Sunday, April 18, 2010

What we were looking at a year ago...

Green Dot Public Schools are transforming public education in Los Angeles. All these children are receiving the education they rightfully deserve be successful in college, leadership, and life. Green Dot works under three main bullet points - First, they create and operate high-achieving public schools where nearly all students graduate and go on to college. A pretty obvious step. Second, they help parents throughout the city organize to strengthen their neighborhood schools. This is where they really shine. Education is more of an urban planning/design/community concern instead of a isolated compartment of users from k-12. Schools are part of the neighborhood like they were in 50s. Third, they are pushing the Los Angeles Unified School District to move boldly to improve the city's public schools.

Instead of learning factories, Green Dot Green Dot envisions a public school system in L.A. as small, excellent schools that support teachers to teach creatively. The parents are encouraged to be involved, and help students learn everything they need to know - no matter what their background. Children learn more from their parents then they want to admit. Unfortunately, with the good comes the bad that they learn as well. Having parents acknowledge their impact on their children is a big step in improving the child's education and desire to learn.

Last November Bill and Melinda Gates gave a $335 million investment in teacher effectiveness, with major grants for experiments in tenure, evaluation, compensation, training and mentoring in three large school systems and a cluster of public charter schools.

The winners, picked from 10 applicants including Pittsburgh schools recieving $40 million and five charter networks in Los Angeles (Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, Aspire Public Schools, Green Dot Public Schools, Inner City Education Foundation and Partnerships to Uplift Communities Schools), $60 million. I would like to know what happened to the $40 m that PGH received.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ordinary Science

Fold It! Let's use the mass knowledge to figure out science instead of a few hypothesizing. I think its brilliant. Kids can also learn through their adventures.

Friday, July 17, 2009

No More Books?

Watch out LAUSD, the Governor Schwarzenegger has made the call. California high schools are to switch from traditional text books to digital media, starting with the math and science books this August. His reasoning- too much infor is available in digital format, why waste the small budget on textbooks that will just get outdated and lost. I totally agree that digital technology should be integral to teaching and LEARNING but this is not a posh green thing to do.... but we must keep in mind that(as John Thackara has said in his recent talk at LiftFrance09) do we really just want to "sustain" things or do we want to improve them? Tree Hugger put out a blog on this examining the pros and cons of paper versus online. They examined how much electricity one uses while reading online. If you read over 30 mins, they say its about the same "energy" as reading a book (energy that goes into a book that is.) The constant update and information availability and hyper texting though is a better argument towards the digitalization. Now, California is not buying every child an XO or an XO-2, but they are looking at putting the ebooks on e-readers. Are they going to buy them for the students? Student access to the ebooks beyond school is a big issue as many families do not have the means to afford a computer or the internet. Other alternatives are to distribute the information through means that the children already have, such as I pods and cellphones.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Vernacular Spectacular

So we learned about Shigeru Ban's paper architecture. Shigeru Ban studied at the Southern California Institute of Architecture. (one of my alma matters) Ban is most-famous now for his innovative work with paper and cardboard tubing as a material for building construction. He was the first architect in Japan to construct a building primarily out of paper. Paper tubing is a great material due to its low-cost, its recyclable, low-tech and replaceable nature. He is also a huge humanitarian and focuses alot of ecological architecture.
After learning about some of his work, we had a contest in the 6th grade to collect paper tubes (mainly toilet paper rolls, a very vernacular, everyday waste. ) From there, we split the class in 2 groups and with tape they kids started to build. Here's some of the photos!

Monday, June 29, 2009

marshmallows and sticks

So we learned a little about Bucky and started to build. Our materials- marshmallows and toothpicks. Here's the results: