Over the past several months, EdLab has been tagging along with CPET's Erick Gordon as he follows his impulse to explore and seek adventure in his role as a teacher, the creator of the Literacy Unbound program, and as a Senior Research Fellow with CPET.
Dr. Gordon's work has been driven by the belief that it's important to create learning spaces that feel less like school and more like places where art, relationships, and an authentic sense of wonder come together. This belief is especially present in his work with Literacy Unbound - a performance program that's not only about presenting media, but also the belief that in voice, body, and movement, there can be a process of constructing understandings.
Perhaps the best way to summarize Erick's work and his impact on students and colleagues comes from one of his former students, Nathan Blom: "...he's best at creating moments of wonder - moments that are going to be etched in people's minds."
As part of its five-year strategic partnership with a Connecticut public school district to design and implement a K-12 initiative to cultivate deeper levels of 21st Century Global Capacities, Studies in Educational Innovation at CPET, founded by Suzanne Choo, (PhD, 2012), Deb Sawch (EdD, 2013) and Alison Villanueva (PhD, 2013) in 2011 has been focusing specifically this year on character--what it is; what it looks like; and how to cultivate it in curriculum, instruction, assessment, and school culture, as well as how to engage the larger community.
To that end, SEI is working with district leadership and a teacher-led task force, whose responsibilities include internal and external research and outreach, to understand both the research literature and best practices around how schools and communities cultivate character. SEI is helping the task force to establish partnerships, engage in primary and secondary research, and establish protocols for enlisting and engaging their K-12 colleagues in this work. Their first public initiative was a Community Conversation for all parents and community members. In order to ground the evening in a more real-world context, SEI shared global research and their on-going work in schools that focuses on character cultivation. Parents then attended focus groups where they shared their thoughts and ideas around how schools, parents, and the larger community can work together to help nurture character in all stakeholders, not just students.
This works dovetails with SEI's global work on cultivating character in schools in Singapore and Australia. While each site approaches this work a little differently depending on country context and curricular focus, all sites believe that engaging every stakeholder--school leaders, teachers, support staff, students, parents and the larger community--is essential to any program or initiative rooted in cultivating character. One Singapore school identifies "Caring Thinking" as one of three essential thinking domains (the other two being Critical Thinking and Creative Thinking), and an Australian school focuses on character as part of global citizenship and has develop programs both within and beyond the curriculum that offer students opportunities to engage in service learning and internships.
Three recent TC Alumni and members of the New Teacher Network at Teachers College (Tallie Diamond, David Baksh, & Allison Addona) have been participating in a series of workshops presented by the Center for the Professional Education of Teachers to develop and implement writing units that take their students' work out of the classroom and into a book. Representing schools from Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Hoboken, New Jersey -- student-authored texts from the Re-imagining Assessment workshop will culminate in a book launch in June 2015, at Teachers College. All are welcome to join the celebration and hear the students read from their texts.
Congratulations to these three alumni for paving the way for meaningful projects in your first year of teaching!
Wednesday, April 22nd
Teachers College - 152 Horace Mann
Dr. Roberta Lenger Kang, Initiative Director at CPET, will be the guest speaker for TC's Casual Conversation series. She will be sharing her experience with leveraging mandates during an era of accountability, and will touch on the implications of city, state and federal mandates like high stakes assessments, Common Core standards, and teacher evaluations.
Come with your questions, concerns, and innovative ideas for a productive conversation about the current challenges facing schools today!
To RSVP: If you have a Teachers College/Columbia email address, click here. All others please email TC directly at email@example.com.
On February 15th & 16th, 2015, the Senior CPET Coaches Roberta Kang, Denise Daniels, Marcelle Mentor, and Cristina Romeo presented at the annual Association for Teacher Educators (ATE) conference in Phoenix, Arizona. Their presentation, titled "Cultivating a Common Core - A Pedagogy for Professional Development", was designed to share five core principles in which CPET's professional development practices are rooted.
Participants of the panel discussion were given opportunities to reflect on their current practices and experiences with professional development by using images. They were then introduced to each of the five core principles of professional development as defined by CPET, including:
Participants engaged in conversations specific to each principle, facilitated by CPET coaches. The panel concluded with the sharing of participants' thoughts and considerations as they relate to their overarching goals and practices as educators. Participants were deeply engaged in the discussion and opened up about their own practices and how these five principles could be applied to their own work. Thanks to the organizers of the ATE for a wonderful opportunity to share professional strategies aligned with teacher education!
Building on the inaugural summer institute in which teachers and students immersed in creative collaboration, CPET’s Performance at the Center hosted a team of students and teachers from the United Nations International School (UNIS) to work alongside Teachers College MA and doctoral students in a four-hour workshop, incorporating writing, reading, movement, and sound. In this process-oriented approach to arts integration, the team of ‘players’ performed questions as they explored Shirley’s Jackson haunting short story, “The Lottery.”
Two years ago, representatives from the Ghetto Film School, a non-profit student-filmmaking educational organization, came to CPET for advisement about how to take their materials and translate them into a curriculum for high school students. This began an intense analysis of their curricular documents resulting in a curriculum audit with an inventory of materials, analysis of effectiveness and recommendations for future refinements. Following the curriculum audit was a commission to develop an 18-week short film course and two six-week film units (one on developing a commercial and one on the genre of Film Noir), suitable for implementation in a high school course.
Whether being adopted by an English teacher making connections between literature and film, or an arts teacher looking to build students’ skills in the art and craft of filmmaking, or a history class looking to recreate moments from our past in film—these adapted curriculum materials develop student filmmakers, critical thinkers, and engaging storytellers. Currently, the curriculum project is in its final phases of development with the design firm Wieden+Kennedy and will begin the final revisions in preparation for a Summer 2015 release date.
The New Teacher Network at TC (NTN@TC) is an amazing new opportunity for all new teacher graduates from English Ed, Social Studies Ed, Science & Math Ed departments! NTN@TC members get support in their first three years of teaching through in person and online mentoring, professional learning opportunities, and curriculum supports. Current NTN@TC members are building publication projects into their classrooms, sharing ideas in an online forum, and reaching out with needs as they come up.
Recruitment for 2015-16 cohorts is coming soon!
Teams of teachers and administrators from public and private schools from the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area convened last month for with Dr. Deb Sawch and Dr. Alison Villanueva of CPET at Teachers College to learn more about the power of e-portfolios to inform both short and long-term design and delivery of curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
Participants used various 21st century frameworks, including the SEI Global Capacities Framework, to design their own e-portfolio pedagogies, supported by multiple software platforms and aligned with the skills and dispositions that students need for full participation in the world.
Encouraged by this experience, Dr. Raina Kor, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction at Irivington, NY Schools, expressed that "this was a chance to make more visible the dynamics of both teaching and learning and to provide ways to ensure that we are all accountable for how we pose questions, investigate possibilities, and assess for understanding," said "This is absolutely where we all need to go, and our team got the chance to imagine so many possibilities."
The New Teacher Network at Teachers College (NTN@TC) is an amazing new opportunity for all new teacher graduates from English Ed, Social Studies Ed, Science & Math Ed departments! NTN@TC members get support in their first three years of teaching through in person and online mentoring, professional learning opportunities, and curriculum supports. Current NTN@TC members are building publication projects into their classrooms, sharing ideas in an online forum, and reaching out with needs as they come up. Recruitment for 2015-16 cohorts is coming soon! To learn more about NTN@TC, email firstname.lastname@example.org.