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A Conversation about SPACESHIP EARTH

Session 3
Aaron Kaswell, Lynn Shon, Andrew Zimmermann — Math for America, Bill & Melinda Gates Teacher Advisory Council, NYC Dept. of Education Model Teachers, BetterLesson Blended Master Teacher Fellow

SPACESHIP EARTH is a design-based, project-based, blended learning curriculum developed by Andrew Zimmermann, Lynn Shon, and Aaron Kaswell 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.

The SPACESHIP EARTH curriculum blends integrated (STEAM) project-based work with a personalized learning platform that allows students to learn content specific skills at their own pace. The project-based work is designed around tackling the problem of our planet’s limited resources. The students use the design process to research and create solutions while using their personalized learning platform to build the content-specific skills necessary to tackle these big problems. Using this model, the MS88 teachers developed 8 integrated STEAM/design projects that they wish to share and discuss with educators.

While this is a project-based curriculum, it has been very challenging to implement the blended model and personalized learning platform that helps drive the teaching and learning. The teachers had to go through a complete rethinking of their classroom methods and roles, and they would like to share successes and challenges and receive feedback from like-minded educators. All aspects of integrated studies, implementing a blended and personalized learning model, focusing on cognitive skill development will be part of the dialogue.

Conversational Practice

These teachers want to have a dialogue about their projects and their methods in the same way that they run their classrooms. They act as facilitators for learning and will prepare deep, probing questions and are looking for honest and critical feedback in their methods. They recognize while there is a lot of effectiveness in their model, there is still much to improve and receive feedback on from the community. This is the purpose of hosting the conversation. They are open to using conversational protocols as they do in their classroom as well as live Tweet questions.

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