Over the course of many years, I have worked with colleagues to lead innovative changes in education. From creating new programs, to implementing existing programs, I look to find ways to connect learners to the world around them and to themselves.
C.L.A.S.S. brings together students of varying ages each year to:
recognize an injustice in our world,
learn about affected communities,
create relationships with them, and
serve them with action and awareness-building.
Not only does C.L.A.S.S. provide leadership for others, but it also promotes personal growth in its members and sustains its work by teaching others how to lead themselves.
C.L.A.S.S. in the news!
Knowledge can not create understanding alone. Forming the bridge between knowledge and understanding is the key to learning. That bridge is created by authentic applications of the knowledge to real-life experiences whose value to the student extends beyond the classroom walls. I have come to understand that the success of learning is dependent on my personal ownership for fostering meaningful, positive learning experiences for myself and those in my care. Without accepted meaning, transformative learning does not happen. Mindfulness and mindset practices build that possibility.
Learning must be open, active, inclusive, emotionally supportive...and transformative. The Six Commitments of my classroom support a transformative learning experience and are the mental framework for my classroom.
What is our connection to the environment in which we live? That is the question that I and my teaching partner look at with our students each year. In order to examine this question, we have designed an environmental education curriculum with carefully scaffolded lessons spanning all disciplines and culminating in a service project that serves not only the school, but the local community as well. Through this in-depth, transdisciplinary approach, students are engaged in reading, writing, art, music, dance, math, science, and social studies, with integrated technology all within an overarching of Wisconsin’s trees. This program features projects that require students to interact and engage in their community, sparking excitement and investigation while fostering an ethic of service.
This two-year program helps children develop an appreciation for real, wholesome food and an understanding of sustainable food practices. In the garden or greenhouse, students learn first-hand how to plant, grow, harvest and sustain an organic food system. In the classroom, we use that produce to create healthy and tasty meals for ourselves, the school and our families.
Based on the idea that people will follow their interests with greater enthusiasm than other areas of study, Genius Hour is a program that allows students to research topics that spark their interest. A guided research program, my Genius Hour has built-in benchmarks and is scaffolded to meet the needs of various learners. From animal training (yes, with a live rat!) to building a bench for a desk; from product design to invention and testing, I use whatever technologies my students require in order to achieve their goals.
What would you create with an hour every week?
Genius Hour in the news!