Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back to school comics - Calvin and Mafalda

Sad but true - how the other half live, the bigger half unfortunately!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Great computer games - Ayiti: The Cost of Life

Not an incredibly intricate or information heavy game designed by the Global Kids Playing 4 Keeps Program right here in Brooklyn. The strength of the game is that it introduces children to the horrible situation in Haiti and very simply drives home the message that in some unfortunate circumstances, hard work and education are sadly not enough. Some people are in situations where help is direly needed and - for at least a while, until they can get back on their feet - international help and attention is the only way to return a family to normalcy.

Play Ayiti here and let me know what you think!

"The reality for most people living in Haiti (especially true after the earthquake) is that it is extremely hard to survive in Haiti. I don't think they want to be completely fatalistic, but this is teaching a very important message; hard work does not automatically translate into success in Haiti. My students clearly learned this from the game." Educator Cliff Lee on Educators Using Ayiti

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

L'equip petit - Playing for fun

Makes me think of my days as MS Soccer coach at Charlotte Prep. First season we went 0-10! These guys really get it, it takes a lot of great people around you to create this, and I'm happy for them. Thanks Greg at World Soccer Project for sharing the link with me. Enjoy the big team!

l'equip petit from el cangrejo on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

**11** Teachers who made history

Great list of 10 incredibly influential teachers throughout history from

Love the list, but would obviously have to say that on a true top ten teacher list - c'è Maria Montessori!

Charged with improving the learning situation for 60 needy students in the Roman slums, Montessori created a transformational methodology that continues to improve the education of children worldwide. What she learned and shared through simple child observation is being proven again and again in research studies and classrooms today. A true genius and educator of students and teachers, Montessori taught us all to respect and empower the child. Her advice "One test of the correctness of educational procedure is the happiness of the child." could help ed-reformers get back on the right track today.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Yinhatil Nab'en Conference

Just returned from a two-week trip to San Mateo, Ixtatan, in the northwest Guatemalan highlands. Visited the Yinhatil Nab'en (Seeds of Wisdom) School as part of the Ixtatan Foundation.

I was there for a conference about turning the project into a world-class school that can transform the community in positive ways. This is the school today.

Its tough to summarize the issues that have high potential for growth at the school. Most of the issues are those typically involved in education development in rural and indigenous settings. As the school grows over the next 5 years and finds its way in the mountains, its definitely worth noting and applauding that the project, founded by Beth Neville-Evans, has transformed secondary education in San Mateo and the at-large Chuj community. By building this school and association from nothing, the Ixtatán Foundation has changed the lives of this, and every new generation of Mateanos. The creation of opportunity and choice that comes with the school and its projects is truly transformational.

The Yinhatil Nab'en School is a great school that has weathered even greater storms. The people that are involved, both in the US (the Ixtatan Foundation is based in Charlottesville) and in San Mateo are talented and working incredibly hard to take the school and the foundation forward. The fact that the potential for growth is being identified and that the conference brought together such an impressive slew of educators (ahem, even I was there) points to the school and project's imminent growth.

For c'è montessori, aside from continuing to support the School and students that I worked with while I was in San Mateo in 2007, plans for a Primary Montessori 3-5 classroom are underway! In the next couple years, c'è montessori ixtatán will begin to serve a community that has never experienced pre-k school. It will transform primary education and allow young moms (there are many in San Mateo) to finish school while their children are being educated and cared for. The development of the program will be available for all to see on this blog, our youtube channel and elsewhere soon!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Montessori Moment Day 2 - Surfer

Yesterday at Rockaway Beach in Brooklyn. This persistent first-time surfer watched and listened as his dad taught him how he rides a wave. The next four hours, he figured he'd learn how to ride some of his own. I didn't catch his best surf - he was really good, but I did catch him riding one of his first waves. No better prepared environment than this! His dad was a great guide, showing him twice and then letting him go.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Montessori Moment Day 1 - The Pianist

The combination of the decor at the back of the Manhattan Inn and the music by the pianist make for a great launch to the 30 day challenge. My friend Chaz launching a new mobile technology last night called 'brouha' tied for the win, just didn't remember to take the video of his launch speech.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

30 Days of Montessori Moments

Matt Cutts suggests at TED 2011 to try something new for 30 days a la Morgan Spurlock AKA Supersize Me McDonald's guy. Well, not exactly a la Morgan Spurlock, hopefully something that will bring some positive growth along with it. This is his TED talk:

Next 30 days mine is :
Photo/Video + caption of most Montessori (independent + creative + innovative in this case) moment of day posted on this blog. Chance of success - 65%

Let me explain - it should be somebody doing something to solve a problem they're having or accomplish some kind of goal independently without following specific instructions or examples. You'll see a great example of this tomorrow (hopefully).

