Friday, August 10, 2012

Worth Reading....

Sharing some posts and resources I came across.

1. Project Dream School (21st Century Collaborative)- from disillusionment about the current educational structure to a vision for a "Dream School."  Reminds me of another great article, If We Didn’t Have the Schools We Have Today, Would We Create the Schools We Have Today? What would you design or what would be your dream school?

I have been dreaming lately, dreaming about starting a school, a place where kids can ask questions and follow their passions. A place where caring adults create the conditions where deep learning can thrive and are willing to get out of the way and let it happen. A place where we value what all learners have to offer teachers and students.

2.  HBW Reads- this was shared by Patrick Larkin who was leading an unconference I attended yesterday.  This was how a school in the district where he works structured summer reading. Students were invited in to blog throughout the summer about a "buzz" book the school selected to read.

3. From Classroom Rules to Community Commitments (Spencer)- shares ideas for the beginning of school and how he has moved from establishing classroom rules/norms to community developed expectations.  Worth privileging time at the start of school to begin the process of developing a community of learners.  Additionally, learners are empowered to assume ownership over the classroom space.

When it was finished, a student asked me, "If these are our commitments, why are we using 'I' instead of 'we?'" I realize his question was linguistic in nature, but I was struck by the philosophical underpinnings to what he was asking.

4. Inspire Drive, Innovation and cReativity.  The 20% Project in the Classroom (Petty)-  description of a 20% project, made famous by Google, in a classroom.  Brings up the questions as to whether we can inspire students and foster creativity without ceding autonomy in the classroom.

With autonomy, students are encouraged to seek out their own topics, create their own timelines, research their own products and complete them.  The pro for autonomy is that students don’t really see a list of possible ideas and then limit their ideas to that list.  They have a little more unmanipulated freedom to think of a new project. 

5. For Back to School, Reimagine Classroom Design (Jilek)-  schools that have redesigned learning spaces to better inspire students. The article is a further reminder of the extent the physical space impacts learning.

But not at Hartland-Lakeside. Across the Hartland-Lakeside school district in Hartland, Wisconsin, teachers have transformed their Industrial Age classrooms into innovative, state-of-the-art learning spaces. Unique spaces allow children flexibility to move, collaborate, and express themselves in creative ways. And as a result of changing the learning environment, classroom instruction changed to fit students’ needs too.

6. "Creativity is Spelled With A "Why" (Achiron)-  discusses the importance of observation in the creative process.  Further prompts us to think about ways we position students to get out of their desks and classroom and into the streets to observe.

“These children learn different ways of thinking and looking at the world.” For Raghavan, those different ways of thinking also need to be adopted by traditional teachers and schools. “We need a shift from ‘yes’ to ‘why?’ in school systems,” he says, “from looking to observing; from being passive to exploring; from textbook-bound to hands-on; from fear to confidence.”

7. Seely Brown on New Ways of Learning in a Rapidly-Changing World- thinking of showing this as part of a new teacher meeting.