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CWI’s 2018 Institutes on Place Based Service-Learning and Sustainability —Los Angeles and Burlington, Vermont

Join K-16 and community educators, from across the U.S. and international schools, for a week of expert training, and inspiring curriculum design work. A unique opportunity to dig deep into service-learning and sustainability and how to use it most effectively with your students. This is your opportunity to move your classroom curriculum or school program to the next level. learn more

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English Learners Building Language and Belonging through Folk Arts Education

By LUCINDA MEGILL LEGENDRE, JANICE PREVAIL, KRISTIN M. LARSEN, AMY BRUECK, and LINDA DEAFENBAUGH

Folk Arts Building Language and Belonging

Schools and educational programs intentionally designed to support the academic, linguistic, cultural, and social-emotional needs of newcomer English Learners (ELs) are rare. Even rarer are schools and programs that interweave folk arts into the educational program for newcomer ELs. Folk Arts–Cultural Treasures Charter School (FACTS) in Philadelphia’s Chinatown strives to do both. FACTS was founded in 2005 by Asian Americans United and the Philadelphia Folklore Project to provide “equity and justice for Asian American students and immigrant and refugee students of all races in the public schools; for public investment and public space in the under- served Chinatown community; and for public schooling that engages children as active participants in working for a just society” (“Who We Are Statement” 2011, 1). This vision continues to drive FACTS’s mission today.

FACTS was founded not to undermine the public school system, but to serve as a model of innovation to inspire change in the education system. By positioning ELs and immigrant and refugee students and families at the center of its school mission and design, the school provides an exemplary education for ELs and creates a model of transformative education for all students. Continue reading

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Children of Shangri-Lost

By MAUREEN K. PORTER and SUSAN A. DAWKINS

We are a group of youth in Pittsburgh who want to show the world that despite being displaced and sometimes forgotten, we have not forgotten who we are and what we have to offer the world.

Our story is one of survival and of hope. We may be the Children of Shangri-Lost, but we have found ourselves in our new homes around the world. — Children of Shangri-Lost

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is home to approximately 5,000 Bhutanese refugees who are building thriving community of newcomers. In our “City of Bridges,” young Bhutanese have purposefully created a website and a community organization, which the welcome above proudly introduces, that have great potential to introduce different communities and cultural traditions. The website is only the most visible face of a much larger set of cultural endeavors. Young adults in Pittsburgh’s Bhutanese immigrant community share their dynamic, evolving folklife through Children of Shangri-Lost (COSL), a nonprofit organization. Together, COSL members curate an impressive set of social media projects and promote public forums that celebrate their traditional forms of cultural expression. They reach out to their new neighbors and proactively approach writing new narratives of where they have come from and who they are becoming. These resources can provide educators a dynamic model of ways that others can appreciate and incorporate lessons from their difficult journey toward full participation in the United States.

Continue reading

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Intentional Teaching, Against the Odds

By STUART GRAUER

Dr. Stuart Grauer is a teacher, the founding Head of School at The Grauer School, and Founder of The Small Schools Coalition.

“When we are born, we cry that we are come To this great stage of fools.” (King Lear, Act 4 Scene 6)

No sooner had our plane lifted off, on our expedition to London, thinking we might escape the apocalyptic news cycle for a few days and then return home fresh, back to a fresh year on the quad, the sparkle of the English literature seminar, the springy movement of teens on the green …

No sooner had we arrived in London then did Erin Langen, our theatre teacher, foist upon us all in the guise of Shakespearean wit and inspiration, at the Olde Globe theater, open air and much as it was first performed in 1608:

Original 1608 Olde Globe Playbill for “King Lear”

“King Lear,” miserable tragedy of betrayal and hopelessness that we can only hope to act our way out of. Thick tale of a humorless man getting old, making terrible judgments in a world where almost everyone but a kind daughter and a loyal minister, who both die wretchedly, will exploit him mercilessly and relentlessly — did I mention, for over three hours?

A professor at University of Warwick has published a paper called, “King Lear and the Collapse of Civilisation.” All this, in three plus hours of olde English rattled out across the fabled yard — the Olde Globe on the south bank of the River Thames.

So, we’re here in London with 18 students, preparing for the week’s finale, the performance of “The Tragedy…”. I haven’t been to England in over 30 years, but everything looks to me to be about the same — except the faces. Continue reading

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CommonLore—Building Empathy One Student at a Time

CommonLore—We’re Building Empathy One Student at a Time, by connecting students to the people of their communities. learn more: commonlore.org

CommonLore is a powerful place based service-learning and ethnography focused training and support program for K-16 educators. We begin with the belief that we must increase the “commons” in our communities—spaces for dialogue, understanding, empathy, and authentic compassion. Our initial teacher pilot projects are in Los Angeles and Vermont, along with other locations around the U.S. CommonLore provides teachers in local schools with training, inspiration, and hands-on peer collaboration. Our goal is to create and support student driven inquiry projects that bring local communities together. CommonLore projects begin with larger questions. Who makes up our community? What are our stories? How do our stories define us? Why are stories about ourselves and our community so important? Which stories lead to human growth, resilience, and justice? Where should we begin? Find out how we can support your own local work.
contact us  call: 909.480.3966

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Democracy in Action: Social Justice Oriented Service-Learning

Casey O’Meara is a public school teacher in Middlebury Vermont.

Middlebury College students protest Vermont gas pipeline.

Millennials are innovating new ways to problem solve, through their desire to collaborate and communicate using technology (Burstein, 2013). If Millennials are not engaged in designing new ways to approach societal issues, traditional civic systems in America will be decreasingly valued.

