Inquiry and Self-Care: How do we build a community that cares for and takes care of children while taking care of ourselves? The Workshop School community has been grappling with this question for the past four years. Join the conversation about how we use professional support, safety plans, inquiry and mindfulness.
Changing school culture, curriculum and procedures is one of the toughest projects to undertake. Join us to talk about how you have addressed these challenges in order to fundamentally shift practice.
With the Invisible Issues project, students will create their own non-governmental organizations to raise awareness of invisible issues in their school.
We will share projects and courses that utilize the community of Philadelphia to provide unique and challenging learning opportunities for students. Examples from STEM, the arts, and humanities courses will be highlighted. We will focus on the process: reaching out to the community, creating a project, and student commentary and reflection.
SLA has been a project based school since its inception, and we have been developing and revising math projects since 2006. This session will focus on how we develop these projects, how we revise them/create new projects, and what different structures for the projects look like. During the session, students and teachers will present projects that they used in the past, with a focus on the process of project development/revision. There will also be significant time for participants to develop/workshop projects for their own math classes, so please bring an outline for a math project, or a project description that you'd like to revise. By the end of the session, all participants should walk away with a project that they intend to use during an upcoming unit.
"Learn by Doing" is an oft-heard mantra, but it's probably good to learn about World War I without spending months in a trench. Good simulation activities don’t copy reality exactly; they focus on the important details without oversimplifying or overcomplicating. Let’s learn how to find – and create – great learning opportunities.
Now more than ever our society depends on the development of deep and nuanced relationships with media. In an era of deliberately misleading news, false narratives and an utter lack of social media responsibility, it feels imperative that we prepare our students for what comes next. Yet, in many ways it is the other way around with our students having more savvy and versatility when it comes to interactions with media from multiple sources. Regardless of where we receive our information we still must ask ourselves "Who made this?" "Who paid for it?, "Who does it target?", "How will this impact the public?", "Who benefits from widespread consumption and belief?" We also have to consider new ways, or perhaps reapply tried and true standards, to media discourse both online and in print media.
It has been recognized that most people in IT are males. How can this be changed? How do we not only encourage our female students to choose IT fields for careers but also provide them opportunities to become leaders in the IT field?
For hundreds of years thinkers used commonplace books to collect knowledge. People recorded ideas along with their own commentary. How can we think about digital tools as contemporary commonplace books? How might we encourage students not just to collect but to comment, come back to, and use their collections?
SLA students and teachers will lead an interactive workshop on inquiry and project based learning. Examples from SLA will be used to spark larger discussions about pedagogical strategies and challenges.
As new teachers at an inquiry driven school, we have had to shift our paradigms of traditional teaching and learning into what a 21st Century. In a 2.0 school, students take charge of their own learning and inquiry. Our conversation will be about how we have adjusted and incorporated our 5 Core Values into our different content areas.
No matter how clever or innovative you are, a school design is only as strong as your capacity to implement it. And implementation is more about adapting and evolving a design than executing it. As leaders in new schools, we’ve learned that the key to being able to evolve and adapt is to involve the whole staff in that work. School design is an ongoing, collaborative process. It’s also an amazing professional learning experience.
Traditional professional development assumes that changes in schools or classrooms follow from professional development. We believe that learning is a byproduct of change work. This session introduces participants to “Design-based PD,” an approach we’ve piloted in Philadelphia's Innovation Network schools over the last two years.
SITU Studio, an architectural design firm in Brooklyn, shares their experience creating innovative educational spaces in museums, libraries and schools. Designed to embed “making” and problem-solving in the classroom, their projects show new ways to integrate technology support hands-on learning, invite experimentation, and prepare students for independent, critical thinking.
How do we realize a future in which each and every child is thriving and ready to fulfill on their boundless potential? Step into the learner-centered universe. Explore the power of paradigm and what it means for you and your community.
As future-ready educators we must develop ways to support our students to not only be college and career ready, but also life ready. Student internships, peer learning teams, and student-led technology training programs are strategies to promote learning and leadership.
Classrooms in "progressive," "alternative," or "non-traditional" schools are often seen as magical spaces -- free of conflict and without any need for classroom management. But teachers in these spaces actually have many concrete, specific techniques. What do they do? Come discuss and discover.
Whose voices are heard in education (ed-activism, ed-tech, ed-union, ed-policy) circles? While it might be easy to identify (and lambast) the "corporate" voices, are we truly offering and supporting diverse voices in response? What does diversity, inclusion, and true equity and liberation in our current conversations? How can we do better?
