Posts Tagged ‘Edutopia’

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Edutopia

June 6, 2021

Resources

I usually include on this blog a summer reading list so I was excited to receive this email recently from Edutopia with a list that was compiled by Marissa King, Chief of Staff, Teaching and Leading Initiative of Oklahoma. Some of these resources are in response to the past year that we all know has been a challenge. Perhaps you’ll put some of these on your summer reading list.

THE TEACHING PROFESSION

If you’re looking for a hopeful peek into the ways that immense public and administrative trust can lead to excellent schools, reach for In Teachers We Trust: The Finnish Way to World-Class Schools (2021). The book combines the perspectives of Finnish education expert Pasi Sahlberg and Timothy Walker, an American educator who moved to Finland with his family to live and teach.

Many of Sahlberg and Walker’s suggestions for building trust and making improvements are policy related, but the authors also offer insights into smaller, more practical ways. Pragmatic suggestions range from systems for transparent decision-making, to prioritizing schedule changes that give teachers shared work time, to purposeful mentorships for those new to the profession.

TAKING CARE OF OURSELVES

If the pandemic-induced changes of this school year left you battered, breathless, or teetering toward burnout, add Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times (2020) to your bookshelf. Katherine May writes about personal winters—those periods in our lives when we feel cut off, out of sorts, or unable to productively contribute to our communities. May gently guides readers to look at personal winters as a time to care for ourselves, “actively embrace sadness,” and find new practices for recovery.

Although May is a former writing teacher, she doesn’t address schools or educators directly. In fact, she acknowledges that slowing down can seem especially hard in the packed daily schedules of traditional school days. Using personal stories, May turns the traditionally gloomy topic into a hopeful handbook for self-care and recovery.

TACKLING TOUGH CLASSROOM ISSUES

If you need an inspirational reminder that educators are invaluable first responders, reach for Lisa Delpit’s latest edited collection of short essays. Each chapter of Teaching When the World Is on Fire (2019) tackles a moment of crisis or pain in which educators have had to make thoughtful choices to influence the students in their school.

This book makes the profession feel less lonely as each chapter dives into how successful educators are addressing topics ranging from hate speech to climate change to Confederate statues.

If you want to zoom out to the policy level this summer, read A Search for Common Ground: Conversations About the Toughest Questions in K–12 Education (2021). The book is a long-running series of letters between the two authors, Frederick Hess and Pedro Noguera. While the two often find themselves on opposite sides of the political spectrum, they offer a rare, compelling example of dialogue. They skillfully frame controversial issues, seek out areas of agreement, respectfully discuss disagreements, and intertwine the exchanges with bits of personal updates about managing life and children during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The chapters are labeled by issue, making it easy to cut straight to a particular topic.

THE PROMISE OF TECHNOLOGY AND THE INTERNET

If you’re ready to take a clear-eyed look at the impact of technology in your school this year, check out Justin Reich’s Failure to Disrupt: Why Technology Alone Can’t Transform Education (2020). Reich, a professor at MIT, offers a careful analysis of what schools can reasonably expect from technology, why it won’t fix inequalities, and how we should think about the technology we’re bringing into schools.

Reich’s skepticism about big, transformational claims will feel familiar to veteran educators who have taught through multiple iterations of internet-based instructional programs. Reich offers clear lists of questions to ask when new technology comes to your school, such as “What’s actually new here?”

If you’re more interested in the way that increased time on the internet shaped students (or politics) this year, pick up a copy of Mind Over Media: Propaganda Education for a Digital Age (2020). Author Renee Hobbs is on a mission to help schools tackle modern propaganda education head-on.

Mind Over Media details how propaganda influences everyday life from social media to advertising to education (and it’s not just the internet). Hobbs offers accessible explanations of the ways that propaganda wriggles into our daily consumption, why it’s especially profitable in the digital age, and how it can be used for good or evil.

For educators, Hobbs includes clear propaganda learning activities with guiding questions that range from finding fake Instagram accounts to analyzing the subtle influence of public opinion polls. Student resources (labeled as “learning activities”) aren’t course specific, which makes it easy to adapt them across the curriculum.

LEADING FOR EQUITY

If you’re ready to dive into the messy, complicated world of district decision-making, set aside some time to read Erica Turner’s Suddenly Diverse: How School Districts Manage Race and Inequality (2020). Through interviews with mostly white district officials, Turner examines how two Wisconsin school districts with different political and economic contexts responded to similar demographic changes.

