Thursday, January 7, 2010

At Any Time and Place

"learning can occur at any time and place..." -Philosophy statement of TPLC

Frigid temperatures, heavy snow, and gusting winds led to the cancellation of school in parts of the U.S. Even some of our southern states had Snow Days today.

Many districts have a set number of emergency closing days built into their schedules. But for some unlucky students (and staff), Snow Days must be made up via an extension of the school year. What seems like a gift in January becomes a burden in May or June.

Turning Point Learning Center (TPLC), a K-8 charter school in Emporia Kansas, takes a different approach.

When classes were canceled this morning, TPLC Director/teacher Ginger Lewman's students opened a Scribd page to access their schedule for the day. Says Ginger,
"We meet via iChat, then they just work away. If a kid can't chat, then they get the assignment via email. If they don't have internet or electricity, they just call us and we count them absent. No biggie. If they don't call us, we call them and ask what's up to the parents. Parents know this. See, it's [doing schoolwork] not a 'have to' thing... And we'd prefer to work and not have to go an extra day during the beautiful month of May. AND the kids really do care about meeting their deadlines."

TPLC students have been utilizing online tools all year, and are used to "getting together, chatting and working. When we come back to school, they'll expect that everyone worked and no one will have to wait to have the others catch up."

As one member of my PLN remarked, "If more schools operated like TPLC does we would not have the educational issues that we do in this country."

Ginger gave us permission to share her resources, only asking,
"If you blog, please do share the link back with us. I'd love to show the kids that we're being looked at and that their hard work's worth it. I always tell them we're changing the face of education, but it's hard to believe when you're a kid."

If students from the Turning Point Learning Center would like to comment on their Snow Day activities - or on any other aspect of education - I'm sure we'd all love to hear their Voices.

"School bus covered in snow" by ecksunderscore


chattie67 said...

Living in the Sonoma wine country in Northern California as an adult after growing up in Southern California, I can't imagine "snow days." I am, however, very excited to see that there are schools, teachers & students out there taking advantage of the internet to communicate, corroborate, teach and learn! Kudos to you Ginger & Students of TLPC!

jrtopchef said...

Hi i am one of the students at turning point learning center.Like dianne said we work on snow days.This is our normal schedule
9:00-9:30 get ready.
9:30-10:00chat our homeroom teacher
10:00-10:45 science
10:45-11:30 global/social studies
11:30-12:15 math
12:15-1:30 Fun project
And on scribd it has what to do in those subjects.

diane said...

I second those kudos, chattie 67!

jrtopchef, thanks for stopping by. How does that schedule compare to your normal school day - more, less, the same amount of work?

Just heard you'll be getting another Snow Day tomorrow!

jrtopchef said...

It is basically the same amount of work in a smaller amount of time without forein language and lunch.

Anonymous said...

Hi I am another of one of the students that attends Turning Point Learning Center. If there is a snow day we do not have to make up for it because we have laptops that we can work on our homework for. When we have some assignments do to we have more than one to do than just doing a couple like the other school all the work that they give us at one time is the work that is due by the end of the quarter. At first it was kind of over whelming but once you get used to it, it is not that bad.

jrtopchef said...

Yes that is correct we also dont get a,b,c,d,f we get e,a,p,d,l exemplery advancement poteintial developing and learning.

diane said...

Hi, Morgie! I'll bet you've had to become a lot more organized with these types of assignments. Do you use online tools or a notebook? I know that I still rely on an old-fashioned wall calendar for tracking some events.

jrtopchef, I like that evaluation system. My favorite grad school professor classified our submissions as exemplary, acceptable, or a work in progress. I always appreciated the idea that there was room for improvement rather than abject failure. (BTW - is cooking your passion?)

jrtopchef said...

Yes mam ever since I was 3 years old I had a passion for cooking.It started at 3 when I sat on my moms bed and watched Emeril Lagrasse.And repeated the spices after he said them.Now I watch food network at least 4 time a week.I also already know where I want to go to college where I want to work.How much that college is and how much each position pays a month.

diane said...

Well, I like your manners and your focus. My son went to college in Poughkeepsie, NY, not far from the CIA (Culinary Institute of America). Unfortunately, none of their skill migrated to his campus!

Have you seen "Julie and Julia"? I highly recommend Child's "My Life in France."

jrtopchef said...

That stinks.The Culinary institute of America is exactly where I want to go to college.I have not seen those movies I will be sure to check them out thanks.

diane said...

Good luck with your plans. "My Life in France" is a book - but see the movie first.

PetziezD'Possum said...

Hi diane, I'm another student from turning point. I wanted to add on to what jrtopchef said. On our normal school days we would of course have a longer school day. This would be the regular schedule:
7:30-8:45 arrive at school
8:45-9:15 get ready
9:15-10:30 5th math/6th science/7/8th global studies
10:30-11:45 5 science/6 math/7/8 college and careers
11:45-1:00 lunch
1:00-3:00 5/6 global studies 7/8math/science
3:00-3:45 foreign language
3:45-4:00 get organized

PetziezD'Possum said...

And also, I like our normal school days, but I'm really glad that we can have school on snow days. I like that because then we don't have to stay at school any longer than we need to.

Allison Smith said...

We usually go on with the day and don't worry about the other schools. We love our school it's a better way to grow up!

diane said...


That college and careers slot sounds interesting. Is it also project-based? Any future teacher/librarians there :P


It's wonderful that you are so positive about your school. How would you "sell" it to others? What would you say to a student, parent, or prospective teacher to convince them to try TPLC?

jojometz1 said...

Hi, I am also a student and Turning Point Learning Center and I like what we do on snow days and on a school day. The most thing I like about snow days at tplc is that we get to do fun projects and they are different so someone could do the same project and they could chose another one.

PetziezD'Possum said...

Actually, I'm only in 5th grade so I'm not sure. I'll probably find out soon enough though!

Anonymous said...

Well,Diane, it depends what we are doing but most of the time we use our laptops. We also have to be calm and smooth so things won't be so... you know wacko and crazy at the school, cause it only takes one person to ruin it. (hehe)

diane said...


I like creating things for projects, too. When I was growing up, that usually meant gluing things in a shoebox or gluing pictures on posterboard. Students today have so many new ways to share what they've learned with others.


I totally understand what you mean about staying "calm and smooth." That's a great life lesson!