Project Ride Smart

This was the 11th day of Project Ride Smart at Westlake Charter School. As it turned out, it was my last day of work. Last week I was fighting a cold but managed to press on. By today, it was clear someone needed to take my place. Darn. WCS is a great school to work at – very modern, supportive staff, engaged and excited students.
Students being interviewed about their experience:
Lots of parent volunteers for the street rides:
Note the student at the far right:
I was so proud of this group. They are perfectly executing a left turn from a stop sign as individual drivers of their vehicles:

Project Ride Smart

This week we finished the last of the community rides. I had the blue group – what a great teaching experience. All my students were delightful, they listened when I needed to teach, accepted coaching tips with a smile, and were excellent bicycle drivers. One of their favorite things was to wave car drivers through intersections when it was their turn to go – they knew the right-of-way rules better than adults. When I told this group that they could do a picture with goofy faces or whatever, they declined, not even bunny ears. One student told me, “That’s so 2014.”In the summertime, there’s a button you can push and water squirts out of the horse’s nostrils.At the end of the day, it usually takes two students to collect jerseys, but this student figured out how to do it by himself:This was one of the best Project Ride Smart sessions we’ve ever had. The students and staff at Westlake Charter School were wonderful to work with.

A modern school

It’s been 15 years since I retired. I never got to use Smart Boards although we did have white boards and dry erase markers. We had large TVs and were able to show VHS tapes. By 2003, every teacher had a big computer on their desk, and, maybe a few computer stations at the back of the classroom. Students generally went to a computer lab in another classroom twice/week for maybe 30 minutes. Teaching 6th grade at my last school, each student had their own desk with a space to keep supplies, books, etc. I usually had the desks arranged in groups of 4 with assigned seats.

Westlake Charter School opened recently in North Natomas. This was their first Project Ride Smart experience. We worked in four 5th grade classrooms and, oh my, how classrooms have changed. There is a large long central courtyard which branches into clusters of classrooms.
30 students could easily sit here.
The four 5th grade classrooms all have a door into a flex room, each classroom also has another door to the outside.Students can use this space in addition to their classroom space with a variety of seating and ways to create a non-distracting space. There also a small room for more privacy or meetings. Note the large TV screen. Although not directly supervised, I saw students working quietly and independently and always on task.At the other end, the entrance to the 5th grade teachers workroom:All the basic office supplies and so much more.And their own refrigerator and copier.The classroom. Many table and seating choices, different heights, styles and and configurations. You can sit on the floor with pillows at a low table, at high tables on tall chairs with bars for feet at four different heights, at smaller tables in flexible groups on cushiony stools with wheels, more traditional chairs, large exercise balls, or stools that have rounded bottoms.When students arrive in the morning, they can choose anywhere they want to sit for the whole day.Even this is ok:Gone are large computer stations. Every student has their own laptop. The Project Ride Smart videos were streamed from the Internet onto a very large flatscreen tv on a portable stand. The kids at Westlake Charter School were exceptionally polite and attentive – wonderful to work with.

Project Ride Smart

Monday: Success! After two after-school coaching sessions, several students had learned to ride.Blacktop drills: scanning and left turn.How the bikes were stored each day. The vertical storage was the hardest, lifting the bigger bikes onto high hooks – ugh.By Thursday, the community street rides began:Jason was one of our parent volunteers who rode with my group. Here, his son is teaching him how to do the ABCQuick Check before riding. He did a great job.

Project Ride Smart

Today I worked with Deanna and Pollyanna at Westlake Charter School. I love this LCI team, we work well together.

WCS is a brand new school, more on than later in a separate blog post. Getting the bikes down every morning from a not-very-good storage system. Note the electric pump for inflating tires – we pumped up 80 tires (omg-sore right thigh muscles).

Chalking and coning the playground for blacktop drills:

Students lined up to watch a demonstration of the skills to be practiced:After school, there was one hour of coaching for new riders. My boa of helmets at the end of the day:This was a long day, almost 9 hours, I was sooo tired.