We had such a wonderful time welcoming Uganda and Japan into Unity today as part of the National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools Global Dimensions Pathway. All ages from kindergarten through grade eight started preparing a few weeks ahead with the help of their families and art teacher by creating their National Hand Print, featuring one country from their heritage. The wall of hands was displayed at the entrance of the World Culture Day Plaza and heralded the students in where they posed for their passport photo taken by our 8th grade photographer and then headed onto the customs bureau to receive their personalized passports and get stamped for Uganda and Japan.
Educational standards are changing in many ways. Whether it’s the new core curriculum standards NJ schools will have to implement, or the use of technology in classrooms, multiple changes are coming down the pike for Unity Charter School as well as public schools in general. This was driven home to me by an exchange with my child. The other day, I urged her to write one of her summer journal entries longhand. You know, the old fashioned way with pencil and paper. She resisted: she wanted to use the word processing software on the computer. In the end, she wrote the entry the old fashioned way, just this once. Will students even use a pencil and paper 50 years from now?
Are social media taking over your life? Are they taking over your children’s lives? How connected to we need to be? This is a debate in your blog administrator’s household and elsewhere. Although Facebook, for example, currently prohibits persons under 13 from having a page, over seven million kids under 13 create a Facebook page anyway, fibbing about their ages.
I sat at my laptop and typed “responsible citizenship” on my scope and sequence [scope and sequence: a way of organizing curriculum] for this school year. I worried about whether kindergarteners could grasp the magnitude of volunteering and serving others’ needs. I was anxious to teach them all the ways that people do need, for shelter, food, and health. More obscurely, people need for compassion, empathy, and acceptance. All of my misgivings and fears were allayed when I began teaching the unit in the classroom.
This week’s collection of links look at a variety of approaches to education in the United States. I’m not a professional, only a parent. As one writer below characterized, I’m a digital immigrant rather than a digital native. Some may find me a Luddite when it comes to integrating education concepts with technology. Mea culpa: I still believe in times tables. But I’ve come across some Internet essays that have made me look at digital education differently. Am I ready to embrace it? Perhaps not yet. Check some of these out and see what you think.