October 20, 2014
Choosing Our Battles: Standing By the Communities We Seek to Challenge

As oppressed people in general, but particularly as people of multiple oppressions, we make constant decisions about which battles we are willing to fight, and what the potential outcomes might be: Do we call our friends out for using the misogynistic language that everyone in our hood uses? Do we come out to coworkers and risk losing a job? Do we send our kids to a better-resourced school if it means they will be the only Brown students in their class? Do we brave the violence of home if it means being around people who speak our languages, know how to dance our music, and understand our humor? Every day we find personal answers to these kinds of questions, and make choices about which struggles, big or small, we are prepared to take on within any given moment. To make these choices, sometimes deciding that we are not ready to fight a certain fight, is to take an active stance, not a passive one, as certain members of our communities who may not share all of our oppressions sometimes lead us to believe. Thinking actively about how we can participate in resistance in ways which protect and sustain us, is necessary for carrying on long term struggles for justice, and our duty to ourselves as members of those struggles. With that in mind, how do we make those choices actively? How do we choose our battles in ways which are healthy for ourselves, honoring of our communities, and still dangerous for the systems which do us harm?

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Filed under: Education 
October 19, 2014
Drop That "Busy Work" Like It's Hot

So here is the skinny on grading and assessment. I must first admit, it is something that we constantly have to work on in my building. Do the assignments that we ask our students to complete in our classrooms have a purpose? If the answer is no – then stop assigning them – like, now.

There are several areas that we should focus on when bringing purposeful assessment to your building:

Drop the Zero

100-point grading scales are mathematically inaccurate – it is a fact. We must stop the use of the zero in our buildings immediately. The zero holds six times more weight than any other grade that we can assign students. Use of the zero in our grading practices could potentially eliminate a student’s chances of passing a course in the first semester. This is what I refer to as the Grading Abyss. It is a pitfall, that when students fall into it, they will act a fool in your class as they have no mathematical chance of passing your course – even with a 100%.

Laws of Averaging State: 0% + 100% = 100%; when we divide that by 2, we get 50%. A failing grade. Bummer.

Read more about dropping the use of the zero here.

Are Your Grades Polluted?

Do you know why we grade students? You should.

Grades, at least at the middle and secondary levels, are about student proficiency with the standards that we teach. Anything else that we grade students on – other than proficiency on the standards – pollutes your grades. Say, if you grade students on participation (subjective) or behavior (subjective) – the grade becomes a reflection of much more than the student’s proficiency on the standards you are teaching. Parents when they see an A or a D on a progress report would not know whether the students are proficient on the standards, or are just a compliant student in your class.

Your grades are polluted. You can read more about grading pollution here.

Meaningful Feedback

Grading for completion? C’mon… you know you’ve done it. I was guilty of it during my early years in the classroom.

If we assign students work, we owe it to them to provide them with meaningful feedback. Checking (and assigning grades) for completion is nothing but “busy work”. Our students know that and they are on to us.

What if we grade for completion, but a student actually doesn’t have a clue about what they are talking about. Hypothetically one could pass a student that knows nothing about the content area that we are teaching them in. Again, bummer. We would be guilty of contributing to just passing students on.

If you assign work – provide your students with meaningful feedback.

In schools across this country, we must tighten up our grading and assessment practices. The ability to assign grades comes with a lot of power. With great power, comes great responsibility.

If we haphazardly assign grades and award credit without reason, we are going to produce students that are not proficient in any areas. On the other end, we are also failing hundreds of thousands of students every year based on what? This question is especially important when we reflect on the reasons for the 1.2 million high school dropouts that we encounter each year in the United States.

So, I ask that as you begin the new school year that you look hard and redefine assessment in your classroom, schoolhouse, or district. Go forth and do great things.

August 6, 2014
Welcoming our Newest Colleagues: Letter to A Beginning Teacher

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Filed under: Education 
May 12, 2014
adventuresinlearning:

Admissions officers from local colleges will give info and answer your questions about how to get into college without a traditional high school diploma. Hosted by Open Road Learning Community for Teens.
May 15 - May 16 May 15 at 7:00pm to May 16 at 9:00pm
TaborSpace 5441 SE Belmont Street, Portland, Oregon 97215

adventuresinlearning:

Admissions officers from local colleges will give info and answer your questions about how to get into college without a traditional high school diploma. Hosted by Open Road Learning Community for Teens.

May 15 - May 16
May 15 at 7:00pm to May 16 at 9:00pm

TaborSpace
5441 SE Belmont Street, Portland, Oregon 97215

June 13, 2013

adventuresinlearning:

Last call to donate from David Loitz of Imagining Learning and Adventures in Learning! (by Imagining Learning)

I need your help! We only have less then 5 hours til the end of Imagining Learning’s Crowdfunding campaign. My personal goal is to reach 200 donors. Charles Kouns goal is crossing the 10,000 dollar! I think we can reach both of them. You have all heard our story now for the last 30+ days and you all know my passion for providing learning experiences for young people that can change their life and change their capacity for changing education and the way we live together! Please stand with the young people of the world and donate at least 10 dollars to our campaign! Please be one of the 41 people to donate today! Much Love! http://www.incited.org/projects/imagining-learning-creating-a-national-collective-voice-through-listening

June 8, 2013

adventuresinlearning:

Listening Session at Unboundary.m4v (by Bo Adams)

Five days to provide this experience for more students for more young people. Every 500 dollars raised allows us to travel to one community and give 8-20 young people a chance to have their voice and ideas heard. If you seen the video of the students after the session, you can see their transformation and their own belief in their capacity to positively change education.

