Sep 10, 2007

Going to Cooperstown without leaving Arkansas

I'm not quite sure exactly what was going on today, but we had off-and-on torrential downpours all morning. I jokingly remarked that it would be ironic if the virtual field trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame was cancelled due to rain delay! :-)

As it turns out, just about the time I got to Genoa, the rain stopped. Time has rarely gone slower as the time between my arrival and the time to dial up Cooperstown! I'm pretty sure the clock was running backwards at one point...

Then, the time came, and I fired up the connection, fully expecting to lose connectivity at least once during the interactive lesson. I was wrong, thankfully.

The students came in and sat down, and the instructor (I wish I could remember his name, and I apologize to him for forgetting now) began to talk to the students - "How many of you are into baseball?" One kid raises his hand... (This is not going to bode well, I thought) "How many of you have been to Cooperstown?" No one (well, their teacher had), but that is not surprising to me. After all, I have lived all over the U.S. and have yet to make to the HOF... The students seemed a bit scared, afraid to answer, maybe fearing to give the "wrong" answer. The instructor was great - even when a question did have a wrong answer, he took care in steering the students to the right one. He engaged the students, asking them about their friends and the characteristics they see like in their friends. The students began to open up some.

After a brief "tour" (i.e. commercial), the lesson about character and Lou Gehrig began. I will not divule the lesson completely, but here are some of the highlights of the lesson:
  • The instructor had tech help, so was able to concentrate on the students and the lesson exclusively,
  • He conducted the lesson in the gallery of plaques right next to Lou Gerhig's plaque on the wall!!
  • The students had to perform a play, in various acts, and were REQUIRED to switch parts, so that eventually all ten students got to actively participate!
  • The instructor was shown at the same time as various pictures of Gehrig, Babe Ruth, etc, so the students were rarely "left alone."
  • At different points, the students were shown video clips from a DVD at the HOF,
  • We got to see Tony Gwynn's and Cal Ripken Jr's plaques on the wall via the camera!
  • We also got to see the "Very First Class" plaques because the camera was in the position to zoom in on the five original plaques!
  • The students came away with a better understanding of what it means to have positive character traits
  • The Dragons of Genoa got to go to Cooperstown, NY, and back in less than an hour!

This truly was one of the greatest experiences I have had in distance learning. Very, very cool!! To quote Gehrig himself, "Today, I am the luckiest man on the face of this earth." For a whole lot of reasons....

On the way back from the school, I stopped in at the mall to pick up Emily's latest pictures from Sears. The woman behind the counter recognized Emily in her outfit, and then immediately put me in her "entourage" and even remembered Tyler playing his Nintendo DS. She was the one we WANTED to take Emily's pictures, but it didn't happen that way. It means a lot to me that someone who sees hundreds of people a week remembers my kids... And she only met them once.

I also did some birthday shopping for Shan (which I cannot give details, sorry!!), and then picked the kids up from Shan's room. They were excited when I told them we were having Sloppy Joe's! :-) That's what I like - easy cookin.... :-)

Well, as usual, there was something else floating around the cyber-space that fills the gap between my ears, but I have forgotten it...

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