Engineering is one of the least discussed components of STEAM education. This session will be a conversation about what engineering should look like in K-12. Is it simply hands-on science? Do you need a special curriculum? Is it only for students who are thinking of engineering as a college major?
In this conversation, we will be thinking about how to establish a self-sustaining culture of student driven inquiry in middle age students and/or students who are new to project based learning. In our first (half!) a year, Science Leadership Academy Middle School (SLA-MS) we’ve worked to lay the groundwork for students to ask and explore meaningful questions in a variety of thought strains. As is to be expected, some students are catching the “inquiry bug” and are eagerly following their interests. For others, though, this is significantly challenging due to a variety of factors including age, developmental level, current stamina and skill level, and a generally slow adjustment to our “unschooling.” By looking at a few case studies from our school, and learning about experiences in your school settings, we’re eager to think together about how we help students to become more independent and self-sustaining learners. How do we find and ask follow up questions? How do we stick with a line of thinking long enough to reap its benefits? How do we utilize our peers rather than funneling our work through the teacher? And, perhaps most importantly, how do we transfer what we learn from one exploration into a new, or novel, situation?
Teachers will discuss how to thoughtfully build a classroom community where students feel safe taking conversational risks.
President Obama recently proclaimed a goal of computer science education for every student. Progressive educators should lead such a movement. This session will explore the mutually supportive nature of making, progressive ideals, and computer science education, while cutting through the confusion associated with the hype.
This session is collaborative inquiry into a tension of teaching: building structures that support students’ growth with flexibility to accommodate diverse perspectives, interests, and needs in the curriculum. We will explore this dynamic in the context of a Humanities program at The U School, a Philadelphia public high school.
Drawing on his book "Education and the Commercial Mindset" (Harvard University Press, 2016), Samuel E. Abrams will discuss the growing role of commercial firms and concepts in public education.
This will be a conversation about incorporating racial literacy into curriculum regardless of students' ages or content area. We will discuss the successes and struggles of implementing a racial literacy curriculum into a project-based science class.
We all love our kids. Let's talk honestly about how hard it can be to keep loving our kids who frustrate the heck out of us. In this conversation, explore the challenge and the joy of being in relationship with behaviorally challenging students. We'll start with awareness and move to setting concrete intentions for better serving all of our kids.
Are you looking for ideas to personalize project-based learning activities? How do you bring in voice and choice so your kids take responsibility for their learning? Let's have a conversation on how to make PBL personal.
It is estimated that 1 in 5 learners have learning and attention issues. How did we get to that number? What are the solutions and instructional practices that support all learners? What are the things we know and the things we can do to support the 1 in 5?
The skill of effective communication has powerful influence in shaping school culture. Teachers, students and leadership are surrounded by feedback on a daily basis from the classroom to meetings to the playing field. Understanding how to communicate can be the difference between listening to react and listening to understand. How one hears, processes and delivers feedback can be powerful in shaping the tone of personal and professional relationships. In this workshop theory, practice and your experiences will be used to examine what it takes to host effective and productive conversations with colleagues and students.
Students from Macomb Community College examined the problematic status of privacy in post-secondary education. They identified standardized curricula, assessments, academic advising, and other forms of digital redlining that emphasize training over critical thinking. These findings are developing into a set of student-centered privacy principles that they will refine at Educon.
It's said history is told by the victors. For educators, victories are tied up in privilege and tradition, resulting in a history that is half muddled myth and half urban legend. We’ll chat, compare notes, and untangle who gets to tell the story of our profession.
SPACESHIP EARTH is a design-based, project-based, blended learning curriculum developed by Aaron Kaswell, Lynn Shon, and Andrew Zimmermann of Middle School 88 in Brooklyn, NY. The conversation will discuss implementation of this multi-layered environment from classroom setup to curriculum to mindset shift for both teachers and students.
This year, instead of giving tests, I'm holding my students accountable by having them keep an online "learning journal." They record questions, observations, and further research into topics they find most interesting. It's going pretty well -- I'd love to hear your questions and talk about plusses/minuses to this approach.
The most important thing anyone can do to improve what they do is to become more capable of generating ideas. In this conversation, we’ll explore the role that ideas have in catalyzing innovative practice, and how you can become more conversant in ideation. Join us for a provocative conversation about how you, and your organization, can nurture, curate, incubate, grow, extend, and remix ideas to create the raw material for innovation that can lead to new conditions for student learning.
