Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Future of Big Box Schooling

On Cooperative Catalyst, there is a repost of an article about a movie that they had previously reviewed called Schooling the World about expanding "Western" education into developing countries....pop on over using this link and check it out.
The structure of schools as we know them today developed during the rise of the industrial period, and as the quote above from Ellwood P. Cubberly indicates, the resemblance between big-box schools and factories is quite intentional. People in the 19th and early 20th centuries did not have our sense of political correctness, and they built into the public school system their very conscious intention of testing, labeling and sorting the population into a modern class system – with a small intellectual elite, a somewhat larger managerial class, and a large laboring class, whose main “education” would be in obedience, punctuality, willingness to respond when a bell rings, and conditioning to the dutiful performance of repetitive and uninspiring tasks. As John D. Rockefeller’s General Education Board articulated in 1906, “In our dreams, people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands.”

Monday, January 24, 2011

Children Making a Difference

I always love stories like this one, of children who take on the big problems and help to solve them:
Hi, my name is Dylan and I am 12 years old. I first fell in love with Coral Reefs when I was given the opportunity to dive on the Kehikili Reef in Maui, Hawaii. I got to witness first-hand the incredible biodiversity that Coral Reefs contain. Occupying less than 1% of the world’s oceans, Coral Reefs host 25% of all marine life. Over the years, returning to that reef I noticed negative changes on the reef due to environmental stresses. I was dismayed to learn that coral reefs are dying all over the world. If that were to happen it would be an ecological catastrophe as reefs’ ecosystems are deeply linked to the rest of the ocean.
I decided to do something about it! I founded ReefQuest to tell the story of Kahekili Reef, and model for kids everywhere actions they can each take to help marine habitats near them.
Check out the ReefQuest website here.

Friday, January 21, 2011

If you care about children, education, and the future of our planet

you need to watch this, and share it with all your friends, family members, co-workers, and community members!

Monday, January 17, 2011

What Motivates Us?

I love the line at the end: If we stop treating people as if they are smaller, slower, slightly-better smelling horses we might make the world a little bit better!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Importance of Play

An article in The New York Times talks about the need for play in the lives of children:
For several years, studies and statistics have been mounting that suggest the culture of play in the United States is vanishing. Children spend far too much time in front of a screen, educators and parents lament — 7 hours 38 minutes a day on average, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation last year. And only one in five children live within walking distance (a half-mile) of a park or playground, according to a 2010 report by the federal Centers for Disease Control, making them even less inclined to frolic outdoors.
Read the whole article here.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day!

A fun snow day activity for those second generation Little House on the Prairie fans among us - making molasses snow candy!
After we read the Christmas chapter of Little House on the Prairie my eldest said to me, “Gee Mom, I hope our Christmas is as good as Laura and Mary’s!!” I think Laura and Mary got a candy cane, a cake, and maybe a pair of mittens in their stockings…and that’s it. They marveled at a heart-shaped cake they found in their stockings and squealed with delight because it was dusted with white sugar! While I enjoy the comforts of modern living, I certainly relate to my child’s desire to be fully enraptured by the magic of Christmas-time.
Get the recipe here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

What Does the Research Show?

A recent article in the Washington Post compares recent education research with the heavily funded and wide-sweeping reforms being put into practice - and finds that they are not always headed in the same direction:
"Race to the Top" and Waiting for Superman made 2010 a banner year for the market-based education reforms that dominate our national discourse. By contrast, a look at the “year in research” presents a rather different picture for the three pillars of this paradigm: merit pay, charter schools, and using value-added estimates in high-stakes decisions.
Read the entire article here.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Passion. It's What Makes All the Difference.

The Ecology of Education blog discusses the elements of a transformative learning experience:

Herein lies the piece of the teaching puzzle than cannot be standardized, scripted, or tested. It’s the magic voodoo that the best teachers possess and the worst lack. It’s the catalyst that turns a humdrum subject into something powerful and life changing. And it’s the red thread that ties together all those gushy “The Teacher That Changed My Life” stories.
Passion.
Ironically, it’s also an ingredient that is altogether missing from our national edu-speak about quality education, and for the most wonkish of reasons at that: It’s utterly unquantifiable. Passion can’t be graphed, charted, or objectively assessed. It defies convention and refuses to be contained.
Read the entire article here.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What Does it Mean to be "Well Educated"?

A fabulous post at the Cooperative Catalyst:

To me, a good education is about developing: 
  • Habits of mind like curiosity, analysis, criticism, problem-solving and creativity
  • The ability to make things, to satisfy a need or just for fun
  • The capacity to love yourself, other people, and the environment; and to find an appropriate balance between your own needs and the needs of the group and/or the natural world.
That’s way more than can be accomplished in the school day, which is one reason why I reject the idea that teachers and schools are the only ones responsible for educating children. Everyone– parents, teachers, community members and institutions– has a role to play, and one of our main goals should be to work together to ensure that this happens.
You simply must swing over and read the entire thing here.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Making learning relevant really matters!

Duh!
Good news for good teachers: It turns out, the old drill-and-kill method is not only boring, but -- neurologically speaking -- pretty useless. Relevant, meaningful activities that both engage students emotionally and connect with what they already know are what help build neural connections and long-term memory storage (not to mention compelling classrooms).
Read the entire article here.