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 
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 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

April 8, 2013
Cooperative Catalyst | Changing Education as We Speak

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Filed under: Education 
April 4, 2013
Join @goodIDEAfolks + @coopcatalyst in 15 mins for Tonight’s #IDEAedChat: Topic Alternatives to Standardized Testing #EDU

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Filed under: Education 
April 4, 2013
Letters to Michelle Obama (Guest Post by Christopher Chase)
If you’re a teacher, student or parent with children in American public schools then you probably have some first hand knowledge of the problems that have been caused by well-meaning but inflexible “No child left behind” policies and the new emphasis on “one-size-fits-all” common core standards. It’s not that all aspects of these initiatives are unwise, but certain parts definitely are.
Our idea is to encourage teachers, parents and students around the United States to write personal letters and mail them in May (not by e-mail) to Michelle Obama, telling her of your experiences and concerns with how high-stakes testing and other reforms are affecting those who actually spend their days on the front line, in our nation’s classrooms. As Nancy Carlsson-Paige described the current situation:
“As a professor of education, an educator of teachers, and someone who creates curriculum, I see the harm education reform is causing children — the disappearance of play, creativity, and the arts from our schools. Evaluation is now driving curriculum, and curriculum is being reduced to something mechanistic. This isn’t real learning.”
Educators like Dr. Carlsson-Page and Diane Ravitch have spoken out for years now, but for some reason their explanations have not been heard and understood by President Obama. He’s a very busy man, with a lot of issues on his plate. But he and Michelle are parents as well, with young daughters in school.
Which is why we thought an effective strategy might be for people from all over the Nation to write to Michelle Obama and let her know what is REALLY going on. As someone who spends time visiting schools, she should be able to quickly grasp these issues once she sits down, reads a few letters and really learns about the effect these policies have had.
Moreover, as First Lady she may be in the best position to help influence education policy. Once she “gets it” she can then explain the “uncomfortable” details of the issue to the President. One or two meaningful conversations between the two of them in the White House could lead to some big changes.
So, if you agree with this idea, we hope you will consider sharing your personal story with her. Let Michelle (and her staff) know what you’ve observed, as a parent, educator or student. Also, as parents and teachers, we can discuss this issue with our children and encourage them to write as well, expressing their unique point of view.
Isn’t this what “critical thinking skills” and participatory democracy are all about – finding a way for our leaders to hear (and be guided by) the voices and wisdom of the people, all the people, even the children?
Thanks for considering this idea and sharing it with others.
“There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” ~Victor Hugo
Send your letter to:
Ms. Michelle Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500
Source (The Art of Learning)

Letters to Michelle Obama (Guest Post by Christopher Chase)

If you’re a teacher, student or parent with children in American public schools then you probably have some first hand knowledge of the problems that have been caused by well-meaning but inflexible “No child left behind” policies and the new emphasis on “one-size-fits-all” common core standards. It’s not that all aspects of these initiatives are unwise, but certain parts definitely are.

Our idea is to encourage teachers, parents and students around the United States to write personal letters and mail them in May (not by e-mail) to Michelle Obama, telling her of your experiences and concerns with how high-stakes testing and other reforms are affecting those who actually spend their days on the front line, in our nation’s classrooms. As Nancy Carlsson-Paige described the current situation:

“As a professor of education, an educator of teachers, and someone who creates curriculum, I see the harm education reform is causing children — the disappearance of play, creativity, and the arts from our schools. Evaluation is now driving curriculum, and curriculum is being reduced to something mechanistic. This isn’t real learning.”

Educators like Dr. Carlsson-Page and Diane Ravitch have spoken out for years now, but for some reason their explanations have not been heard and understood by President Obama. He’s a very busy man, with a lot of issues on his plate. But he and Michelle are parents as well, with young daughters in school.

