Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Juicy studies

Let Kids Rule the School, the latest NYTimes Op Ed piece by Susan Engel says it all!  When several public high school students had a chance to devise their own curriculum they explored questions like: “Are the plant cells at the bottom of a nearby mountain different than those at the top of the mountain?” and “Why we do we cry?”  These prompted inquiry, critique and passion for the learning journey.

Parker faculty recently worked with author Matt Glover on how to inspire the most energy for writing in students.  Choice and relevancy (to the students!) were the topmost criteria for them to fully engage and become motivated.  This does make sense.  Don't we all appreciate the ability to choose?

When students are given juicy assignments or challenges, high expectations, and some autonomy - they really shine.  I see evidence of this everywhere I look at Parker.

I see it in cartoons showing understanding of Newton's Laws and Rube Goldberg constructions that demonstrate the same principals.  I saw it in the real joy in performing at the Poetry Slam.

Read Susan's article and see if you don't agree that kids can run the school (with a little support!) and come hear Susan at the Panel Discussion on March 23.

Concentrated observation, sharing home-grown crystals, receiving hand-decorated tee shirts from Jambo Jipya buddies in Kenya.

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