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Meet Me at Midnight

What it is: As I said yesterday, the Smithsonian is a wealth of outstanding online activities and interactives.  Meet Me at Midnight is an interactive adventure/comic book that takes place in the Smithsonian Art Museum.  Through this fun mystery adventure, students are introduced to American art and Artists from the Smithsonian collection.  Students are taken on adventures as they explore each item in the Root Monster’s treasure chest.  The coyote teaches about sculpture, the headless horseman about landscape, and the ballerina about light.  As students go through the adventures they will pick up art terminology.  Each story takes place in five galleries: media, technique, design, purpose, and culture.   Students will play art games and puzzles to find clues about where the artwork in the treasure chest should be returned to. How to integrate Meet Me at Midnight into the classroom: Meet Me at Midnight is a fantastic interactive game for third to fifth grade students.  The reading throughout the interactive is appropriate for 8-11 year old readers.  To me, Meet Me at Midnight feels like a fun graphic novel/comic book adventure that students can interact in.  The interactive takes time to get all the way through, once students get to certain points in the interactive, they can stop and get a code that they can plug in the next time they visit the site.  They will pick up right where they left off.   Meet Me at Midnight is a good way to pique students interest in art.  There is a lot of good learning embedded in the games and puzzles.  Because there is so much reading on this site, it would make a good reading center/thinking activity on classroom computers.  Meet Me at Midnight is really best played individually in a computer lab setting, but I think students would also enjoy playing together in a whole class setting using a projector-connected computer or interactive whiteboard. If your class takes a field trip to your local art museum, this site is a must visit prior to the field trip.  It will give students common language about what they see at the museum and students can complete the accompanying Kids Activity guide.  If a field trip to the art museum is out of the question, use this site as part of a virtual field trip experience for your students. Tips: Are you taking your family on a trip to the art museum this summer; start your art adventure by visiting Meet Me at Midnight! Please leave a comment and share how you are using Meet Me at Midnight in your classroom.

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Shocking! The real purpose of your life! or What are we preparing for?

Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, education reform, inspiration, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, video | Posted on 26-11-2012

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Today @lancefinkbeiner shared this video with me.  It is too good not to share!  Now…how to make this the reality of what learning is really about in schools.  I can’t tell you how often in education that the answer for why something is done is, “we are preparing kids for…”  For example, we give 3 hours of homework to elementary students because we are “preparing them for middle school.”   In middle school we give additional homework and weekly tests because we are “preparing them for high school.”  High school has it’s own set of ridiculous standards in preparation for college.

My question: when are we preparing kids for life?  When are we preparing them to engage in the world around them?  When are we preparing them for healthy relationships with others?  When are we preparing them to ask good questions and seek answers?  When are we preparing them for what to do with failure?

The problem for preparing kids for the next system they will encounter is that the next system isn’t really the goal.  That goal is this imaginary place we call “success” and “perfection”.  Neither exist.  How do we prepare kids to live honest, meaningful lives?  THAT is what I am interested in preparing for.

Comments (4)

Aren’t we *always* preparing kids to live honest, meaningful lives? I find your question a bit strange, I admit. Your preamble implies that kids require formal education (school) to learn to live honest, meaningful lives. I don’t think this is the case today, nor has it ever been. Kids need to learn many things outside of school. The best way to teach your kids to lead an honest, meaningful life, is to live one yourself -its amazing what kids will pick up from their surroundings. Formal education and life-lessons shouldn’t be conflated

Dave, this can be the trouble with a blog post…all of the nuances of thought can’t be wrapped up neatly in a few words. Judging by your comment here, my guess is that you don’t follow my work regularly. Sometimes I make the mistake of assuming that my readers know my background and previous thoughts that bleed into this one.
In answer to your comment: I don’t know that I agree that we are always intentionally preparing kids to live honest meaningful lives. I think that assigning hours of homework to an elementary student, for example, doesn’t lead to honesty (in learning for the pleasure of learning) or for working toward a meaningful life. I’m actually not saying that kids require formal school to learn to live honest, meaningful lives. In fact, quite the opposite. I believe that kids can learn this in spite of their formal schooling. What I am suggesting is that schools should stop telling kids that the purpose of learning is for the next institution of learning. What I am suggesting here is that learning (in schools) look more like life. I would agree, the best way to teach a child to live an honest and meaningful life is by modeling that ourselves. The question I pose to you: How is that possible in a system that leads children to believe that the purpose of learning is to prepare them for the next system? I started a school, http://anastasisacademy.com, to free up teachers to lead by example and to give students the freedom to explore what it means to live and honest, meaningful life.

I thoroughly agree with the video AND this post! Children aren’t able to learn and enjoy school anymore because they are bombarded with testing. State testing, this and that testing. It’s ridiculous. This is also having a negative affect on teachers because they cannot TEACH what they want, and they cannot really enjoy the career. We should reevaluate how our education system is working. Too many people graduate with Bachelor’s degrees that are useless. This needs to change! Great post!

I think it’s quite true that schools have to prepare children not only for next grade or level but also to prepare them for life and job skills that require worldwide awareness, collaboration, communication, problem solving…etc. Some people call those skills “The 21st century skills”.

Testing is not the olny way to assess students success at school. Teachers are using different tools such as daily observation of pair and group work. I am sure that there are many projects running worldwide are concerned about enhancing students’ life skills.

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