Which is why we thought an effective strategy might be for people from all over the Nation to write to Michelle Obama and let her know what is REALLY going on. As someone who spends time visiting schools, she should be able to quickly grasp these issues once she sits down, reads a few letters and really learns about the effect these policies have had.

Moreover, as First Lady she may be in the best position to help influence education policy. Once she “gets it” she can then explain the “uncomfortable” details of the issue to the President. One or two meaningful conversations between the two of them in the White House could lead to some big changes.

So, if you agree with this idea, we hope you will consider sharing your personal story with her. Let Michelle (and her staff) know what you’ve observed, as a parent, educator or student. Also, as parents and teachers, we can discuss this issue with our children and encourage them to write as well, expressing their unique point of view.

Isn’t this what “critical thinking skills” and participatory democracy are all about – finding a way for our leaders to hear (and be guided by) the voices and wisdom of the people, all the people, even the children?

Thanks for considering this idea and sharing it with others.

“There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” ~Victor Hugo

Send your letter to:

Ms. Michelle Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Source (The Art of Learning)

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Filed under: Education Obama 
February 11, 2013
Grades « Cooperative Catalyst

Grades Limit My Learning

Originally posted as a guest post. Justin is a member of the Cooperative Catalyst We all stress ourselves out to memorize the formulas. We all have had that cram night before the final. We all BS homework at the last second so as not to “get a zero”. We all use Spark Notes. We all … Continue reading »

Abolish Grades!

This post was originally published on Education Nation’s The Learning Curve blog. Nikhil Goyal is a 17-year old author of One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student’s Assessment of School to be published in the September 2012. He has been featured in the New York Times, NBC, Huffington Post, and Edutopia. His email is … Continue reading »

Zero? No zero? How about just getting rid of grades altogether?

There’s a raging debate in my province about zero-grading policies. A teacher bucked his school division’s orders to not give out zeroes, was suspended because of his defiance, and now the people of Alberta are rallying around him as a folk hero. I’ve been watching this debate with something close to bemusement. Educational research is … Continue reading »

It’s time we hold tests and grades accountable

On my blog for the love of learning, I recently wrote a post called assessment simplified and it received the following comment: I think we have to be really careful to assess based on criteria and not just what looks “cool” in the classroom. If as teachers we are not willing to teach and assess curriculum, then … Continue reading »

what about grades

as posted on the faq on be you. what about grades We hope this clears up some assumptions about grades…… Above is James Bach‘s highschool transcript. (Read more in his book Buccaneer-Scholar.) Here’s how his book reads on the pages describing his grades (This is a lot  – James gave me permission to pirate … Continue reading »

Grades: Education’s Snake-Oil Currency

The idea of abolishing grading from school tends to invoke a kind of fear in teachers and parents. One of the most common fears includes this: If I don’t give a grade, why would students learn or do anything I ask them? To this fear, I have tended to quote Alfie Kohn from his article … Continue reading »

Learning to Think and Question (By Student Christian Isaac)

The way we chastise or praise students at schools today is two laughs beyond hysterical. We’ve been raised to think that the most intelligent students are the ones who turn in their homework on time and fill in all the blanks on their notes. Society has gone so far, and has been so emaciated by … Continue reading »



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Filed under: Education Grades 
January 30, 2013
Cooperative Catalyst

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Filed under: education 
January 14, 2013
Cooperative Catalyst

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Filed under: education 
January 4, 2013
(via (TRIGGER WARNING) It’s Time to Have a Conversation About Personal Responsibility, Rape, and Public Schools!)
America has a social climate where when rape occurs, the victim undergoes public attack, and when it comes to the offender, there is usually offender worshipping, weak punishment, or offender protection. That attitude toward rape has unfortunately grown as generations of children enter the public school system in a society where sex is idealized and glorified and rape is trivialized and everyone is eager to teach girls not to get raped but hesitant to teach boys not to rape. However, since 2002, 23 school districts across the nation have had some type of relation to a sexual assault, most often at the school district’s school. Moreover, while each story was different and some were more heinous than others were, most if not all shared common themes where school officials refuse to either acknowledge or acknowledge with limitation. So, is it time to have that conversation about rape and the public school?
Click to read the whole post

(via (TRIGGER WARNING) It’s Time to Have a Conversation About Personal Responsibility, Rape, and Public Schools!)