We’re teachers from Philadelphia that developed a collaborative around teaching and learning Black history. We will discuss the history of our group and a unit we are developing on the modern Black experience past 1968. Join us for a conversation and contribute to the curriculum development.
In this conversation, participants of all rolls and disciplines will talk about what it takes and can look like to establish and support a healthy culture of reading and writing across classrooms, schools, and districts.
What would school look like if we designed it around the core concept of unconditional positive regard for our students? What if every aspect of school, from course design to facilities to policies and practices all communicated one message: "We care about you no matter what"? Let's imagine!
We often hear talk about the need for privacy, security, and encryption. This session will help people make simple, practical choices around sharing their information, or protecting their information. Best of all: it's easy.
This session will explore how we can tap into our local communities to create authentic WL cultural experiences for our students.
We'll tackle the traditional "amoral" CS curriculum for HS students, which focuses on technical skills without a consideration of the ethical dilemmas presented through the creation of those tools. The goal is to create an open source, integrated CS curriculum grounded in modern social issues and global ethics.
‘RT’ will be a dynamic, energetic, and insightful conversation driven by participants. The purpose of this session is to harvest the collective wisdom of people new to the labor movement. They will discover ways to transform our unions and public school system toward the values of equity, inclusion, and diversity.
How do we change the mindset of a school? Join educators from Philadelphia’s Labrum Middle School as we discuss overcoming the challenges of rethinking school and where we go from here to create sustainable change.
What do Edtech Teachers, Integrationists, and Tech Coordinators do? There is no definitive answer. Are they necessary in our schools or becoming obsolete? Since many have also become full or part time Makers and/or Computer Scientists, the position might need redefining. This session will aim to clarify the role, the purpose, and perhaps the future of such a position.
In this session presenters will discuss the changing role of the teacher in the age of Google. This will be discussed from the view from the classroom with students as well as how this changes professional learning for teachers.
Is it possible to teach a diverse group without leaving some students behind? Join a conversation about how self-paced, mastery learning helps each student learn at their ideal pace. Find out how to transform your classroom so that students have the time and flexibility to truly master the content.
“Among adult relationships in schools, that between teacher and principal is decisive.” (Roland Barth) How can we leverage this relationship to promote transformative, sustained change? How do we create a community of learners? What skills are involved? How do we strengthen these skill sets if they don’t come naturally?
All student teachers start by observing more experienced teachers practicing their craft. But, as teachers progress in their careers, they often don't seek out opportunities to watch and learn from other teachers. Why? In this conversation, we'll explore starting a peer observation program - the pushback, the fear, and also the success.
How can teachers maximize the potential of Google Classroom and other Edutech mediums, while fostering an environment to empower youth voices with Common Core classrooms? As a aspiring master teacher Kilolo Moyo-White teaches through a pedagogy she calls TeachAkoma, from the heart. Join a conversation of using online mediums as an instructional tool to foster youth voices in culturally responsive classrooms.
In this workshop session, co-authors of Hacking Project Based Learning share some of their PBL hacks. Discuss ideas for making your PBL more efficient, but most importantly more rigorous and engaging. Whether you are just starting with PBL or looking for ways to refine your practice, this session will meet your needs.
A discussion of the productive tensions facing innovators at all levels of leadership, formal to informal, classroom to central office, as they dare to advance new ideas and transform professional practices.
Most educators have agreed that strict gender roles are harmful to kids and make it more difficult for our kids to be comfortable in their own skin. Most of us have also agreed that any skill that we would like to see our students practice should be modeled by their teachers. As teachers who want to see our students grow into adults that feel comfortable being themselves and breaking gender roles, and standing up for others who do, we need to feel comfortable being ourselves and breaking gender roles as well. It is our duty to intentionally and purposefully plan visible gender role breaking on a regular basis, to make space four our kids to do the same.
In this session, current teachers from SLA@Beeber and The Workshop School will discuss their past experiences as student teachers within PBL, Innovation Network schools. Student teaching in the PBL environment is unique; this workshop will discuss methods and techniques for supporting and engaging student teachers.
Listening is “a social innovation for the 21st century” (Martin). As we move from a traditional model of instructional delivery to a growth model that values student agency, the imperative “Listen!” is redefined as intentional and deliberately practiced in a framework of collaborative inquiry in STEM and humanities courses.
