GUERILLA EDUCATORS IS DEDICATED TO REALTIME EDUCATIONAL BEST PRACTICES IN ACTION. WE ARE A GLOBAL LEADER IN THE DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION OF EFFECTIVE PROJECT BASED LEARNING ON THE FRONTLINES IN AND OUT OF CLASSROOMS. WE ALSO CONNECT EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES PLANNERS WITH THE TEACHERS/LEARNERS WHO USE THOSE SPACES.
Just sent a heads up about a new site created by Curtis Cook that assists educators with their lesson plans called Search PlanIt. Could be a great resource for teachers. It will be interesting to see how the site fares and how it will be used.
This video demonstrates a wide range of positive academic and civic benefits for students who participate in water monitoring Service Learning projects. The video is a compilation of Service Learning projects in 3rd and 4th grades at Harrity Elementary an inner city school in Philadelphia and at GreenWoods a Philly public charter school. Take a look...
The charter school students conducted macrobiotic studies on a nearby stream and the inner city school students did chemical testing. In both cases, test results were sent electronically to the Philadelphia Water Department as part of their ongoing efforts to maintain water quality. It is clear that these students are engaged, doing important work as citizens, and are achieving mastery of curricular requirements in a very powerful, effective way.
This video gives a sweet overview of The Barack Obama Green Charter High School, located in Plainfield, New Jersey. ObamaGreen opened their doors in September, '10. Guerilla Educators is honored to have played a part in ObamaGreen receiving their charter and now delivering world-class education in a safe, nurturing environment. Take a look...
Congratulations to David Schrader and his team at SchraderGroup Architecture. SchraderGroup's new design of the Yorkshire Elementary School, located in York, PA, earned a 2011 Citation of Excellnce from Learning By Design. Guerilla Educators is proud to have had a small part of this very successful design outcome particularly at the beginning of the process when David Schrader led a 2 day design charrette that included representatives from the York Suburban School District Administrators, Yorkshire Elementary School Teachers, and, of course, students. The videos, below, authentically capture the charrette in realtime. The program begins with Presenters setting the framework and establishing touchstones to help keep the actual design process on track and focused on a successful outcome. Take a look...
The next video begins with a view of the Yorkshire Elementary School site as it was prior to SchraderGroup Architecture's award winning re-design of the physical facility. It continues with the actual design ideas being developed by the charrette participants including critical input by students. This is how effective teaching and learning spaces are developed.
The final video of this series documenting how award winning teaching and learning spaces are designed shows Day 2 of the Yorkshire Elementary School Design Charrette and includes presentations of the participants design ideas. It is clear throughout the process that student input was both valued and incorporated into the final plan. Again, congratulation, David, on a job very well done!
This from the Learning By Design Magazine's Spring 2011 Edition ...
Yorkshire Elementary School of York, PA, impressed the judges on many levels. “It’s just extremely well-rounded. The exterior design is good architecture, and a lot of good thought has gone into the interior,” said the judges. “Everywhere you look, there’s a lot of good detail.”
The 60,835-square-foot building designed by SCHRADERGROUP Architecture LLC of Philadelphia, PA, serves up to 375 students in kindergarten through second grade. Two major goals included supporting the school’s cross-grade instruction format through spaces designed to allow for interaction, and using the building as a teaching tool. The project also is pursuing LEED Gold certification.
The judges particularly commended the site plan for this project, including the way it breaks down the massing and strives to make every classroom a “corner classroom” with two exposures. “That’s not easy,” they said. The building features a “main street” that runs between shared spaces on one side and academic spaces on the other. The media center functions as the core of the school.
The judges commented on the extensive use of transparency and of graphics throughout the interior, including large, colorful letters. They commented, too, on the careful selection of colors and finishes. Among the instructive building elements are exposed mechanical systems, a detention pond with wetland plantings, and the use of materials salvaged from the school that was replaced. Overall, they said, this is a “very thoroughly thought-through project.”
Arrived in beautiful downtown Savannah for the 2011 CEFPI Southeast Region Conference. Presenting Monday morning on the topic, "Connecting Students, Teachers, and Curriculum Via Project Based Learning". This year 5 themes will guide the event:
Here is how the themes will be related to my topic:
*Collaborate - Educational Facilities Planners/Designers/Architects can demonstrate that their design processes, when used in collaboration with educators and students will have powerful circular ramifications on more effective school design and more effective teaching and learning.
*Educate - The session will educate the participants about what we believe to be a vastly under-utilized asset, i.e. how physical teaching and learning spaces are powerful resources for effective teaching and learning.
