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Iowa Students Speak to Legislators January 28, 2010

Posted by Sandra Dop in Uncategorized.
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I witnessed history today.  Several Van Meter students presented to members of the Iowa legislature.  They were poised, confident, capable, and young–some of them very young.  I sat there thinking that one day we may be able to point back to January 28, 2010, and say it was the turning point—the day a couple seventh graders and a fifth grader swayed the Iowa legislature and forever changed education as we know it.  I know, the high schoolers were impressive too, but those representatives and senators nearly fell off their chairs when their superintendent John Carver said “fifth grader.”   She demonstrated her blog on things she and her friends are reading.   

When the legislators asked, “So what can we do to get out of your way and let you go?”  I nearly cried.

 I will forever be proud to have witnessed it!

And now I want to know more.  What is happening in other Iowa schools and across the nation that would wow a standing-room-only group of highly educated, very successful adults?

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1. John C. Carver - January 28, 2010

Today was the “begining of the begining.” It is crucial that a “laser sharp” focus now be crafted on the mission of education in Iowa.

Thank you for your support and assistance. Together we will create and educational system that will empower Iowa youth to THINK, LEAD and SERVE.

2. Russ Goerend - January 30, 2010

Hi Sandra,

Glad you learned so much from the folks at Van Meter!

You asked what other schools are doing and I’d like to share what we’ve been doing in our neck of the woods.

At Waukee Middle School, our 6th grade Language Arts teachers have our students sharing their writing with the world. Here is my class blog with links to the other student writing blogs in the Comments4Kids box on in the top right. http://tr.im/mrgkids

We’re involved with a learning community started by some teachers in Missouri called Comments4Kids. There is a wiki where teachers add a link to student writing here: http://comments4kids.wikispaces.com After students post, teachers also share links on Twitter and tag them #comments4kids.

My class had 5,000 unique visitors to our blog this school year and close to 600 comments on our students’ writing. Students have commented that the connection to an authentic audience pushes them to be better writers.

I’m not sure if this is what you’re looking for, but if it is, I’d love to speak with you more about it. We’d love to have you join us in our conversations.

Russ Goerend

Sandra Dop - February 2, 2010

Russ, I have been reading your students’ posts and am so excited to see their writing. I was a writing teacher for many years–language arts but often was allowed to do only writing while another teacher did the literature/reading part. I miss it so I was encouraged to read your class blog. Thanks for sharing.
Sandra

3. monika hardy - February 1, 2010

way to go… watching and learning.. thanks for sharing… let’s go revolution..:)

4. Penny Burger - February 1, 2010

Hi Sandra,

On the Van Meter “ThinkLeadServe” website I posted a couple of examples of the type of work my students are doing in my social studies class at Central Middle School in Muscatine. We are privileged to be piloting a set of netbooks. Here is the link for that page:

http://thinkleadserve.wikispaces.com/Get+Informed!

I am in touch with teachers all across the nation and am often “wowed!” Let’s ramp up the wow factor in Iowa!

Penny Burger

5. Beth Graff - February 2, 2010

Sandy;
Thanks so much for sharing this with me! I’m so glad to get in on a little of what your job is – especially since you put up with so much of mine!! Oh my – this only makes me love Iowa all the more!!

6. Sandra Dop - February 2, 2010

I’m telling you, Beth, when you return from Finland, you should come back to Iowa. This is where it is happening–and a couple years in Finland will acclimate you to the cold weather after all those years in NW Arkansas.

7. findingEducation’s Digital Teachers’ Lounge » Educators That Rock!: Shannon McClintock Miller - February 10, 2010

[…] on Twitter. Sandra Dop, who works for the Iowa Department of Education, wrote about it on her blog, Next Generation Schools. After the kids spoke, the legislature said, “So what can we do to get out of your way and let […]

8. Students’ Place in PLNs | The Educators' Royal Treatment - July 13, 2010

[…] 28, 2010. Later that week Sandra Dop from the Iowa Department of Education wrote in her blog Next Generation Schools “So what can we do to get out of your way and let you […]


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