Learning Through Doing: Grammar

By |2014-03-06T02:59:16+00:00March 6th, 2014|Learning model, Uncategorized|

The Wrong Way to Teach Grammar Boston Public Library/Wikimedia Commons This recent piece in The Atlantic makes a compelling case for interest-based learning. Instead of forcing students to master a set of mundane grammatical rules before getting to the "fun" part of writing about things they are interested in, we should throw them [...]

Using Design Thinking in Education

By |2014-02-21T23:09:37+00:00February 21st, 2014|School design, Uncategorized|

If I had to pick a video that explains in an approximate way what we're seeking to do at Building 21 in partnership with the School District of Philadelphia, this would be it. I enjoyed the entire sixteen and three-quarter minutes of it and was especially fond of Studio H's 6 Design Directives which can be [...]

Competency vs. Mastery vs. Proficiency

By |2014-02-21T23:08:24+00:00February 21st, 2014|Uncategorized|

I am knee deep in the competency world and have read everything I can find about how to define this work.  Is it Competency-based education, or Mastery-based Education or Proficiency-based Education?  All of these terms are being used interchangeably, but do they really mean the same thing?  I don’t think that they do. Here is [...]

A Vote of Confidence and an Awesome Responsibility

By |2014-02-21T23:06:48+00:00February 21st, 2014|Community, Uncategorized|

  Tonight, Resolution A-11 authorizing the opening of the first Building 21 high school was unanimously approved by the School Reform Commission of the School District of Philadelphia.  We appreciate this vote of confidence as well as all of the support we have received from individuals at every level of the School District.     [...]

Design Thinking Toolkit

By |2014-02-04T17:00:38+00:00February 4th, 2014|School design, Uncategorized|

We're currently engaged in a design process as outlined by the Design Thinking for Educators Toolkit. This is a terrific resource that explains a process for design in very clear, concise and accessible terms. There are 5 stages of the process (see image from p.15 below): Discover, Interpretation, Ideation, Experimentation and Evolution. The toolkit is [...]

Learning to Perform in the World

By |2014-02-03T17:58:02+00:00February 3rd, 2014|Learning model, Uncategorized|

This is an extremely thought-provoking blog entry from Grant Wiggins (one of the authors of Understanding By Design) that questions much of the conventional wisdom underlying curriculum design in schools.  I particularly appreciated the following questions: If curriculum is a tour through what is known, how is knowledge ever advanced? If learning requires a didactic [...]

What do we actually NEED from education?

By |2017-04-06T00:05:01+00:00January 15th, 2014|Learning model, Uncategorized|

Progress and Proficiency: Redesigning Grading for Competency Education  by: Chris Sturgis Pretty decent paper on traditional grading systems vs. competency grading. It quotes The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined by Salman Khan quite a bit. My critique is this focus on gaps in knowledge. People seem to be so concerned with gaps in knowledge. Here [...]

Promising research on mindfulness in urban schools.

By |2017-04-06T00:05:01+00:00January 14th, 2014|Research and analysis, Uncategorized|

Meditation transforms roughest San Francisco schools From the article: "The research is showing big effects on students' performance," says Superintendent Carranza. "Our new accountability standards, which we're developing in tandem with the other big California districts, emphasize the importance of social-emotional factors in improving kids' lives, not just academics. A good way to describe learning [...]