School as a Conference, Update

Posted: October 4, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

So, I’m just getting to making some sense of the evaluations of our “Who Owns History?” conference.

The first thing I did was just average (or rather tell the spread sheet to average for me) the rating for the day (1-5 scale). The average was 4.4. I’d say that’s a pretty good start. So, the kids liked it.

Next, did they learn anything?

Here are some answers to the question “what is one thing you learned in the session” (answered 3 times per survey, 1x for each session):

  • you can think an artifact is so much different from what it really is
  • I learned about observation and inference
  • things are not always what they seem
  • That when you look at something that is not in your generation, you will most likely misinterpret it
  • misinterpretations can happen at anytime.
  • I learned that listening to stories can make archeology fun!
  • It can be hard for archaeologists to identify artifacts.
  • I learned that the artifacts that we find now are what people in the future will think of our everyday things that we couldn’t imagine life without.  Also people in the future might misinterpret what it is and make something else of it.
  • Never judge something by the way it looks without doing some research first.
  • I learned that King Tut was found by Howard Carter they gave King Tut to people to clean him. Now they want King Tut back.
  • I learned that hills form when different cities and structures collapse and the more layers that fall the bigger the hill gets. Also when you dig something up you will see those layers, and the bottom layer is the oldest.
  • That you can use everyday household objects to tell a story
  • You can tell your history with plants and buildings. Not just writing on paper
  • Lots of different things can tell stories
  • That there are many stories out there, you just have to look closely.
  • I learned that you can’t bring artifacts from one country to another.
  • that you can tell stores with out writing
  • it’s hard to find out what things are
  • that the Egyptians should have their ancient artifacts
  • That some people didn’t like that the US took Egyptians discoveries
  • small mistakes can lead to big discoveries
  • Some museums didn’t have very good security
  • It can be hard for archaeologists to identify artifacts.
  • That there were criminals even that long ago!
  • That the people in Egypt wanted their artifacts in Egypt but everyone else wanted it for them to take care of because they thought they would keep it more safe.
  • that in archaeology it is very difficult to find out who owns the artifacts, and that every one thinks differently about who gets it.
  • All about how different people in Egypt, USA and Europe feel about where Egyptian artifacts belong
  • we have artifacts of our own
So, I’d say they learned some things.
What next? Well, we asked them that too. Here’s what they said about future conferences.
First, the answers to the question how to make it better fell into these basic categories:
  • longer
  • longer
  • all day
  • more time

The answers to what should another conference, if you think we should have one, be about were more varied:

  • the ocean
  • the economy or current events
  • healthy food choices
  • debates about silly things
  • Ancient Greece or Rome
  • Math or a book club like thing
  • War
  • Reading or writing
  • more artsy things
  • the rain forest
  • mostly the same topics except the topics in session 3 were not all that interesting to me.
  • Greek or Egyptian gods
  •  I think we should have another conference that is all day and covers a lot of different topics. I don’t know what would be a good topic, but we should definitely have another one.
  • mummies
  • all about Egypt
So, the kids liked it; they learned something; they want more.
Who am I to say no to that?
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  2. whatedsaid says:

    Fabulous! I can’t believe how an idle thought grew into reality, first for another reader of my blog,then my own school, then yours…and that the result was something so engaging and meaningful. School doesn’t have to look the same way all the time.Let’s keeo thinking up exciting new ways to learn. It’s about being prepared to give things a go. What’s the worst that can happen?

    • mseiteljorg says:

      Edna, thanks for your support. It really was a great morning, even though we were all a little out of breath by lunchtime. I am already thinking about what to do next. I would like to include other special subject teachers, outsiders, and students next time. I will certainly keep you posted.

      I am always up for giving things a go.

  3. Olivemom says:

    This is so stinking cool. I just love reading about it. And seeing your comment about the “other” and “students”, has made me have a crazy thought. Some day would you want to host a conference where a class from another school came too? I would love to help organize something like that one day.

    • mseiteljorg says:

      I love that idea! I have a few thoughts about topics that might work. I would love to include our science teacher. Personally I think something about buildings, techniques, ancient methods, the mechanics of it etc might be interesting.
      What might be a good topic for you?

      • Olivemom says:

        I will have to do some research on what exactly the 5th grade curriculum is here and get back to you… (For others reading this, I am not a teacher at the moment, so please don’t be too alarmed that I don’t know the curriculum.)

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