Send me Montessori Moments/Pictures if you capture them! Or any other good ideas? I'm also going to see what our students come up with for their 30 days and share...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

10-step Montessori Workplan

1. The Monday morning meeting begins, children excitedly joining their tables and advisory groups coming together to discuss the past weekend and coming week. Today, the meeting begins and one of the students has a movie review to share, she went to see Mr. Popper's Penguins on Saturday.

2. The advisor shares announcements and schedule changes, forewarns of events in the coming week that will have a bearing on how the students will be able to schedule their time. She also reminds students of longer or less-structured commitments, understanding that for students new to managing their work this aspect will be the most challenging.

3. During the past week, students and teachers have written short notes of thanks or toodles about specific behavior from their classmates that affected them or the environment in a positive way. Some students like their toodles read aloud, some prefer the private note to read themselves.

4. The workplan is handed out to those students that have chosen that their obligations be weekly. The workplan has room for lessons and projects and already includes commitments that are ongoing and repeat weekly such as Aleks math practice, keeping up with daily news, reading comprehension SRA, Rosetta Stone, etc.

5. There were take-home commitments from three of the seven students this week, so the advisor collects the promised work. The work done at home is acknowledged, but recopied into the coming week's workplan, it is not finished until its quality is ensured by the appropriate teacher.

6. The advisor and student leaders of the group have kept close tabs of work and ideas from all the members. Ongoing discussions have transformed those ideas into long term individual projects they are each working on. Interesting advances regarding those are discussed and the projects are re-entered into the new workplan.

7. The lessons for the week are mapped out and penciled into the workplan. The advisor lets the group know when the lesson will be delivered or how to access the lesson if it is material-based or digital. Follow-up obligations engendered from the lessons are also made clear and included in the workplan.

8. Student workplan adaptations now take place, transforming their workplans into a schedule that makes sense for them. These include color-coding by priority, including date and time they would like to complete a lesson, writing who they would like to finish the lesson with, prioritizing 1st to last, and many others. Student adaptations can also include students asking to be included in lessons scheduled for classmates, this can happen at the Monday meeting or any time during the week.

9. The advisor and student leaders confer shortly with all the members of the group, ensuring that everyone understands their obligations. Because follow-up assignments from lessons are created to judge mastery, there are often myriad options that cannot be fully discussed at the Monday advisory meetings and will need to be made clear during that particular lesson.

10. The Monday meeting breaks, the students eager to begin tackling their favorite assignments during the morning work time. There will be a student run advisory meeting on Wednesday to check on everyone's progress and make sure all members complete their workplan by the end of the week.

Monday Meeting

1. Student share

2. Announcements and schedule changes

3. Toodles

4. Weekly repeating commitments

5. Take-home commitments collected

6. Long-term individual projects

7. Lessons and follow-ups

8. Student adaptations

9. Review and close

10. Student meeting Wednesday

Monday, July 25, 2011

IB - Montessori part 2 - Peace

"Averting war is the work of politicians; establishing peace is the work of education." Maria Montessori

People that follow the work and life of Maria Montessori and the evolution of Montessori education closely have little need for a reminder of the strong connection between her work in schools and her ideal of peace.  Montessori's life and work on 'Peace Education' was engendered by two world wars, work in the slums of Rome, her exile from Italy by Mussolini, the Spanish Civil War and her work at UNESCO and as a UN ambassador.  

At Waterfront Montessori our Primary and Lower Elementary programs set a strong foundation for an understanding of the world and its peoples.  The Lower Elementary student knows peace and the world through mapwork, studying fundamental human needs, and an emphasis on human togetherness.  

The Middle School IB curriculum gives us an opportunity to abstract peace and human relations and cement the concept of peace.  As our students develop into abstract thinkers and continue to challenge subtleties and disconnections between what we say and do, questions invariably arise.  

Why do we fight?
Why does inequality exist?
Why are people sometimes cruel to each other?
What can we do about it?