Mental health is a crucial component of education, for students and adults. Do schools have supports in place to help children and adults who are part of our communities? Where do we find resources for ourselves or to share with others in need? Let’s discuss and share ideas and information.
The founding team of South Bronx Community will share our methodology for radical collaboration to design, kick-off, implement and celebrate an interdisciplinary deeper learning project: The DREAM Project. The founding team will also share experiences designing a project that addresses critical conversations on race, power and privilege.
This presentation will share how shifting to openly licensed educational resources is imperative for PK-12 school districts across the country. This address will focus on what openly licensed educational resources are, how school districts across the country are making this transition, and why it is important students and educators.
Explore how engineering can be used to help students learn best practices in inquiry-based learning. Join SLA Center City's engineering teacher in the SLA Shop to see active projects and meet engineering students while discussing this topic.
Grading student writing can feel like an exercise in futility when students fail to apply or even read feedback. Why does it often feel like the teachers are doing all the work? Peer editing and feedback allows students to better assess their own writing and gives them ownership over the revision process. In this session, we’ll talk about how to make peer feedback meaningful and how to create a classroom environment where students feel comfortable and capable of engaging in deep critique.
This is the story of Justin Siegel (SLA class of 2021) and how a transformational 8th grade year at a public middle school in South Jersey prepared him for life at 22nd & Arch. Justin and one of his 8th grade teachers, Kevin Jarrett, will explore how Mr. Jarrett’s Design Thinking-based program, “Digital Shop,” and the school’s Edcamp Period disrupted Justin’s educational worldview and helped form his identity as a young adult in charge of his own learning.
Students, faculty and families got together to plan several week long service learning experiences. These experiences had groups of students and teachers working with community partners to complete projects that involved our students directly in the community.
In the spirit of this year's theme, I'd like to spend some time investigating the role of civility and citizenry as it contributes to the sustainability of a learning community. We are, as a society, ever more connected and informed. That connection and information seems, though, to be having an interesting impact on our ability to civilly interact with other citizens. What role does a learning community play in developing these skills? What projects, programs and school norms are successfully infusing civility and citizenry into the school experience? How does technology both hinder and help the situation?
We will explore how we communicate with our LD students who many times have trouble finding the words or communicate too late when they are struggling.
What information do we need from students, when do we need it, and how do we get it?
One-on-one, face-to-face interactions between teachers and students have a demonstrated track record in improving student autonomy and growth, but it can be difficult to manage them with all of the other responsibilities that teachers face within a class period. In this session, we’ll consider how to incorporate these individual student conferences into your daily routine. You’ll leave our time together with concrete ideas on what to say to students in these meetings, how to track student progress, and when to use your findings to alter instructional decisions.
F.A.I.L. - Failure Always Invites Learning
When is failure really a success?
When we engage students in EPIC projects and challenges, the journey to success is often fraught with failures that can prove to be amazing learning opportunities. Do we need to reexamine the use of the term 'Failure'?
How can out-of-district consultants, coaches, and PD providers do a better job of serving teachers? What can they do to change the Death By Professional Development paradigm among teachers? Why are they still a necessary part of a balanced professional learning "diet?" What if we change the narrative around outside expertise in professional learning?
How can they expect to rebuild their communities when the experience of living in those communities is so hostile? Is it possible to instill (surface? reinforce?) a love and respect for the place that "made" you, while also recognizing and hating the things that made it a difficult place to grow up?How do we deal with the impact that police brutality, racism, and systemic inequity has had on our students' agency, voice, and existence? How do we come together to provide solutions, support, and resources to tackle these difficult questions?
There is a sad truth about the way that most students learn to write: They become boring writers. To write with clarity and insight involves struggle (regardless of age). When faced with this challenge, many students are taught to detach from content, to analyze with sterile language, and to develop ideas within a narrow formula. In this conversation participants and SLA students will share ideas and strategies to make school writing focus on reclaiming the joy and power of developing a unique, insightful writing voice.
SLA counselor and students will lead information and Q&A sessions on life as transgender students. This session will include tips on appropriate terminology, a teacher's role, managing different home dynamics and navigating the professional world. Bring lots of questions! Note: this session contains especially sensitive topics. Please have an open heart and mind.
If you have specific questions to ask or topics that you would like to have addressed, feel free to email zsiswick [at] scienceleadership [dot] org prior to attending.