Featured Post

The Road to the Capitol

What it is: The Road to the Capitol has to be one of the coolest sites I have seen to help kids understand government and the campaign and election process.  Students are immediately greeted by a newspaper headline “Congressman Retires: who will represent the US on Capitol Hill?”.  Students are then taken to a TV ad of one of the candidates running for congress, Roberta Glass.  Roberta thinks that kids have too much freedom and should be banned from freely accessing media like movies, TV, video games, and the computer.  Students are offered the opportunity to run against Roberta Glass in the election.  Students must register as a candidate in the election and are then introduced to their campaign manager.  Students make 5 campaign stops in their local congressional district.  At each stop, it is their job to help citizens understand the importance of protecting freedom.  Students can stop at campaign headquarters at any time to get briefed for each campaign event.  At the Campaign Headquarters, students click on important topics to get briefed on such as: Justice and Equality, Rights to Privacy, Freedom of Assembly, Freedom of Expression, and Freedom of Religion.  When students choose a topic, they are taken to subtopics that lead them to rich resources where they can delve deeper into the topic and learning.  Along the campaign trail, students have to make their own commercial, give a speech, talk to students about the freedom of expression, answer questions in a press conference, and debate Roberta Glass head to head.  I can’t stress enough what an awesome interactive site this is.  Every webquest should involve kids in the story and process the way this one does! How to integrate The Road to the Capitol into the classroom: This is an incredible self-guided learning experience.  Students will learn about our democratic system in depth by completing this activity.  The Road to the Capitol is really best experienced by individual students in a computer lab setting where they have plenty of time to research and complete each stop along the campaign trail.  If you don’t have access to a computer lab, the activity could be completed as a whole class using an interactive whiteboard or projector connected computer.  To make The Road to the Capitol a more in-depth project, have students take campaign notes along the way in a word processing program.  They can later sum up what they learned and recorded in their notes by copying the notes and pasting them into a word cloud program like Wordle.  Students could create short campaign commercials based on the commercial they created in the game.  These can be recorded with PhotoBooth on a Mac or with a video camera.  Students could also create a campaign poster using a word processing or publishing program. At the beginning of this interactive, you will see the campaign commercial of Roberta Glass.  The commercial talks about taking away kids freedoms, I imagine that some passionate discussion about the commercial could follow. Tips: Really, go check out this website.  You won’t be disappointed!  Press the “Stop” button on the game to get the teacher/parent pdf guide. Please leave a comment and share how you are using The Road to the Capitol in your classroom.

Read More

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

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4


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.

Write a comment

*