Featured Post

The Street: World Music

What it is: I am currently working on a fun project for Starrmatica tagging and organizing websites and resources.  One of the resources that was new to me is The Street: World Music.  This is a neat interactive learning journey from BBC radio where students can learn about other countries and cultures through music.  The Street features five families from five different countries including India, Ireland, Brazil, Turkey, and Nigeria.  In each house students can learn more about the country, instruments, musicians, religion, and food from the country.  Students have plenty of opportunities to listen to the music. How to integrate The Street: World Music into your curriculum: Music is a neat way to introduce students to other cultures.  It allows an inside look into the culture by sharing the sounds of the culture.  What I like about The Street, is the way the music is introduced along side religion, food, and information about the country.  This site gives students a wonderful overview of five countries where they can not only read about the differences, but they can see the differences (through photos) and hear the differences (through music).  The Street is a great site to introduce into any classroom, music teachers will appreciate the look at the instruments and musicians of the country.  As an extension activity, have your students create their own “house” for The Street. This can be done offline with paper and a collection of music, photos, and information.  Alternatively use a website builder like Weebly or Wix or a Wiki to collect the information in an online space.  Students can choose a country to learn more about or create a house for their own country, thinking about what is important to their culture.  Want to extend the activity even more?  Connect with teachers from different countries and have the students learn about different cultures together.  Use Skype or Wetoku to connect the classes and play music from each culture.  Create a wiki together to collect and  share information learned. Tips: If you are looking for teachers to collaborate  with, use and search the #glolab hash tag to connect. Please leave a comment and share how you are using The Street: World Music 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

*