Monday, December 6, 2010

November Photos Are Up!

Check out our photos on Facebook of November goings- on at Wellspring Community School.

And while you're there, don't forget to "Like" our page to receive regular updates from us.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Embracing Emergent Curriculum in Higher Education

College professors are making use of social media to allow students to direct their own learning:
If we build curricula around formats, we are likely to find ourselves unable to respond quickly to changing conditions, when new formats replace old or when the scope of the problem expands. And if we tie the teaching of form to decontextualized exercises, we risk being only about abstract principles that are later challenged by shifting media contexts and by the growing need for things that are social as well as visual.
According to Davis' provocative vision, flexible curricula suggest: 
* Important content may not require its own course
* Faculty may not work with all of the students all of the time
* Different students may achieve the same curricular outcomes through different curricular paths

Read the whole article here.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

When Teachers Highlight Gender

An interesting article describing findings that when teachers highlight gender, by having girls and boys line up separately or even by saying "boys and girls", children are more likely to pick up stereotyped attitudes and behaviors.

When preschool teachers call attention to gender in any way, kids pick up on it. 
A new study found that in classrooms where boys and girls line up separately — and even in settings where teachers say things like, "Good morning boys and girls" — children express more stereotypes about gender and even discriminate when deciding who to play with.

Read the whole thing

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Performance vs. Mastery

This is just a beautiful blog post from Marla McLean, atelierista at School Within School at the Peabody School in Washington, D.C.  The photography is beautiful, and I love how the children's process is documented and given more attention that the product.

The idea of working collaboratively to achieve mastery, as opposed to each child performing independently, is so important.  

[The] process of modeling and working with children is based on the idea of learning called ZPD, or Zone of Proximal Development developed by Vygotsky.
To cite directly from Vygotsky, this most widely known concept of his theory represented “the distance between the actual level of development as determined by independent problem solving [without guided instruction] and the level of potential development as determined by problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers”.
The thesis behind this “zone” is that at a certain stage in development, children can solve a certain range of problems only when they are interacting with people and in cooperation with peers.
As arts are being slashed from school budgets in an effort to save money and focus more on "important" things like reading and math, it is vital that we examine the real impact of these decisions.  If we focus on product - a finished art piece - that comes home at the end of a day, it may not seem that important, just another thing among our children's items that we collect, display, store or maybe pitch in the trash.  But when we look at the process, we can see how rich and meaningful those sculptures really are.