Sharing: The Moral Imperative (CEW Integration Inservice #1)

In my very first blog post (What Does It Take to Create a Movement?) I shared a video about sharing because sharing and collaboration help us all get better at what we do for our students. In these days of limited school funding my school district is taking steps to save money. One of those steps is to no longer require our students take our Pathways class as a graduation requirement.

Pathways is a stand alone career discovery/exploration class. To compensate for this loss (in a state that requires career development education via the Pennsylvania Career Education and Work Academic Standards) we are working to find ways to embed these learning and self discovery opportunities in core academic classes that all students are required to take. They say that necessity is the mother of invention. This change is forcing us to deliver CEW in an integrated fashion-this change will create new learning opportunities for our students. It is a good thing.

This is the first of a series of posts that I will publish as we work toward this integration. I expect that this transition will take several years and that, if it is any good at all, will be an organically grown product that works for our students as a result of who we are and our community of stakeholders (students, parents, teachers, community and post-secondary programs) desires. I expect to see many layers to this integrated 9-12 curriculum as it develops.

We start by thinking about what freshman and sophomores need. Here you will see all of my materials and resources as we begin this important discussion with our core teachers and school counselors. (Scroll to the bottom of this page to see participant feedback.)

CEW Integration Inservice #1

TED Talk Transcript-Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the Learning

TED Talk video-Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the Learning:

Agenda for the day:

PPT presentation used to facilitate the day:

Graphic Organizer:

Skills ID Ice Breaker Activity (conversation starters from Smith College Career Development Office)

Skills ID build Self Efficacy Resources:

The Girl Scouts and 21st Century Skills

The 6 21st Century Skills You Really Need (source: The Bamboo Project)

Essential Outcomes (given to freshmen at the University of Wisconsin)

10 Skills You’ll Need to Succeed at Almost Anything

What Skills Do Employers Want?

Five out of 14 teachers participating wrote to me after the inservice. Here is what they said:

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Have you hugged your Educational Foundation lately?

I have just returned from a school assembly. Not just any assembly–I heard Dr. Arun Gandhi speak to our student body. Dr. Gandhi is the grandson of Mohandas Gandhi. Dr. Gandhi was living in South Africa as a child. After several beatings from various hate groups by the age of 10 his parents decided it was time for him to live in India with his grandfather.

Dr. Gandhi shared a few lovely stories about his grandfather and their relationship as they lived and learned together. The take aways for me were twofold:

  1. Violence can be against nature or humanity and we all commit these violences everyday.
  2. Keeping a journal to help cope with anger doesn’t do anything except keep the anger fresh (by re-reading) unless you also journal about how the problem could be fixed and then commit to fixing the problem. 

The message Dr. Gandhi sent to our students was truly great but what I really want to write about is our Educational Foundation. There would have been no Dr. Gandhi today without the Foundation.

The Hatboro-Horsham Educational Foundation is a nonprofit organization created to encourage excellence and to enhance and enrich educational opportunities offered to the students of the Hatboro-Horsham School District. The parents, community members and district administrators who make up our foundations board are amazing people. They have a positive, can-do, “think out of the box” mindset. I am so lucky to be able to work with them. Their first question is always, “What do kids need?”

So what needs have been determined for our students and community members this year?

  1. A world view (Dr. Gandhi)
  2. To be kids (Race to Nowhere)
  3. Self expression (Two of a Kind)
  4. Nature (Tom Szaky)
  5. Cultural arts (Philadelphia Gay Men’s Choir)
  6. Inspiration (Flame)

*For last year’s programming scroll to the bottom of this page.

The HHEF also funds many school projects. Our robotics students compete using funding available via the foundation, our teachers, students and community benefit from video conferencing via the foundation.

My own work has been greatly enhanced by the foundation. The Green and Entrepreneurial Futures Fairs could not have been done without the foundations energy and enthusiastic support. The foundation, to my suprise, went out and brought to school Jerry Greenfield  (Ben and Jerrys) to kick off our year dedicated to that 21st century skill, “entrepreneurialism”!

The foundation encourages teachers to apply for Grants in Action. In addition to all described, “I” have been the beneficiary of several Grants in Action. My students opportunities have been greater by the additional opportunity the grant awards make possible.

HHEF, if I haven’t made this clear before–thank you for all you do!

 

 2010-2011 Hatboro-Horsham Educational Foundation Events
   

Jeff Yalden

 

   

Jerry Greenfield

   

Vince Papale

   

Futures Fair

   

“The Conspirator” Fundraiser

   

Culture Fest!

   

The Lorax

   

Grants in Action

Sally Madonna, Sally Spears & Sally Gaga?

This presentation is a “must see.”

My friend, Joyce Valenza, is a teacher-librarian. She always introduces herself as a teacher-librarian and what a great teacher she is. In addition to her students, she has taught me much over the dozen plus years we have been friends. I would not be the educator I am today without her influence.