America has a social climate where when rape occurs, the victim undergoes public attack, and when it comes to the offender, there is usually offender worshipping, weak punishment, or offender protection. That attitude toward rape has unfortunately grown as generations of children enter the public school system in a society where sex is idealized and glorified and rape is trivialized and everyone is eager to teach girls not to get raped but hesitant to teach boys not to rape. However, since 2002, 23 school districts across the nation have had some type of relation to a sexual assault, most often at the school district’s school. Moreover, while each story was different and some were more heinous than others were, most if not all shared common themes where school officials refuse to either acknowledge or acknowledge with limitation. So, is it time to have that conversation about rape and the public school?

Click to read the whole post

January 3, 2013
Cooperative Catalyst

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Filed under: Education 
December 30, 2012
Cooperative Catalyst Year in Review: Active Conversations Part 4

Teaching: Art or Science?

Inappropriate Use of Technology

Lessons From Ireland: Rebel with an Educational Cause

Bringing Democracy to Education

Of Education, Learning, School and the School of Life

A Public School Teacher and Student Discuss Democratic Education

Springtime in Education

Let’s Be Careful with #Kony2012

Must Read List

Don’t Bring Dangeres things.

Making Schools about Learning Again

Once Upon a Time We Put a Human on the Moon

No Tests for Kids as Argued by a 4th Grader, PickyKidPix (daughter of Pragmatic Mom)

How to Make a Class Behave

Why I Won’t Vote for Mitt

What Am I to Say to Aspiring Teachers?

Why I Accept Late Work

Free Schools Revisited: Revolution vs. Transformation

Play is learning. Learning is play.

Education: The Past, The Present and The Future #2

Taking Education for Granted

I Love My School (Guest Post by Student Veronica Pollock)

The Future Belongs to the Dreamers

10 things to do on the first day of school…

“It’s not about the tool” – a naïve myth.

Engaged Pedagogy

Why I Left the NEA

From Teaching to Learning

We Are the Present: Why Youth Voices are Necessary

My Vision for Urban Education (Guest Post by Mark Naison)

The Care of Your Soul Became Mine

#mozfest: Open schools for open societies

50 Ways To Make Your School More Democratic

I Am A Student, and I Stand Against Students For Education Reform (SFER)

Reinventing Education

What’s The Purpose of Education?

“You Can’t Learn if You Don’t Play…”

A Dictator Unwilling to Step Down

We need more teachers like this

Vigor not Rigor

Leverage Learning Not Teaching–A Reflection on Sugata Mitra’s Emergent Pedagogy

Children and Cardboard Boxes

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Filed under: Education 
December 29, 2012
Why Do We Need to Play? (My #rechat Reflection) « Cooperative Catalyst

I’m struck by the amount of learning that goes on in a short period of time – and that, the act of of play, feels, somehow magical. The same is true of the sidewalk chalk games and the imaginative painting and the story-telling they engaged in earlier this morning.

They’re learning through play.

I’m not sure how to define play. I’m not sure when engagement and learning become play. I think imagination, creativity, interactivity have something to do with it. But I’m not sure that my kids would even think to make the distinction in the first place. Play and learning are nearly synonymous. There is a playfulness to reading a National Geographic magazine and a seriousness to blowing bubbles.

I try to defend the concept of play by pointing out the functional aspects of play: increasing creativity, driving innovation, flexible thinking, paradoxical thinking, problem-solving, role-playing, social learning, authentic contexts, questioning (and inquiry in particular). I want to prove that play and career-readiness might go hand-in-hand, but I’m not so sure.

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Filed under: education Play