Part of the funds raised by the Annual Campaign cover our beloved teacher and tech coordinator Mr. Philip. This page is dedicated to him!
KEEPING UP WITH MR. PHILIP!
Do you want to know what Mr. Philip does all day? Wondering about what happens in Habitat H.O.P.E? Why the kids love computer lab so much? Well, sit back, because it’s going to take a while to cover.
It was 14 years ago that Mr. Philip walked in to Grattan School, he was no stranger, his wife taught here and they actually got married in the courtyard. Yes. True story.
“We decorated the courtyard as an Italian villa. But it was raining that day, so we had to move to the cafeteria, but that worked too. It was a great wedding!”
Armed with a BA in film with an emphasis in writing, and his MA in Arts Education/Curriculum Design, he was offered to run the school’s computer lab by (the former principal) Ms. Robertson. It didn't take long until he was Mr. Philip to all the kids, introducing Bag Head Hot Dog Day, and doing daily riddles with huge prizes, and wearing funny costumes, and building a bat habitat with real guano, and facilitating student debates, and initiating dye your hair day if the Giants don't win, and doing egg drop, and advocating for going green. On top of all that he has also redecorated the computer lab every year: Spaceship, Tiki Hut, Map Room, The Lab Before Time…
“I did it because I wanted this room to spark a students imagination. Inspire them. When we chose to become a green school, I decided that the lab should reflect that, making the kids aware of it, very hands-on. That’s how habitat H.O.P.E was born.”
Above and beyond basics
Very hands-on, I guess that's three words that describe Mr. Philip. You'll meet him on the school grounds shortly after 6 a.m., because there are things to do, bees to tend to, plants to water, lessons to plan, car doors to open until you probably hear his voice shouting “Good morning Mr. Reedy” loudest of us all. After that he's up and teaching!
“According to the curriculum the kids are expected to touch all the “basics”. A simple example, learn about word processing. But that's not the standard for me, for Grattan. At Grattan the computer lab is a big part of the classroom learning. My goal is to add and deepen the curriculum in each grade. At Grattan I see the lab is a part of the core.”
Mr. Philip strives to work closely with each teacher to create the tech part of the classroom curriculum.
“I look at the curriculum for each grade and come up with different ideas, basically how we can incorporate the tools in the computer lab with the learning that happens in class. Planning projects that, I hope, achieve all objectives.”
For example, Room 214 and Bung. A, fourth and fifth grade classes, are working with the Reconstruction in History. So in the computer lab they have done research and are planning their project presentations. Besides learning to use the computer as a tool for research and presentation, they also learn organization, time management, cooperation, etc.
“They do their presentations in the online program Prezi. It's a great program. Visually that program works with how kids learn today.”
“Room 205 and 215, also a 4/5 combo, are focusing on Social Studies in the lab. All students had to find and discuss a social issue that they wanted to do a campaign about. Then, using all the tools available in here, internet, film, animation, and art, to create a strong argument regarding that issue.”
The first graders created a book online that was printed. A second grade created a book online using the site Picture Book Maker and emailed them to parents.
After School Enrichment
But it's not just Language Arts and Social Studies happening in the lab.
“Some teachers want to focus on Math, and then we'll do that also.”
All classes have 45minutes to 50 minutes per week with Mr. Philip, but students can also be sent to the computer lab on allocated times to work on, for example, Language Arts (1-1.45 every day) and Math (Monday 8 to 11).
“Those time slots are for kids that may require more challenges, or to catch up, or just need to get a break from the classroom.”
The computer lab is also open during lunch recess.
“Yesterday I had 30 kids here working on their projects, catching up and just having fun.”
And that's why Mr. Philip only has a 15 min lunch… The computer lab doesn't close at 1.50, three days per week Mr. Philip teaches animation, filmmaking, and environmental stewardships to the students that wish to participate (Gasp as well as non-Gasp).
“The after school educational learning extension of the lab includes a GO Animate class, and the Adobe Youth Voice's program. Student driven storytelling through digital animation, and filmmaking.”
“I've also started to implement an after school Internet safety program called Digital Passport. It's a district core about Internet safety. In the past I have gone into the classroom to teach the kids about Internet safety together with Ms. Laurie, but now we are going to try a whole different approach.”
And, of course, there is the environmental stewardship program. Which includes the rooftop habitats, the hermit crabs, seed starter, the fish, and the watershed classroom project.
“Which by the way, thanks to a couple of dads answering the call to volunteer, is sailing full speed ahead.”
To meet the needs of our student population, Mr. Philip is always on the look out for programs that keep up with how kids learn today and programs for differentiated learning. On the lab's (Habitat H.O.P.E) website you'll find a sampling of the programs Mr. Philip uses, a page he often updates.
“Some are district approved, but many I have found myself. The biggest hurdles are the ads in some of the programs. I try to educate the kids about that, what the purpose is and such.”
Mr. Philip is also Grattan's Tech Lead with the district.
“I'm always trying to keep an eye down the road and see to it, as much as possible, that we are in line with district desires regarding technology and curriculum. And that can change fast. Right now the district is thinking of a match up with Google. So I asked Mr. Reedy to approve the idea to buy a couple of Chromebooks. And have the teachers test them out to see how they like them. If the district moves in the Google direction, the Cloud, Drive and Apps, then we need to be prepared and on board.”
Mr. Philip is also thinking about adding a second language to the computer lab.
“Friday afternoon maybe, or at 7 am? How many are in for learning Spanish, French, any language in the morning? I have found this really cool program, Dual Lingo, which I want to work with. Who's interested?”
Just tell us where to sign up...
Mr. Philip's position is fully funded by the PTA. Click here to contribute to make a donation.