Sunday, February 20, 2011

Standards-Based vs. Performance-Based Curriculum

A very cool article from a student newspaper at an upstate New York high school:
A lot of the administration, teachers, and students don’t like the standard based curriculum, but have no power to change it. The standard based curriculum imposes content specifications without taking into account the different needs, opportunities to learn, and skills that may be appropriate for specific districts, regions, or students. But then, why have it at all? It’s difficult, unnecessary and somewhat medieval. School curriculum shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all. Wouldn’t we all like to do what we’re good at to the best of our abilities and therefore shine? Why should different people with different talents, interests, and abilities be forced into homogenization?
Read the entire article here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fairy Houses

If you're local to Wellspring Community School, please visit Chester Public Library before the end of February to see our Fairy House display in the Children's Room.  Our students worked very hard on these beautiful masterpieces!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bohm on Creativity

An exploration of the philosopher David Bohm's thoughts on creativity can be found here.


What do you think?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Does Creativity = Happiness?

Maybe, according to this article on
Imagine someone sitting on the floor with his or her head buried in their arms and leaning on the couch. Is this person crying, sleeping, sick, dizzy or playing hide and seek? The ability to interpret this image in as many ways as possible reveals one's psychological creativity and consequently their ability to deal with negativity according to a new study by Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier, a PhD student at the University of Montreal Faculty of Psychology.
Read the entire article here.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Raising Happy, Imperfect Children

Yet another response to the firestorm that has been generated from Amy Chua's Tiger Mother, this one from Motherlode at The New York Times:
Chua is prescribing life motivated by perfectionism—fear of failure, fear of disappointment.  Not only is this a vicious form of unhappiness, but research by Carol Dweck and many others shows that kids who are not allowed to make mistakes don’t develop the resilience or grit they need later in life to overcome challenges or pick themselves up when they do fail. Perfectionists are far more likely to be depressed, anxious, and in college, they are more likely to commit suicide.
Read the whole article here, and take heed.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Don't Bring Your Son or Daughter to Work

on Bring Your Son or Daughter to Work day?  Egad!  Read the article from that starts:

School districts are urging parents to leave kids in school today during "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day," according to the Associated Press.
They say the annual event disrupts learning at an increasingly critical time of year when standardized tests are taking place.
Kids in the community?  Seeing what this "real world" for which school is supposed to be preparing them?  NOOOOOOOOO......!  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

For the "I Hate Math" Crowd

On NPR - after this, you won't!

Read more, check the links, watch the video, all here.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Why We Need Humane Education in Our Schools

An interview with Zoe Weil, co-founder and president of the Institute for Humane Education, on
All our courses [in humane education] invite people to use what we call the 3 Is: inquiry, introspection, and integrity. First we must inquire in order to learn about the important issues of our time; then we must self reflect and determine where the confluence of our knowledge and values lies; finally, we put our knowledge and values into practice which is living with integrity. This process is important for everyone - teachers, students, and anyone who wants to live their life intentionally and meaningfully.
Read the rest of the interview here.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Success Requires More than the ABCs

An article in The Huffington Post describes research about skills beyond basic academic competencies that are required for success:
This emerging research has shown several fascinating, yet entirely commonsensical, factors that predict academic and work success. The top predictor was conscientiousness, which included dependability, perseverance, and hard work. Other contributors that were found included the ability to work with others and emotional maturity. Finally, extroversion (typically associated with social awareness and communication skills) and receptivity to new experiences were also predictors of success (one thing I love about psychology research is that it often tells us what we already know to be true).
Read the entire article here.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Critical Thinking: POSSIBLE in Schools!

I just came across an old-ish article in The Huffington Post about teaching critical thinking in schools:
Dr.Christianna Alger states that asking the right questions may build a critical thinking classroom. (Many of the times you see baffled looks from students is due to the question not being clearly stated or it is not the correct question for the answer that you believe is right.)
CLARITY. Can you state that in a different way? Can you elaborate on what you said? Can you give an example? Is there another word or phrase that communicates the problem?
ACCURACY. How do we check to see if that statement is valid? How do we know it is correct? Where did you get the information? How can we verify or test it? (This is less of a problem when the sources are known and controlled by the teacher or district, but does it allow for challenges?)
DEPTH. What factors make this a difficult problem? What are some of the complexities inherent in this problem? (We tend to go towards simple answers.)
RELEVANCE. How does that relate to the problem? How does that help us with the issue?
FAIRNESS. Do you have a vested interest in this issue? Are you sympathetically representing the relevant viewpoint of others? (This gets to the heart of my objection in calling it critical thinking. Is the student able to present a radically different viewpoint without it conflicting with what the teacher wants, believes is correct, or will accept?)
Read the entire article here.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sharing the Power

Camp Creek Blog posted an article about child-centered learning:

My biggest concern with child-led learning is if it does foster a certain self-absorption in children. I have homeschooling friends who are critcial of this kind of learning because they think it teaches the child that the world revolves around them and caters to them. They think rote learning and 6 hours of desk learning teaches children virtues.
And part of [the author's] response:
I believe children embrace learning and become enthusiastic, passion-driven learners only when they see how it connects to themselves .. how it helps them connect with their interests and their purpose. What is education for, if not this? And the rote learning, six hours at a desk a day .. what is that kind of education for? Not, I think, connecting you with your deepest passions and your purpose.
Read the whole post here.  Really, read it.  It's great.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Schools Built for Learning

Another great post at Cooperative Catalyst:
One of the things I came away with was that we don’t still, after all these years, have good models for talking about what a highly effective school looks like and feels like, from a learner’s point of view. (And I mean all learners–not just kids.)  So while I propose, as a given, a short list: the child/student is at the center of the enterprise, and the student is most important person in the school’s dynamic–here are additions to the list–a few other attributes of a highly effective “learning” school.  These have been developed after years of culture-watching in breakthrough districts, in writing about innovative school models, and in working with leadership teams now engaged in real innovation.
Read seven characteristics of highly effective schools here.  And really, you should just make it a point to read this blog every day!