*Facilitate - Understanding the participatory and Community Based power of Project Based Learning will facilitate more effective design.
*Participate - There is a tremendous feeling of satisfaction for Educational Facilities Planners that comes with knowing that they are participating in the whole education of the students who are their end clients. This process encourages school architects to establish real-world, in-class Community Partnerships with their clients and see the positive effects their participation engenders.
*Invigorate - Imagine students coming into teaching and learning spaces excited about being there because of active hands-on Projects in which they are about to participate. Imagine educators and educational facilities planners being active participants in those Projects. Imagine more effective educational facilities design as a result of the school architect as teacher/learner. This is what the session will address.
Connecting School Design to Students, Teachers and Curriculum Via Project Based Learning
Our Course Description is as follows:
Just as Project Based Learning is the gold standard of effective teaching and learning, school design is one of the gold standards of PBL. This session will explore how Educational Facilities Design processes can be used as a powerful resource in the educator's pedagogical toolkit. Through the prism of our Hallmarks of Effective Teaching and Learning, we will learn how Educational Facilities Planners can become real world Community Partners for curriculum-based Projects that use the physical facility as a 5 dimensional (including Real-Time and Cyber-Space) teaching and learning tool. Once we understand the premise that the educational facility can be a catalyst for the development of academic and social proficiencies, regardless of demographics and even independent of whether the spaces have been designed effectively, then Educational Facilities Planners can begin to see the positive effects of these “inside out” understandings on the bottom line. In the session, we will use authentic short videos of real students conducting real projects in and out of real classrooms with real school architects, to demonstrate these processes and to show how they may be incorporated into your Planning. Plenty of time will be built in for discussion so Planners, Designers, and Architects can walk away with a deeper understanding of what takes place inside the physical teaching and learning spaces they create.
I recently had the privilege of participating in a webinar conducted by Mark Sidding, RIBA, an architect from Watson Batty Architects in Leeds, UK. Mark shares an innovative school project, the Dearne Advanced Learning Centre, below. He covers three key principles: the impact of physical space on learning, changing the way that learning is delivered, and infusing technology into flexible environments for multiple learning modalities. The project is now complete and is undergoing a rigorous assessment to determine its success. Mark shares lessons learned from this project. The presentation was hosted by Cefpi Michigan Chapter and 21st Century School Design.
Jon Rolle, 3rd grade Teacher at Friendship Southeast Elementary Academy Charter School, has been named the Washington DC Teacher of the Year by the DC State Board of Education. Mr. Rolle teaches an all boys class. This is the 2nd consecutive year that a Friendship Charter School Teacher has earned this pretigious award. Guerilla Educators is privileged to assist Friendship Charter Schools with Professional Developments for teachers and implementation of Project Based Learning in, and out of, classrooms. Congratulations, Jon!
Being of a certain age, I remember the when unions were proud, necessary organizations that really had the workers' best interests at heart. I believe that unions are as much responsible for the creation and rise of the American middle class, of which I am a part, as any entity in American history. As an educator, I've seen how collective bargaining improved working conditions for teachers and helped protect them from innocent mistakes or the whims of arbitrary administrators. Therefore, I take no joy in stating that the current state of the collective bargaining process from the union side, particularly in the public sector has become bloated, corrupt, top heavy and not in the overall best interests of the country, the membership, and certainly not the student. Not when the Governor of New York, who must lay off 1,500 educators can't trim from the rolls the hundreds of incompetent (or worse) teachers sitting in "rubber rooms" sometimes for years because of "Last In, First Out" rules. Not when public sector unions in major cities donate hundreds of millions to get lawmakers elected and then sit down with those same politicians when it's time to "negotiate". Not when Detroit is closing half its schools and increasing class size to pay for benefits and the teachers union there is intransigent. Not when school districts write glowing recommendations for bad teachers so they can pawn them off on other unsuspecting school districts because, by union rules, it is virtually impossible to remove them from the classroom. Not when the new PA Convention Center additions have just opened in Downtown Philadelphia to accommodate larger groups but prospective clients are reluctant to reserve there because they have to negotiate with 6 different unions to do things like clients using their own laptop if it is used to register participants. I take no joy in saying that collective bargaining has become the problem, not the solution in flashpoint states like Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana where the citizens have pushed back. Two good articles ilustrate my point. This, from the Wall Street Journal and here from Journalist Kyle Olson about Teacher Tenure. I still think that unions are a necessary counterbalance to look out for the interests of their membership, however the frameworks of the negotiating process will need to be altered in order for unions to survive.