FLingers Block Party: Putting Faces To E-Mail Addresses
by Melissa Mathews and Elizabeth Gilbert
Fourteen 4-Blocks and Building Blocks Florida
teachers met in Orlando Saturday, July 29, 2000. The purpose of their meeting was to share ideas, information and provide support as the new school year approaches.
The FLingers Block Party came about because of the efforts of two-first grade teachers, Melissa Mathews of Orlando and Liz Gilbert of West Palm Beach. Both teachers participate in the 4-Blocks mailring. Melissa also is a member of the Building Blocks mailring. They met on-line after reading of other state gatherings being planned. Jealousy is a great motivator! Melissa E-mailed Liz privately asking what she thought of trying to put together a meeting before school began and away they went! E-mails and chat sessions occurred daily. Orlando was chosen as the gathering place because of its central location. Melissa arranged with her principal, Irma Moss, to use the cafeteria at Dover Shores Elementary.
Liz issued the invitations via several mailrings and sent personal invitations created on AmericanGreeting.com, courtesy of AOL. to Floridians identified on the ring. Sue Hannan helped by sending the general invitation to the second grade mailring. Liz kept track of the RSVP's, created nametags and a sigh-in sheet and served as the official photographer at the gathering.
Melissa and Liz worked together
on an agenda and evaluation/survey sheet. Teachers were encouraged to bring ideas and items to share along with questions they might have about the model. Liz included a link to Yahoo Maps in her invitation to help people find their way.
As the teachers arrived, they signed in and took nametags. They then visited and looked at the display items others had brought. We started with introductions which included our level of experience with the model and grade level assignments for the coming school year. Melissa gave an overview of each block and answered many questions, helped by other experienced 4-Blockers. The participants shared ideas after Melissa's wonderful presentation.
After a pizza delivery and lunchtime chats, we visited Melissa's classroom. Each participant received a beach ball courtesy of Sue Hannan of Boca Raton. Evaluation/surveys show that everyone would like to meet again at least once or twice over the school year. Jane Wenzel, Charlotte Sullivan and Diane Fox from Limona Elementary in Brandon, FL offered to host a FLingers Block Party in the future.
It is our hope that this meeting will help to promote the 4-Blocks/Building Blocks model in Florida's elementary schools. We, the lone rangers of Florida, have our work cut out for us. We are up for the challenge! We will lead by example, knowing that we now have a support group right at our fingertips.
Be sure to also check out the
Southern California 4 Blocks Gathering.