Joyce was recently asked to speak at a TEDxPhiladelphiaED event. It is here that Joyce introduces “the Sally’s” in her talk titled See Sally Research. You know the Sally’s if you’ve been in education for awhile. You may have been or known Sally Madonna or Sally Spears. Sally Gaga is in your classroom today.

As I listened to Joyce’s talk I couldn’t help think about 21st Century skills and how artfully she equips her students as they learn and practice these important skills. Joyce’s students “own” their learning. They become passionate learners. Their learning empowers them.

See Sally Research was inspired by a chapter Joyce wrote with Doug Johnson for Lehmann and McLeod’s What School Leaders Need to Know About Digital Technologies and Social Media.

Joyce’s blog: Neverendingsearch.

Shop Class as Soulcraft

This book by Matthew B. Crawford was given to my daughter as a graduation gift from her professor at Syracuse University. I finally had a chance to read it. Shop Class As Soulcraft should be read by students graduating from high school too.Educators will find it worth discussing. The New York Times Book Review says, “A beautiful little book about human excellence and the way it is understood in contemporary America.”

Educators will also find the quote introducing the first chapter worth pondering:

“In schools, we create artificial learning environments for our children that they know to be contrived and underserving of their full attention and engagement…Without the opportunity to learn through the hands, the world remains abstract, and distant, and the passions for learning will not be engaged.”

-Doug Stowe, Wisdom of the Hands (Blog)

 Doug Stowe’s blog Wisdom of the Hands is an interesting read too.

For my co-workers Russ, Lori, Heather, Sarah, Lauren, Nick, Adam, Diane, Priscilla and Linda and my friends at Eastern and Central-this one’s for you. Your work is so important.

 

What I did this summer: Focused

I unplugged. Really. I didn’t go online except to check my email once a week all summer long. It has been so refreshing. So what did I do with my time?

I trained for a half marathon, expanded my gardens, enjoyed time with friends and family and I read. I read for pleasure and I read for professional growth. For the first time in my career, I did not write curriculum over the summer. The reason? I read Mike Schmoker’s book Focus. Mike has some clear thoughts on this topic and that thinking influenced how I spent my time.

A summary: Instead of piling on one new reform fad after another, here is a book that boils down solutions for improved schools to the most powerful, simple actions and structures that ensure you prepare all students for college, careers, and citizenship. Best-selling ASCD author Mike Schmoker explains why and how to take a “first-things-first” approach to school improvement and focus laser-like on only three essentials:

  • Coherent curriculum (what we teach).
  • Sound lessons (how we teach).
  • Purposeful reading and writing (authentic literacy).

In making his case, Schmoker delves deep into the significance of the three essentials so you get a complete understanding of what they mean to your daily practice.

This book has been a game changer for me. Upon my return to school, I learned our new Director of Curriculum will be basing our back-to-school inservice on this book. I can’t wait to participate in this discussion!

I’m still new at this…

Social networking is something I’m learning about as I go. My first post on this blog addressed sharing resources. Today I found two new resources that I have to share.

Retweeted by my (social network and real life) friend, Joyce Valenza, an image created by Kathy Schrock “Google Tools to Support Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy” How cool is this?

The second is a presentation on Social Networking at school by New Milford High School Principal, Eric Sheninger.

Best Practices in Social Media

I’ve been learning a lot about Social Media from my new social network friend, Eric. I’m still learning how teachers use these powerful tools for learning in their classrooms and thinking about how I might harness new strategies for my students. He has me thinking about how school districts and teachers use Social Media to reach their stakeholders (students, staff, parents, business and community, postsecondary). Eric’s sharing has resulted in many “around the water cooler” discussions about social media in classrooms at my school. He has also been a catalyst to discussion between teachers and administrators across buildings in our district.

Joyce, Kathy and Eric: Thank you for sharing!

I am haunted by a red T-shirt…

“What I learned in school today: How to sleep with my eyes open.”

Over the President’s Day weekend I traveled to New England for a little R&R. I was on my way home, southbound on the Northway, when I saw it.

A group of teenage boys returning from a weekend of skiing were walking out of the timber-framed rest stop as I was walking in. They all were wearing crocks and ski pants. They all had longish hair that had been color altered. They had the skier “look.”

What I can’t get out of my mind is a red T-shirt sported by one of the boys. It read (in large white lettering) “What I learned in school today: How to sleep with my eyes open.”

Ever since this chance encounter with the T-shirt boy I have been thinking about his message. When I walk through the halls of my school and see students in classrooms, sitting in rows starring forward I wonder; are they sleeping? Postures vary. Some lean forward with chin in palms. Others lean back hands in hoodie pocket (texting?). Both groups share the same stare…

Are your students sleeping?