Snow Day #2!
Ugh! I woke up early this morning and sat down to journal. It quickly turned into reminiscing about my old Italy Trip projects, and that turned into a blog post. I’m glad to have posted some content, since I haven’t blogged in a while. But there goes three hours of work that is unlikely to bring in any money or have any impact. This is why I find blogging very frustrating – I have things I want to say, but it is so time consuming to make that formal post with graphics and links and SEO that the cost-benefit doesn’t seem to line up. Oh well.
We have another snow day today! We definitely needed a delay to shovel out and go slow, but a full day is a lot. Since students have early releases for faculty professional development on Fridays, a delayed start wouldn’t make much sense. But I was excited for the PD with my Technology Working Group this afternoon. Over vacation, all members of our group read select chapters of The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity (affiliate link) by George Couros, and we were going to discuss it today. It’s a gift to have time carved out for an internal PLN at school – it’s rare that I get to do in-person networking outside of expensive conferences. And this networking is ongoing with teachers who work closely together, to the potential for effective integration of our discussions is huge!
I’ve been thinking about the mini-PD that I ran on Wednesday about backing up photos and video media to Google Photos and using the app’s AI features. I wonder if our parent community would be interested in this – many parents have gmail accounts. This might be a way to partner with the parent community. A lot of teachers asked about how to convert Apple Cloud photos over to Google Photos – I need to look that up today and email out a good tutorial.
That’s about it for working today (I hope!). I’d like to go sledding with M, but the temperature is frigid – sunny, but only 1 degree F right now. And I need to confirm tutoring for tomorrow. Funds are low after the vacation, so I’m really hoping nobody cancels.
Speaking of funds…now I remember how I ended up writing about the Italy Trip projects this morning! I woke up thinking about money. My student loans are sucking my bank account dry – more than half of my monthly takehome goes to student loan payments. And I just found out that my federal loan payments are increasing by $200/month in February, so I’m worried. I tried to run a vacation camp in December for fun and for a little extra income, but I made a few mistakes so the camp never got off the ground:
- I overreached in picking Minecraft for my first camp. A Minecraft camp is more expensive to run than most, so I had to charge more than my school’s community is used to paying.
- I originally aimed the camp at Grades 6-8. But this older age group doesn’t necessarily need childcare, so the camp was an “extra” cost for families, so there had to be real interest in the topic.
- Eventually, I lowered the age group to include Grades 4-5, but by then our school had already decided to offer an inexpensive sports camp for families that needed childcare that week.
- Although I advertised to children from other schools in the area, most of them were not on vacation that week.
- One family was particularly excited, so I agreed to run the camp for only a handful of students. But that family failed to pay ahead of time and backed out at the last minute. To avoid losing money, I had to cancel the camp at the last minute.
The last minute cancellation was a messy end to a frustrating process. I learned a lot of lessons the hard way. But I’m hoping to try again. I’ll be more cost conscious, choose a more appropriate age group, find a better schedule, and be unyielding in requiring advance payment.
The piece that has my attention right now the audience. I’d like to work with elementary age students, rather than middle school. And I’d like to open it up to children from other schools. Our school is still building its STEM programming, so the families currently at the school do not necessarily prioritize STEM learning. Other area schools have strong programs in STEM and their families might be more inclined to sign up. I also think a weekend schedule would be better to reach more families.
And that’s how I ended up writing about our Italy Trip projects, which focused on students sharing their travel experiences with authentic audiences.
So the theme of my thought process this morning is authentic audiences. All this thinking and planning after a failed attempt last month. I just hope I have the courage to try running a STEM program again…..
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