Even an average IB curriculum is a strong peace education ally because of its focus on internationality and plurality of thought.  By focusing on economics, political geography in context and especially on understanding the mind and motivation of the other, our IB Middle School program asks all the right questions to develop that Early School Montessori foundation.

Open-mindedness is one of the IB learner profiles that we aim to develop in our understanding of peace and human relations.  In our curriculum, we explore iterations of a key question that informs the relationships we have with our classmates, peers and neighbors:

How do our experiences help determine our opinions and who we become?

We can extrapolate that question into the realm of international affairs and peace among nations and peoples.  The most important lesson however, is that the different experiences we've had yesterday will inform our actions and opinions today.  That we are not fundamentally different but have lived different circumstances and that what brings us together is much more powerful than what separates us.  

Our Montessori-IB students develop that question and answer every day.  The strong peace connection of the philosophies make them experts in the field and leaders of Peace Education.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

IB - Montessori part I - Questions

We know from experience and Montessori's work that the driving force in our classrooms are not the adults standing in front of them, but the questions that develop in the child's mind.  The role of the teacher in the Montessori classroom is that of a guide, and that of a storyteller.  Through the five great lessons and countless stories we set the stage for a universe of human reality and wonder for the child to begin exploring.  Their questions will ultimately create their understanding of those lessons and of our universe, as well as provide their focus going forward.

The Montessori classroom is able to create an environment that prolongs the interactions that infants and toddlers have naturally with their parents, friends and surroundings.  Interactions where the toddlers are innately curious and voracious in their exploration. 
  • What is this?
  • What does this do?
  • Why is this here?
  • Where does this come from?
  • Why are we going there?
The child's curiosity is insatiable.  Not only verbal, but also - as any parent will eagerly chime in - completely sensorial.  The child touches everything, tastes everything, listens to everything, smells everything and attempts to transform everything in this exploration.  By taking advantage of this instead of suppressing it, the Primary and Elementary Montessori curriculum is second to none. 

We chose to create an International Baccalaureate Middle School because the program is founded on asking powerful questions.  The difference in the two philosophies is that in the Montessori tradition our questions are not explicit or necessarily shared. Taking advantage of our MS students moving into a decidedly more social plane of development, we understand that discovery and exploration is not only private and self-driven but has also become a shared peer experience.  In our Middle School curriculum we share questions and ideas, we still let the child drive his learning by asking questions, but we now make their questions explicit and available to their classmates.  We tell stories and expand on the great lessons and use student curiosity to develop our curriculum.

We are driven by questions instead of content:

  • What is order? What is chaos? Instead of Ancient Greece.
  • What is a number? Instead of base ten number systems.
  • What is an ideal community? Instead of The Giver.
  • When is it good to be wrong? Instead of the Scientific Method.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Montessori and the International Baccalaureate

A match made in heaven!  And explored in our Montessori - IB Middle School as well as countless others.  The connection - Look at the center!

Part 1 of this magical relationship next!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Prove it! - Dr. Stephen Hughes Part 1

There is so much to say about this Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology turned mega Montessori advocate that I needed to make it a multi-part series.  Although it comes as no surprise after years in a Montessori classroom that a pediatric neuropsychologist has become a champion of the Montessori method, it certainly is reassuring to have Dr. Stephen Hughes on board.  His website is a fantastic resource (it's about Montessori kids and it's called 'goodatdoingthings'!) and his talks are required listening for Montessorians. 

In this first introduction I wanted to highlight his insistence on making the value behind a Montessori education more evident to education scholars and parents.  For far too long, Montessori education has held on to a sort of niche status and niche audience and it is time for the offer to become more widespread.  Dr. Hughes calls upon Montessori schools to prove it in a variety of ways.  Keeping alumni records is crucially important (the Montessori Mafia after all, is no fluke), portfolios are key (we use, and some kind of standardized testing that does not involve preparing the students for the actual test can be helpful in making worthwhile comparisons. 

Montessori philosophy and curriculum often focuses on the internal and implicit.  We know that the drive to learn, explore and achieve is inside every one of our students.  Dr. Stephen Hughes highlights that this classroom (teacher) habit has to change when communicating with the outside world about Montessori education.  Our schools need to work at making our incredible achievements explicit, obvious and statistically significant.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Montessori Records Express (MRX)

Just talked to Dave Rabkin of Montessori Records Express (MRX).  Hundreds of Montessori classrooms all over the country make their curricula available to the Montessori community in this collaborative project to be able to accurately plan and report the amazing things that happen within the Montessori classroom.  Sequences for every area of study are documented, tracked for every student, and available to parents, administrators and teachers within seconds.  It truly decreases teacher workload by about 50% almost immediately and is a much more accurate and up to date way to keep track of our kids' progress.

An amazing planning tool for teachers (I can instantly check which one of my students needs a lesson and which ones have mastered a concept and are ready to give the lessons).  We love MRX because it gives the curriculum a little more formality and continuity.  It makes end of year meetings about where particular students are in particular areas run much more smoothly.  And it lets us share the work we've done with schools around the country.  Much like blogging, MRX is an incredible way to share with fellow progressive educators and Montessorians. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

World Peace - Our Humanities curriculum

Just discovered this idea worth spreading from great friend and Ixtatan foundation director Beth Neville.  Super Teacher John Hunter in Virginia has developed an application to the 'World Game' or World Peace Game that allows kids to take control of four completely distinct fictional nations as well as international institutions that broker deals between them.  In true Montessori style, he turned the reins of his 4th grade classroom over to the kids and was rightfully blown away by the results.  In the game, students must bring peace and welfare to the world by solving 50 interwoven, real and complex issues.  Global warming, extreme poverty, child soldiers, disease outbreak, you name it, they're solving it.  His TED talk is definitely worth a listen.  You can tell by the passion in his voice that on top of being an innovator and entrepreneur John is a fantastic teacher.  

Now the World Game idea itself was developed 50 years ago by Buckminster Fuller in 1961.  He writes in the preamble to his Planning Document:

All those who have attained high scholarly capability assure us that real education is self-education. They also say that this self-disciplining is most often inspired by great teachers who make it seem apparent that it will be excitingly worthwhile to take the trouble to bring one self to apprehend and then comprehend variously pertinent data, phenomena and derived principles. The intimate manuscript records of many great self-educated individuals show that they discern intuitively when and what it is that they want to learn.

The truth is that 4th grade kids could probably solve a lot more problems than traditional schools usually give them credit for.  We are definitely playing the World Peace game in our Upper Elementary classroom next year.

A movie has also been made about the John and the game.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Montessori Mafia - Continued

The Post Oak school close to Houston, TX has an amazing school website to explore.  Check it out as you refine your own and explore different concepts in Montessori education. 

Among the coolest features is this interactive image of some of the outstanding members of the WSJ coined 'Montessori Mafia'.  Click the image to go to Post Oak's website and learn about what each of these great people have to say about the impact of Montessori education on their careers and legacy.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Running = Memory

There was another research study today in a New York Times blog showing the specific connection between physical exercise and brain memory.  The article focuses somewhat on the 'aging' brain, but the findings are good news for our young brains as well.  When our kids work out and play active, physical games in the morning, they are uniquely ready for the academic day. Learning after we work out, and staying physically active in general does wonders for our brain development and retention.

For Upper Elementary and Middle School aged students, its fundamental.  The changes we've observed after adding physical exercise routines to our mornings this year have been wonderful.  Our students are more focused, less antsy and happier overall. The Spark program we love so much goes a step further in their approach to Physical Education and changes it from goals scored to heart rate achieved.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Montessori Mafia

Surely you've read the article and seen these mafiosi around.  The Wall Street Journal article summarizes what we in the Montessori community have already taken as commonplace.  Our kids are more creative because we don't school the creative right out of them!  Nothing magical happens in the classroom itself, the only thing that makes the environment and philosophy seem wonderful and magic is the child itself.  Unleashing his own potential and creativity by exploring his passions.

The comments section of the article is especially interesting, please go comment yourself.  I will just include one comment and his link on this blogpost today.  I include this one because we believe so strongly that Montessori education is and should always be for everyone.

Nice article.
To those who think Montessori is an educational method for the “affluent”, I strongly reject that notion. There are over 400 public Montessori schools in the US and more are coming. One is opening in the South Bronx in September and another one is trying to get approved in Oakland, C. Their charter was recently denied not because of its educational approach, which was praised, but for other community reason that were somewhat vague.

See my article, “Superwoman Was Already Here


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Elaine Ng Friis: How to Find a Good Montessori Kindergarten?