Both districts relied on “color-blind managerialism” with policies like data monitoring and marketing—practices that Turner cautions against for their potential harm. At every turn, she reminds the reader why it’s important to learn from our mistakes, examine the messes we’ve made, and figure out “How do we live the reality well?”

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Teacher2Teacher

May 23, 2021

Black History Resources

Teacher2Teacher gathered resources for teachers on Black History. Below are some of those resources on relevant topics for today’s teachers. These were originally provided during Black History month but educators understand that this topic should not be limited to one part of the year only. I recommend that you have some time before clicking on the links below. You’ll be sure find plenty of ideas that will lead you to more ideas.

EDUTOPIA

  • Arts Education and African American history, a collection of resources from the Kennedy Center ArtsEdge. ArtsEdge has reorganized their digital resources and I’m sure you’ll find their data base filled with resources you can use on the topic and beyond.
  • Resources from Smithsonian Education Black History feature various collections, from “The Blues and Langston Hughes” to “Harlem Renaissance: A Reading List.” It’s a great place to let your students explore primary sources, and there is something for students of all ages.
  • The Library of Congress has lesson plans for teachers and primary sources for students to explore, including artwork, baseball cards, political cartoons, and photographs. Also be sure to check out the Library’s civil rights-themed collection.
  • PBS includes an article about the documentary film titled More Than a Month about why Black History Month should not only be one month – the coldest and shortest month of the year. The young filmmakers cross country story focuses on the four components: education, history, identity, and commercialism.
  • Scholastic provides useful resources for arts educators on African American Heritage. Arts and culture resources including the History of Jazz with Wynton Marsalis.
  • National Education Association: Integrating African-American Culture & History into Your Curriculum. Resources on and about poets including The Poet’s Voice: Langston Hughes and You.

Find more in this Edutopia article written by Matt Davis.

In this ASCD article Historical Black Excellence Provides a Blueprint for Reimagining Education you’ll find Gholdy Muhammad’s review of the reality of the inequities in the education system for black and brown children. Gholdy has been studying the history of African American education and literacy development in the U.S. from the 19th century forward. The article provides a deep look at the facts from the past that frame the what and why of today’s curriculum.

UnboundEd provides a anti-racist tool kit – a set of resources to help school communities disrupt inequity by inspiring reflections, conversations, and actions on issues of race, racism, and bias. There are several resources within the .pdf toolkit that are downloadable.

A valuable article called The Do’s and Don’ts of Teaching Black History from Learning for Justice. I find that the Learning for Justice website is very valuable to support teaching and learning.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Washington, D.C. Sergii Figurnyi – stock.adobe.com
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The Arts and Cognitive Skills

March 29, 2021

Recent research published

Some of the latest brain research supports the notion that the arts impact the neural pathways including cognitive and social skills. T. Christina Zhao and Patricia Kuhl have been studying the impact of music on babies brains. Kuhl explains in a TED Talk that music is positively impacting Executive Functions. In a video, embedded below, which was found on the Edutopia website, the research is highlighted. For school age children a study in Texas that followed 10,000 students researchers learned that students who participated in arts programs not only scored higher on writing tests but were also more engaged in school and had more compassion for fellow students, among other points. Another study showed that drawing had a positive impact on memory among other points. These reports and other research can be found in an Edutopia article at THIS LINK

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Relationships, Distance Learning, Reducing Stress

February 24, 2021

Edutopia Resources

I am continually impressed and influenced by the resources that are provided by Edutopia and encourage you to check out the recent articles that they’ve provided.

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Black History Month

February 8, 2021

Over the past two weeks I’ve been considering what to include on the blog to recognize Black History Month. I don’t want what I offer to be just for this month but something that can be for every month. Like excellent arts education should be fostered every day in every classroom, black history should be part of our everyday education. One of the questions I’ve asked myself: how do I, a white woman living in a predominantly white state, avoid common errors that white people make when attempting to provide educational resources that support and recognize black and brown people? I’ve been reading many books and articles, checking websites and listening to podcasts to help open my mind, help me better understand, and move out of my comfort zone. I’ve stopped bashing myself over the head about ‘getting it’ and moved to realizing that I need to be patient with myself because the unlearning necessary will take time and its most likely not a place I’ll reach – my learning will be ongoing.

