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Call for Creative Educators!

Do YOU BELIEVE in US?? Then we need YOU at Building 21! Building 21 is now hiring for Fall 2015! Are you a creative teacher who is passionate about learning and wants to rethink what is possible in high school -- or do you know someone who is?  Then Building 21 may be [...]

By |2015-02-18T20:35:24-05:00February 18th, 2015|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Π Day Epiphanies

On 3.14 this year, I sent an email to the team wishing everyone a Happy Pi Day. For fun, I threw in a little brain teaser: what other day of the year could stand in and serve as Pi Day and why? I’m so glad I chose to do that. What a delight! I didn't [...]

By |2014-06-02T20:47:32-04:00June 2nd, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Competency-Based Grading

We recently revisited the question, "Why competency-based education?" as a way to step back from our work. As Chip puts it, "Nothing is sacred." We believe that what we are doing transcends any model or method. They are just vehicles to realize our vision. Currently, I am neck deep in the process of envisioning a [...]

By |2017-04-06T00:05:01-04:00May 22nd, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Learning Through Doing: Grammar

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 [...]

By |2014-03-06T02:59:16-05:00March 6th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Using Design Thinking in Education

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 [...]

By |2014-02-21T23:09:37-05:00February 21st, 2014|Uncategorized|1 Comment

A Vote of Confidence and an Awesome Responsibility

  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.     [...]

By |2014-02-21T23:06:48-05:00February 21st, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Design Thinking Toolkit

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 [...]

By |2014-02-04T17:00:38-05:00February 4th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Learning to Perform in the World

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 [...]

By |2014-02-03T17:58:02-05:00February 3rd, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

What do we actually NEED from education?

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 [...]

By |2017-04-06T00:05:01-04:00January 15th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments