Power Block: What are students really doing?

I started Power Block today with a request for a meeting with the four class officers of the Class of 2017.  They wanted to pitch some ideas they had to raise funds as well as an idea for a t-shirt design for their class.  They were extremely well prepared and presented their case with aplomb.

Next I met with members of the Theatre group and viewed their design for a new website for the Ferrini Auditorium.  We talked about all aspects of the website as well as the social media connections they were trying to improve and increase.  The website is amazing!

My third stop was in the cafeteria with a group of young ladies who were well equipped with iPads and laptops.  They were taking this time ultra seriously.  After interrupting them, they talked about how beneficial the Power Block has been for them to get work done, meet with teachers and even to make up work they may have missed.  They also gave me some great ideas including emailing the students a list of the locations of the teachers during Power Block so they didn’t have to guess where to find their teachers.

The next group was a table of young gentlemen who had all kinds of charts and graphs on display on iPads and laptops as well as a substantial pile of papers spread all over a large cafe table.  They were working together to solve a problem set from their science class.  When asked if the Power Blocked worked for them, they all agreed with little hesitation.

In the auditorium, the guidance department was hosting a well attended college visit for our students with representatives from UMASS Amherst.  The Power Block gives them the opportunity to meet with college representatives without having to miss valuable class time.

The Library Media Center is packed with students.  Many with devices and others using the desktops that are available.  Some students are studying and others are collaborating.  One young lady just realized that we have a new air printer available for students in the cafe!  I tried it out with my iPad and Viola! I was able to print using the new airprint service available to all of our wireless devices.  Very cool!

The connections being made are incredible this year.  Classes are buzzing with excitement. Devices are everywhere and students I have talked with have started to figure out the power of having everything you need in one spot.  While I was sitting in the library during the Power Block, students tweeted me to find out where I was so they could ask me to help them to organize a Purple for Pam picture during lunch.  There doesn’t seem to be a limit to what our students will do to take full advantage of our new Power Block.

I have to admit that I was initially nervous how the students would respond to Power Block including knowing how to use the increased responsibility necessary to organize and use the time successfully.  My wanderings today have definitely proved what I said to groups of parents at the beginning of the school year, “We can get away with something like this at HWRS because our students are so academically focused”.  They truly know what they need to do. I am proud of the way our students have demonstrated their high level commitment to their education!

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