Elaine Ng Friis: How to Find a Good Montessori Kindergarten?: "This post writes specifically on how to find a good Montessori kindergarten, but it can be applied to finding a good non-Montessori kindergarten as well..."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Our physics curriculum - modeling

I could list the myriad advantages of a Modeling-based Physics class over a traditional one, but one central advantage is enough for me: kids look forward to watching experiments and love experimenting on their own!

The link above takes you to a list of resources on modeling - here's the basic gist.

The Model Experiment

1. You begin the lab with a pre-lab discussion.  You show the students the basic components of the experiment and they hypothesize what will happen and what will effect the outcome of the experiment.  It is important to note and incorporate every idea that is suggested since these will be the best tools the kids have to imagine new experiments.

2. Run the actual experiment.  Document, analyze, combine, synthesize - carry out whatever the experiment demands.

3. Discussion - What did we learn from the experiment, what ideas from our pre-lab discussion proved true, what ideas proved to be false and what ideas should we continue to explore?


The Student Experiment

1. Form groups that will ultimately explore the same issue which the model experiment explores.  Have students brainstorm and come up with some experiments of their own, focusing on what concepts they are testing in each experiment.  The teacher's role at this stage is to constantly question the assumptions of the students to increase the scope of the experiment.  The idea is for the teacher to act as a guide to content and concepts that the students could be exploring - and make that available to them - without telling them what to think or what specifically to explore.

2. The students run their own experiments.  The experiments should explore something conceptually similar to the model experiment in different ways that the students imagine could be interesting.  The students will share their experiments and results with the rest of the class in a discussion on what has been learned during this unit.

3. The students can then be asked to solve real world problems using the concepts and content that they've explored during the modeled experiment and their own.  This ensures both that they've learned the material and that they could apply the material to something useful to them going forward.

Lab reports and memorization of the periodic table haven't gotten us very far as recent testing by the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) has shown.

Modeling actually works. Its better at helping students retain concepts, it creates a faster pace and dynamic lab classroom, and...our kids are excited about physics!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The power of being wrong - Laufenberg

More hints and encouragement on how to fail excitedly, successfully and constructively!  This TED talk by Diana Laufenberg is truly amazing and inspirational.  Our traditional schools have stunted our kids' creative growth for so long by focusing on the correct methods and answers to questions that many young students have forgotten how to think and explore.  Showing incredible foresight, observation and keen child development analysis (as always) Maria Montessori made sure to define the role of the teacher as unobtrusive guide for students to use during their path towards discovery. 

Teachers... put down your red pens...slowly step away from your students...

ps. More on infographics (the other topic of her talk) later...  We love them!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


For you homeschooling families out there and progressive education enthusiasts that are disenchanted by the often empty pomp and circumstance of an Ivy League degree. Zero Tuition College offers an interesting alternative to taking out huge loans and throwing down piles of cash for something you're not entirely convinced of.

Don't get me wrong, I disagree with the author of the article that states that higher education is the next big bubble to burst.  Worldwide, we have not even begin to feel the economic impact of increased access to secondary and tertiary education.  I do think, however, that some college options are not real options at all, and some college degrees are not worth the paper they're printed on.  Zero Tuition College is an alternative that follows the theoretical/technological path of the Khan Academy and the self-driven/independence path paved by Maria Montessori (among others). 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Great computer games - iCivics

Middle School students love to play computer games
+ we love it when they learn enthusiastically about government and civic responsibility
= playing

Playing good games is an incredible way to learn.  Great games are leveled, sequenced, users can control their learning and they can usually play at their own pace.  The score part is somewhat disagreeable but on the whole they can be amazing learning experiences.

Check out iCivics and their Democracy Lab as you plan your study of American Government and civic responsibility! They have really engaging games that both explain the three branches of American Government and show young users how they can participate in their communities. 

More game recommendations to follow...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Spark a Difference

It has been proven time and time again that exercise at school is a key ingredient to happy, healthy, smart students.  Including exercise and playtime in our curriculum models a healthy, active lifestyle that will be an incredible asset for kids their whole lives.  Also, there is volumes of research that link the movement of our bodies to the optimal functioning of our brains.  Education neuroscience (that's a link to Brain Rules by the way, which is an awesome resource) suggests that spending time on the gym or field is often the best way to boost student academic performance during the day. 