Click here to donate $5-25 dollars http://bit.ly/15IE8P6

We are now up to about 45 listening sessions requested by communities and young people around the country, but without additional funds we will only be able to do about 10-15 of them.

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Filed under: Education 
June 7, 2013
adventuresinlearning:

(via Giving Our Youth a Voice – Re-Imagining Education: a conversation with Imagining Learning | Education on GOOD)

Listen to the recording of the interview with Charles Kouns and David Loitz to find out more about their wonderful initiative “Imagining Learning” designed to giving teens a voice to create a new vision for learning. www.imagininglearning.us And please join me in supporting this grass roots movement by donating to their Crowdfunding Campaign that is expiring in less than two weeks at www.IncitEd.org/projects/13

Continue to bit.ly

adventuresinlearning:

(via Giving Our Youth a Voice – Re-Imagining Education: a conversation with Imagining Learning | Education on GOOD)

Listen to the recording of the interview with Charles Kouns and David Loitz to find out more about their wonderful initiative “Imagining Learning” designed to giving teens a voice to create a new vision for learning. www.imagininglearning.us And please join me in supporting this grass roots movement by donating to their Crowdfunding Campaign that is expiring in less than two weeks at www.IncitEd.org/projects/13

May 27, 2013
Articles written by Charles Kouns on Cooperative Catalyst

imagininglearning:

A Thin Line Between Silence and Voice

A few days ago, David Loitz, Imagining Learning’s Seed Steward, posted a rough cut of a new film he is making about the Voices of the young people (and some of the adults) who have been involved in Listening Sessions.  In watching it, in listening to those familiar faces and voices that I met just … Continue reading »

The Care of Your Soul Became Mine

I would like to remove some rocks from your field so that you can plant more wheat. And those hills I see that are part of you, I have some trees in mind for them and flowering grasses, so that you won’t erode when the elements pour. Are we not lovers? Cannot I speak to … Continue reading »

Creating a National Collective Voice of Young People

“School is constantly causing us to forget who we are in the first place. I’m not dropping out, I’m choosing to leave. I’m choosing to not follow their plan. Yes, it works for a lot of people, but most of them are only in school because they’ve all become too oblivious to themselves and too … Continue reading »

Springtime in Education

Near the end of my mother’s 79th year, she fell and broke her hip.  As the surgeon readied for the operation, a physical exam revealed she had lung cancer. My mother would not consent to chemotherapy, but instead to a long series of radiation treatments.  She looked at me and said, “I don’t want my … Continue reading »

May 22, 2013
To Give Students an Education, Give Them a Voice (Guest Post by Daniel Kao)

The role of a teacher is evolving. As industries, technologies, and the needs in the world change, so does our approach to preparing the next generation for their lives ahead of them.

In the past, teachers presented information in an organized and…

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May 20, 2013
Cooperative Catalyst | Changing Education as We Speak

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Filed under: Education 
May 19, 2013
A Thin Line Beyond Silence and Voice

A few days ago, David Loitz, Imagining Learning’s Seed Steward, posted a rough cut of a new film he is making about the Voices of the young people (and some of the adults) who have been involved in Listening Sessions. In watching it, in listening to those…

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May 18, 2013

incitedcrowdfundingeducation:

Each time teens meet in a Listening Session with Imagining Learning they are transformed into facilitators of change, collaborators with hope. Over three hours they create a vision of what education can be…what they need it to be, and the result is literally a work of art. Learn more here.

Imagining Learning has held 20 Listening Sessions already and have been invited to do another 38 across the country. (See the map above.) But they can’t get there without a little help from believers like you, people who know that young people have important wisdom to share.

Let’s break down what’s possible when a few committed people get together to enact change: 

  • Each Listening Session costs about $500. Just 20 people giving $25 each can make that happen. 
  • For the price of a $10 lunch, 50 people can bring the Imagining Learning revolution to a city that’s begging for it. 
  • If you and two of your friends agreed to donate $20 each and then each found three more people to do the same, that would only need to happen 4 more times to raise over $21,000 for Imagining Learning! 

Activate your crowd to accelerate change. Visit Imagining Learning’s IncitED campaign and join the revolution!

May 11, 2013
Cooperative Catalyst | Changing Education as We Speak

May 10, 2013
Positive Spaces for Engaging Young People’s Voice.

Positive Spaces for Engaging Young People’s Voice.

Today a video of student Jeff Bliss, a sophomore at Duncanville High School in Texas, went viral fast. In the video below we are privy to Bliss passionately speaking his truth. He knows that learning is more than packets to fill out, more than passively…

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May 10, 2013
Positive Spaces for Engaging Young People’s Voice.

Today a video of student Jeff Bliss, a sophomore at Duncanville High School in Texas, went viral fast. In the video below we are privy to Bliss passionately speaking his truth. He knows that learning is more than packets to fill out, more than passively…

View Post