed.
This approach to project-based learning is helping students develop a number of essential 21st century skills: collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.
This summer’s 5th Annual STEM Camp is going to be the most engaging, most dynamic, and gooiest camp yet! Students in grades K-11 are invited to join the weeklong excitement taking place June 20-24, 2016.
Registration information and additional details are available here.
Sign-up closes Friday, April 22!
The Goochland School Board is currently seeking a new superintendent after recently accepting the resignation of Dr. James F. Lane, who has accepted a position with the Chesterfield County Public Schools. Learn more details about this search.
Kindergarten and pre-K registration for the 2016-17 school year will take place Thursday, April 14.
- SY 2016-17 Registration (English)
- SY 2016-17 Registration (Español)
- VPI Preschool Pre-Application (English)
- VPI Preschool Pre-Application (Español)
Families may register at any of our three elementary schools between the hours of 8AM and 4PM. If completing registration on this date (or time) is not possible for your family, please give the school a call and arrange an alternate date/time as close to April 14 as possible.
Byrd Elementary School – (804) 556-5380
Goochland Elementary School – (804) 556-5321
Randolph Elementary School – (804) 556-5385
Earlier this year because of a grant administered by the Goochland Education Foundation and graciously funded by the CarMax Foundation, we were able to provide students connected with our deeper learning initiative with iPads a Kajeet wifi hotspot device for filtered internet access from home using their iPad. Kajeet provides schools a filtered internet solution using Verizon 4G access points.
This program will be expanding soon for grades 6-7 at Goochland Middle School. Please look forward to a mailing going home soon with an application form. This device will be available on a first-come, first-served basis to students who do not currently have broadband Internet service at home. The program runs until late May when we collect iPads for the summer.
Our thanks go to the CarMax foundation for making the extension of learning possible beyond the school day, enabling anytime/anywhere learning.
Questions? Contact Tom DeWeerd (Director of Technology & School Administration) or John Hendron (Director of Innovation & Strategy) (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com).
Minecraft is a hugely popular game available on video game consoles and computers, and Minecraft apps are popular on mobile platforms as well. Originally premiering in November 2011, the game allows networked players to build worlds together in real-time, using blocky, textured cubes in 3D space. In addition to playing in creative mode where building takes place, the commercial game allows for a survival mode and an adventure mode as a bonafide open game. More recently, an educational version of the game has become available and has been explored by two teachers this year in Goochland. Students can only interact with one another from their classes, and therefore the environment is monitored by teachers.
In Joe Beasley’s classroom at GES, we recently visited to see students working in collaborative groups using a collaboration protocol called Scrum. Borrowed from the agile software framework used by programmers, the method used in Beasley’s classroom has facilitated strong collaboration among students in working towards common solutions and in the development of products. With Minecraft, their products are virtual, and the building taking place within this virtual space can work for learning in a lot of different ways. In a recent project, one student recreated model animal and plant cells in 3D, and other students can tour these models, learning about the function of each cell organelle. While learning about cells is usually done through a flat, two-dimensional diagram, in Minecraft, the modeling takes on a more realistic representation in three dimensions.
In Karen Harden’s class at GMS, we recently observed students working in two- and three-person teams to develop historically-important monuments, buildings, and structures, including the St. Louis Arch, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Mayan pyramid El Castillo at Chichén-Itzá, and the Egyptian Sphinx near Giza. Some students also elected to work independently. When we talked to students about working in Minecraft, some had experience playing the game at home, while others did not. While some students found building more difficult than others, all the students in Harden’s class had figured out how to work together effectively within their teams. The ability to shout-out to a partner in the same room as a means to communicate was viewed as important, but we pressed students further on how they might someday work collaboratively in an environment like this, especially if they could not be in close proximity to students. “It might be more difficult, but I think we could do it. There’s a chat function in here as well, so we could always use that to talk to a partner or team,” one student suggested. Another student suggested using a cell phone to be able to talk while he and a friend worked in Minecraft together. “That’s what I do at home sometimes, we connect via FaceTime audio and that way we can chat while we’re in the same online environment.” Seeing students work so effectively together in a 3D virtual space, it was exciting to see how they could apply this ability to collaborate later in school and in life.
Students at GMS did pre-planning using Schoology before using the Minecraft software. They also used the platform to share videos and utilized other online resources to learn best practices.
Back at Goochland Elementary, students were in a planning session for their work using 1:1 iPads before they moved to laptops to start in Minecraft using discussions. When asked why students were planning this way, they spoke to their preference for having all their ideas recorded. “Have you seen some older kids chatting at the same table with their cell phones? You can be very social and chatty yet be very quiet. In some ways it helps us come up with our own original thoughts and makes us all accountable for having ideas.” Students also reported by planning within Schoology, their progress could be better monitored by their teacher.
The Minecraft project this year is a pilot that has been supported by our CTE Director, Bruce Watson, so that we could provide this type of environment using a dedicated Minecraft server for safety and teacher control.
In the next update, we’ll explore how students between GES and GMS learn to collaborate and work together, when separated between two buildings. We’ll also share more student and teacher perspectives on this innovative way to learn!
Story contributed by John Hendron, Director of Innovation & Strategy for Goochland County Public Schools