So, what can I offer you at this time and share with you, the Maine Arts Ed blog readers? Some of the educational resources that I access regularly and some of what I’ve read recently. Places I turn to that pushes on my thinking, sometimes making me uncomfortable. I invite you to share what you’ve been learning by commenting at the bottom of this blog post or by emailing me at meartsed@gmail.com.

Credit: Black History-Shenandoah University

PODCASTS

  • Leading Equity – Sheldon L. Eakins, Ph.D. is an accomplished K-12 educator and administrator and provides the podcast. He has taught at the elementary, middle, and high school levels during his career in the states of Florida, Louisiana and in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands.  Dr. Eakins also served several years as a school principal in the states of Louisiana and Oregon. His most recent podcast was an interview with Stephanie Gates and is called How to Combat Colorism in the Classroom with Ms. Stephanie Gates. Dr. Eakins faces challenging topics head on and helps us move to a helicopter view as well as down in the weeds.
  • The Cult of Pedagogy – Jennifer Gonzalez is the Editor in Chief and works with a group of thoughtful and knowledgeable individuals to provide the podcast. Jennifer taught middle school language arts in the D.C. area and in Kentucky. She provides the podcast to support teachers through a community approach. The Cult of Pedagogy website includes an overview of podcasts by category. I suggest that you go to the category called ‘Hot Topics’. Jennifer interviewed Dr. Sheldon Eakins for one called Why White Students Need Multicultural and Social Justice Education. You’ll see a variety of ‘hot topics’ there including one called Talking about Race in School: An Interview with Jose Vilson.

RESOURCES ONLINE

  • Americans Who Tell the TruthMaine artist, Rob Shetterly’s portraits and narratives highlight citizens who courageously address issues of social, environmental, and economic fairness. Paintings of ‘truth tellers’, their stories, and what they stood and still stand for. The paintings communicate all by themselves.
  • Natasha Mayers – Activist artist from Maine and one of Rob Shetterly’s portraits. See film trailer, an Un-Still Life created by Maine film makers Anita Clearfield and Geoffrey Leighton. Website will include many resources in the near future. (blog post later this week with film premiere info)
  • Edutopia – Teaching Black History in Culturally Responsive Ways written by Rann Miller. In this article Rann discusses how Black History is American history, and it should be taught throughout the year across the curriculum—not confined to a single month.
  • Learning for Justice recently changed their name from Teaching Tolerance. Learning for Justice seeks to uphold the mission of the Southern Poverty Law Center: to be a catalyst for racial justice in the South and beyond, working in partnership with communities to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements and advance the human rights of all people. Visit their site to sign up for their weekly emails and access many free resources for K-high school including downloadable posters that will inspire teachers and learners. They also publish a magazine, this springs edition White Supremacy in Education.
Learn more at https://www.learningforjustice.org/magazine/black-lives-matter-week-of-action.
  • The Art of Education PodcastsCelebrating Black History Month through Art, 17 Black Artists to Know, 5 Black Female Artists You (and Your Students!) Should Know, Where Does Black History Month Stand in the Art room?, 4 Artists that Show Black Lives Matter.
  • Anti-Racism Daily – Since June 3, the Anti-Racism Daily has been sending one email a day pairing current events with historical context and personal reflections on how racism persists in the U.S. (and around the world). You can subscribe and receive an email daily or the weekly archive. The daily information is provided at no cost and was created by Nicole Cardoza. You can subscribe on the website.
  • Teaching for Change – Their website helps connect to real world issues and encourage students and teachers to question and re-think the world inside and outside their classrooms, build a more equitable, multicultural society, and become active global citizens.
  • Inspired Teaching – They provide innovative professional learning programs and help teachers build their practice to engage their students as empathetic, critical thinkers. They have several programs and resources that you can access on their website.
  • Indigo Arts Alliance – Portland, ME and cultivating the artistic development of people of African descent. Mission: to build global connections by bringing together Black and Brown artists from diverse backgrounds to engage in their creative process with an opportunity to serve as both mentors and mentees. An integral aspect of the Indigo vision is to provide Maine based artists of African descent access to a broader range of practicing artists of color from around the world. Website.
  • Holocaust and Human Rights Center – Augusta, ME. One of the educational resources that they have available on their website is called Decision Making in Times of Injustice. A presentation filled with facts to help support educators in their teaching of the injustices in the world.
Located in Montgomery, Alabama