A commitment to serve, through social justice service-learning, can develop a civic mindedness and encourage Millennials to participate in America’s democratic process. A generation noted for its sense of entitlement and self-centeredness (Twenge, 2006), Millennials must regularly participate in service in their communities and develop imaginative solutions to societal dilemmas. Through social justice oriented service-learning, students engage in issues of personal and local importance, taking an active role in their communities and influencing the formal democratic systems they seem to disregard.

Higher Education has a moral duty to formally engage its student body in civic learning. Not just theory but literally finding ways to change their worlds and, thus, the world.

Continue reading

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Scholarships are Now: Place Based Service-Learning for K-16

Register NOW for CWI 2018 Institutes with SCHOLARSHIP Supported Rates. Place Based Service-Learning for K-16. learn more: cwinstitute.net

Posted in Curriculum Development, Elementary Education, Environmental Education, Ethnography, Higher Education, International Schools, LA River, Place Based Education, Professional Development, School/Community Gardens, Service-Learning, Social Justice, Sustainability, Teaching, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Stone Wall Project: A Reflection on Hands-On Learning and Immovable Objects

by MARTINA DANCING

EDITORS NOTE: The Stone Wall Project at Guilford Central School in Vermont was part of a long term effort to create and demonstrate the effect and power of hands-on place based
service-learning experiences — for both students and faculty.

School faculty began the project during the second of four local designed and run K-8 Institutes on Service-Learning. Students and community participants finished the wall as a community building effort when school resumed in the fall.

Martina Dancing and Joe Brooks, director of Guilford’s Institutes worked closely with local craftsman Smokey Fuller to find local stone donations and create a working space during the Institute for teachers to learn and participate in stone wall building.

While some teachers were a bit tentative about their own ability in the beginning, everyone quickly dove into the art of building this wall. The clearest evidence of that was how difficult it soon became to get teachers to come inside for their next workshop on curriculum design.

As teachers we may come to realize that our interests and values, our PASSIONS become a critical part of our ability to function as good teachers, parents and community members. My experience in planning and guiding a hands-on learning experience for classroom, specialist, and administrative educators, at The Guilford Summer Institute suggests how this fits for me. Continue reading

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One-Room School Houses: A Living History Curriculum Unit

This article is from our Journal archives and is one of our top reads ever. Kathy and Dale designed and carried out this unit as members of the primary teaching team at The Guilford School in Vermont. Dale began planning a study of Guilford’s one-room schoolhouses at the first of a series of Summer Institutes held at Guilford School. Kathy also worked that summer with a group of teachers and community members planning garden projects at the school. Near the beginning of the school year they made the decision to work together with their students on the one-room school unit, which they reprised and improved over the years.

The Beginnings
Our interest and study of One Room Schools went back to Guilford’s Summer Institute. During the summer we had worked at the Institute with a team of community members and school staff to develop projects that would bring together the twin strategies of service learning and community inquiry. We created a planning document and used that to help guide our way. We were also seeking to use our local resources to bring the school and community closer together. We saw the study of one-room schools as a way to do this, while honoring our senior population, most of whom attended one-room schools. For those who did, it was a formative experience, significantly different from today’s more centralized school system.

The Green River School, circa 1909

Continue reading

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A Student’s Conversation with a Ninth Generation Vermont Farmer

By ERIC HEIKKILA

An interview by Eric Heikkila, 8th grade student. This was originally published in The Guilford Gazette, a long running student produced community newspaper in rural Vermont. We are republishing it now as an excellent example of an oral history project. Learn more about student projects like this.

The first look you get at Bob Gaines you know he has worked hard all his life. I recently interviewed him and found out a lot about him and his work on the Gaines farm today. He believes he has seen a lot of change, in the way we live, in farming, and in the school system. He went to Slate Rock School in Guilford on Route 5 (before it was paved!), where there were about 25 students in his class — although he said the number varied throughout the year. During the fall and spring there weren’t many in attendance because they were at home helping with chores. In the winter many children came because there was nothing else to do. At the time there were about 9 or 10 schools in Guilford all from grades 1 through 8. In the morning the teacher would work with grades 1, 2, and 3 until 10:00, then they were allowed to go outside, while the teacher worked with the older grades. The smaller kids came in at noon and had lessons until 2:00 when they went home. The older kids stayed longer and received more help after 2:00. Continue reading

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One-Room School Houses: A Living History Curriculum Unit

By DALE MORSE and KATHY LAPAN

The Little Red Brick School in Guilford Center a drawing by Bud Henry

This article is from our Journal archives and is one of our top reads ever. Kathy and Dale designed and carried out this unit as members of the primary teaching team at The Guilford School in Vermont. Dale began planning a study of Guilford’s one-room schoolhouses at the first of a series of Summer Institutes held at Guilford School. Kathy also worked that summer with a group of teachers and community members planning garden projects at the school. Near the beginning of the school year they made the decision to work together with their students on the one-room school unit, which they reprised and improved over the years.

The Beginnings
Our interest and study of One Room Schools went back to Guilford’s Summer Institute. During the summer we had worked at the Institute with a team of community members and school staff to develop projects that would bring together the twin strategies of service learning and community inquiry. We created a planning document and used that to help guide our way. We were also seeking to use our local resources to bring the school and community closer together. We saw the study of one-room schools as a way to do this, while honoring our senior population, most of whom attended one-room schools. For those who did, it was a formative experience, significantly different from today’s more centralized school system. Continue reading

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