In Montessori classrooms our students move constantly from shelf to rug to exploring their environment.  We take it even a step further as our students grow and begin to slowly favor a more sedentary academic environment.  We begin every day at school working out in our gym.  We play games, challenge ourselves to see how long and fast we can run, train in circuits and mostly ask our students to design a physical morning that they'll enjoy.  The only requirement is keeping the heart rate up and everyone happily participating!

Highlighting the importance of this in our schools all over the country, Spark has developed a program that focuses on getting PE back into our Public Schools.  Furthermore, as Spark points out, not all PE classes are created equal.  Far too many have students waiting around for a turn, memorizing googleable facts (our kids don't need to regurgitate how tall a basketball hoop is) or otherwise wasting their time.  The key, according to Spark is a high healthy heart rate and committed happy kids. 

We couldn't agree more!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Our Math Lessons

Since we use Aleks as well as Montessori materials to strengthen our students' knowledge of fundamentals, we are able to spend our Math lessons in school focusing on the really important and creative aspects of math.

Quote from our Math teacher:

What must be really boring to a lot of kids is that in math, unlike most other subjects, it pretty much never happens that a student asks a question and the teacher says "we don't really know the answer to that yet," or "different people have different opinions about that; we're not sure who's right." Any science class, by comparison, is full of unanswered questions, to say nothing of English and social studies.  What's the fun of getting into a subject where everyone's already figured everything out? But if kids saw that there are still these very basic questions that no one's answered yet, that's the sort of thing that could be really make people want to be mathematicians.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Letting our kids be wrong - Wile E. Coyote

It is not how often we are right, but how frequently we dare to challenge ourselves and perhaps be wrong that makes it possible to allow true creativity to remain alive and well in our classrooms. 

Kathryn Schulz shares an outstanding and really funny analogy in a TED talk about the power of being wrong.  She makes the fine but essential distinction between 'being wrong' and 'realizing you are wrong'.  To illustrate this difference she takes her audience back to a familiar scene from the 'Road Runner' cartoons.  Wile E. Coyote chasing the Road Runner off a cliff, close to catching him, runs quite securely through the air until he looks down and realizes the trouble he's gotten himself into. 

Our young students are given the opportunity to be wrong without punishment, so that they are able to boldly explore the unfamiliar and arrive to actual discovery.  Wile E. Coyote unfortunately was mentally unable to reflect on his failed experiments, so he was only able to accomplish half of what we can... on the positive side though, even his precipitous failures were unable to stop him from pursuing his delicious goal!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Creativity Unleashed - Aleks

As we allow our students the independence and environment required to follow whatever passion they imagine, we realize that strong fundamentals make every intellectual enterprise more enjoyable and easy to accomplish.  Technological resources have been incredible allies, helping us keep track of our students' progress through math content.

One specific ally has been Aleks, (Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces) a web-based math tool that records progress, teaches through online lessons, and provides comprehensive data on where our students are in the math curriculum.  It is an incredible tool that schools, parents and tutors should check out for their students. 

By ensuring our students are constantly progressing in their math facts and strengthening their fundamentals, Aleks allows us to use our instruction time to do what we're ultimately interested in doing with our math program.  Enjoying, exploring, and allowing our students to discover their own world of mathematics, their own solutions to the questions that arise from observing numbers, problems and  patterns in the world.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Flip the classroom

Imagine a school-day with no tedious whole group lessons. 
Imagine a work cycle where students spend their time manipulating and transforming ideas. 
Imagine learning and cementing concepts through experience instead of hearing and forgetting them through disinterest.

Salman Khan's work at the Khan Academy - Flipping the classroom by assigning the lectures for homework and doing actual work during the school day.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Thing kids do when we let them - Build a model of the White House

An article by Julie Scelfo for the New York Times describes the benefits of woodworking at the kindergarten level.  This group of Brooklyn students takes carpentry to a whole new level.  Using appropriate caution, the exercise shows the amazing power of young students and allows Kinder students to use their hands to orchestrate their learning.  As evidence continues to pour in on how crucial our hands are in our intellectual and social development, the Montessori classroom becomes an even more obvious leader of new 21st century schools. 

A Montessori Classroom at Home

Visit the LivingMontessoriNow blog and check out how to set up your very own Montessori classroom at home.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Overheard in the classroom

This one is actually from that Ken Robinson TED talk below
Between young student and teacher,

-What are you drawing?
-I am drawing a picture of God
-But nobody knows what God looks like...
-Well they will in a minute!