BOOKS

  • Black Like Me written by John Howard Griffin was written over 60 years ago. Griffin embarked on an experiment. He darkened his white skin to become black and traveled through the south, from New Orleans to Atlanta. He wrote the book to share his stories traveling as a ‘black man’ which ended up selling ten million copies and became a modern classic. I was able to purchase a used copy and I was mesmerized. “Black Like Me disabused the idea that minorities were acting out of paranoia,” says Gerald Early, a black scholar at Washington University and editor of Lure and Loathing: Essays on Race, Identity, and the Ambivalence of Assimilation. There was this idea that black people said certain things about racism, and one rather expected them to say these things. Griffin revealed that what they were saying was true. It took someone from outside coming in to do that. And what he went through gave the book a remarkable sincerity.” READ MORE about the book in a Smithsonian Magazine article from 2011.
  • Waking Up White: and Finding Myself in the Story of Race written by Debby Irving. The author tells her true story growing up in a somewhat sheltered upper middle class suburban childhood in Winchester, Massachusetts. Her career focuses on working in nearby Boston in performance art and community based non-profits where she learned that her best efforts were actually doing more harm than good. Her persistence provided lessons along the way and a racial understanding and her white privilege revealed her past.
  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption written by Bryan Stevenson. A true story (made into a movie) about the inequities in the justice system. Just out of law school Mr. Stevenson moved to Alabama and established the Equal Justice Initiative. He represented the poorest and most marginalized people in the country: those suffering from excessive or unfair sentences, or facing the death penalty. The stories of the people he represented provides a clear picture of the inequities. In addition to writing this book Bryan Stevenson and a small group of lawyers spent years immersing themselves in archives and county libraries to document thousands of lynchings. From their research a sculpture was created called the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and installed in Montgomery, Alabama. It is the nation’s first memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved Black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence.

In addition to the resources included above on June 8, 2020 I created a blog post called Social Justice Resources that includes nearly 50 links to a plethora of resources. Included are books for young children, middle school, and young adults along with many other resources.

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How Learning Happens

October 14, 2020

Edutopia and social emotional learning

Edutopia tackles the challenges of social emotional learning by providing several videos on a variety of topics that are beneficial to educators, parents, and organizations who provide learning opportunities for learners. In this video series, they explore how educators can guide all students, regardless of their developmental starting points, to become productive and engaged learners. Below are just a few – you can find many more on the section of the Edutopia website called How Learning Happens.

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The Ways of Our World

September 17, 2020

Rapid changes

I don’t know about you but ideas continue to fly into my email box on how best to do “school” at this time. I trust and value some resources more than others, sometimes depending on the source. Edutopia from the George Lucas Educational Foundation provides thought provoking and action packed articles, many times written by practicing educators. When I see that, it’s a 5 Star resource. Below are links to articles sent by Edutopia that contain valuable teaching strategies. Most of them include addressing the social and emotional learning needs of students. Even though not all are not specific to arts education they can be adapted and I hope you find at least one useful. You can sign up to receive Edutopia emails by going to their website.

  • Teaching Drama in Distance Learning written by Shana Bestock. Shana provides tips for transferring practices to virtual spaces, how to dig deeper with students, create community, and reminds us that how in uncertain times the arts helps us embrace uncertainty and foster resilience.

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Creating Online Community

August 27, 2020

Upper Elementary and Middle School virtual classrooms

Start off the year by combining creativity and a willingness to utilize technology for the advantage of getting to know your learners and you’ll be creating a classroom culture that will serve you well throughout the year. If you’re starting the year virtually these ideas from an Edutopia article written by Susan Yergler should serve you well. We all know that unlike in March when we were forced to go remote overnight starting this year with new students provides a different challenge. Below are the authors suggestions for students in grades 3-8 to feel a sense of belonging. Use these activities during the first several weeks of class – short and meaningful to help create the culture.

