Neither Sleet Nor Snow

For today’s entry, I am borrowing from the recent “thumbs up, thumbs down” blog of Greenhill alum John Eisenberg ‘75 in his post- Super Bowl entry for Comcast Sports. John writes on the Baltimore Ravens for Comcast and is the author of several sports-related titles. (Greenhill has a featured role in Cotton Bowl Days.) At Greenhill, he was involved with The Evergreen and numerous sports teams.

The weather of 2011 can be the considered the very best or the very worst, depending on your perspective. When we arrived back on campus on Monday after the unplanned “vacation,” it was clear that the weather had not affected learning. Furious exchanges of emails, portal postings, Blackboard interactions, and even telephone calls ensured that our students remained in contact with their teachers and that many previously planned events would go on.

Thumbs up – The cast and crew of The Wedding Singer. They re-scheduled every performance date, came to school on the weekend to resume rehearsals, and epitomized “The show must go on.” It was a fantastic team effort.

Thumbs up – Athletes and coaches for basketball, soccer, and swimming. They too made it through the elements to practice and prepare for the upcoming SPC Championships.

Thumbs up – Director of Educational Technology Chris Bigenho and those who participated in his distance learning webinar last week. Chris offered a learning opportunity to teachers who used snow days as a time to explore new strategies for distance learning and collaboration. Chris offered his webinar two separate times last week, and 15 faculty members made use of his expertise.

Thumbs up –Director of Early Childhood Kim Barnes, who is baking numerous “half-birthday” cakes with K and PK students this week as she makes up for lost time. Here’s what they learn as they follow Betty Crocker’s directions: how to take turns, measure ingredients, crack an egg, stir batter, and wait patiently until the cake was baked and cool enough to frost. I even saw a cake made for a faculty member.

Thumbs up: 7th grade team and the successful trip to downtown Dallas. The team worked around all kinds of scheduling conflicts to take their students to both the Holocaust Museum and the Sixth Floor Museum. There, they heard “you were there” testimony from a trauma room nurse who was at Parkland when President Kennedy was shot. Quite a learning experience for all.

Thumbs up: Jason Yaffe and his two Sports and Society classes who visited with sports journalist John Eisenberg over speaker phone on Monday. The students were thoroughly prepared for the interactive call. They asked probing questions and learned from John how he loves research and the opportunity it presents to make the story his own. Whether the narrative involves the race horse Barbaro or the Dallas Cowboys, there is always a compelling and dramatic story to tell. John’s enthusiasm came through loud and clear, causing one student to remark, “I want his life.”

You might notice that I have no “Thumbs down” entries. I have declined to comment on Christina Aguilera’s rendition of the national anthem, or the Super Bowl traffic, or the performance of the Pittsburg defense, unlike John Eisenberg. What I do see, from my perspective, are students and teachers moving forward to embrace every learning opportunity, even under unusual circumstances. Definitely thumbs up.

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