ICEBREAKERS

  • Share a drawing or an object that represents their personality or interests. As you move around your virtual classroom from student to student, they will hold their item or drawing offscreen while the rest of us try to remember.
  • Students complete one-pagers or a Frayer Square on themselves on a shared Google Slides deck and then present to the class.
  • Include favorite pastimes such as Hangman, interviewing partners in breakout rooms
  • Flipgrid introductions
  • Students enjoy a round of thumbs up/down with slide shows of foods, sports, and other images. Instead of (or in addition to) the “two truths and a lie” game, try “two objects and a lie.” That calls for students to show two objects that belong to them and one that doesn’t. After completing these activities, a fun way to cement these impressions is by playing a Kahoot! or Quizizz game about the members of your class

CREATING CLASSROOM RUL.ES AND EXPECTATIONS 

  • Collaborating on a list of classroom rules. Ask them how they envision the virtual classroom that supports their individual learning and the community.
  • Consider using a plus-delta chart, so that students can indicate what worked well in remote learning in the spring and what they would like to change this school year. You can use a digital idea-sharing platform such as Mural or Google Jamboard to collaborate. The list of rules and expectations will can be displayed on the class’s virtual classroom wall or resource page.

CREATE CLASS TRADITIONS

  • Establishing classroom traditions can happen online similarly to what happens in a classroom space. Depending on your class size perhaps a bell-ringer or a short journal-writing assignment or a song, dance or art making exercise. Students can be assigned different roles in the tradition you’re establishing.
  • At the end of a class there can be an exit question like what kind of food you like that most people don’t? Or who is your superhero power? Or have the students brainstorm a list of them and you pick one for each class ending.

COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS

  • Service learning projects bring students together with the opportunity for them to focus on their strengths.
  • Solving a community problem – perhaps collecting food to donate to the local food bank. They still exist and food is needed more than ever.
  • Creating art together by each contributing a photograph or a line of a song. These can be publish in a Google Slide format as a book or digital notebook. Each can contribute to a script and then perform it collaboratively online.

FORGING INDIVIDUAL CONNECTIONS 

  • This is probably the most difficult component of online learning – how to get to know your students individually. Individual conferences on zoom or by google meet.
  • Emailing each one or sending individual videos for them to respond to.
  • Good old fashion phone calls make the connection unique.
  • Responding to their work individually in Google classroom can mean the world to them.

We know that the disconnect existed before with so many people communicating online and not face to face. The pandemic has exaggerated that. Continue trying ideas in a variety of formats for learner. You can make a difference!

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Assessment in the COVID-19 Environment

April 24, 2020

Reflecting

I’m sure many of you are at the point of reflecting and questioning what you’re doing in the ‘schooling away from school’ environment that we’ve all been thrown into. Recently during a conversation with a colleague he shared how frustrated he was with how few students were actually engaging and fulfilling the assignments. “When we took away the grading of student work they lost their sense of purpose.” I keep reflecting on the conversation. I wonder about how many high school students do the work (when we’re in the school building) only or primarily for the grade? This wondering has lead me to many questions. For one, didn’t we go to Proficiency Based Education to ensure that students fulfill the learning requirements? So we could actually know that students had learned and more importantly so students could articulate what they were learning? This was the part that shifted education from what teachers teach being the most important part of the equation to what students learn.

I understand why many schools have gone to no grades during the pandemic – I’m not questioning or debating if that is right or wrong. Let’s face it teaching ‘online’ isn’t new and students are held responsible to document and fulfill their school work. I do think that as this continues it is important for teachers at the local level to have the conversation about how to assess student work. Let’s remember that assessment has two purposes – one to determine if students are learning AND for teachers to determine if their teaching is effective.

The critical question is how to assess in our ‘schooling away from school’? Not so the grade can raise the students GPA but to determine if students are learning and teachers are teaching.

Andrew Miller, Director of Personalized Learning at the Singapore American School has authored an article for Edutopia called Formative Assessment in Distance Learning. I’m hoping you’ll find it as informative as I have and perhaps you’ll take something from it that you can put into practice during the rest of this school year or in the future. If nothing else please share it with your colleagues so it can plants seeds for a staff conversation.

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Transforming a School Through Arts Integration

December 11, 2019

Edutopia

“The arts provide an access point for everyone,” Caitlin Gordon, a Maya Lin third grade teacher, told Schwartz. “I think it allows children to learn about how the process of something is just as important, if not more important, than the product. I think it just really helps create more of that well-balanced, critical-thinking person that we want for our future.”

Educators and parents alike at the Maya Lin Elementary in Alameda, California believe wholeheartedly in their approach to education with arts integration. They were at risk of closing not long ago and it was the transformation of the school with arts integration that has made all the difference.

You can READ THE ARTICLE written by Laura Lee and published by Edutopia on November 8, 2019.

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