As October is Connected Educator Month, we are pleased to announce our partnership with Educator Innovator! Educator Innovator, powered by the National Writing Project, provides an online "meet-up" for educators who are re-imagining learning. Educator Innovator is both a blog and a growing community of educators, partners and supporters. We know we're with the right partner, because in this month focused on "Connected Education," the theme chosen by Educator Innovator as its key focus is:
Student Agency, Student Voice, and the Maker Movement
"Powerful learning occurs when youth, driven by their own interests, are supported in being creators and not just consumers of knowledge." We agree. And, it makes me think of the story behind a young group of "makers" we worked with several years ago.
I love the project, too, but the story behind it is so special to me!
Bullying is a widespread and serious problem across our nation. It's what happens when someone repeatedly hurts or threatens another person on purpose. Bullying comes in many forms: name calling, leaving people out, spreading rumors or physically hurting someone. And, it can happen in person, in writing, online, on cell phones, in school, on the bus, at home, or anywhere. It is not a normal rite of passage, it has serious consequences and it is NOT acceptable anywhere - especially at school.
In the past few years, the impact of bullying on our children and in our schools has become a significant part of the national conversation about youth and education. And, with good reason.
This weekend, we had the immense privilege of hosting students, parents, teachers, and administrators from fifteen schools in Facing History's Los Angeles Partnership Schools Network for our second annual high school summit, "Every Voice Matters." The wordle above is what they shared of their "takeaways" from the day.
We put this day on for our partnership schools, but I always leave the day as energized as they do!
Imagine if you will...
- Parents having their voices heard, solicited, and valued as a school thinks about its entire community,
- Administrators participating as learners side-by-side with their students and faculty,
- Teachers having "given up their Saturday" to connect with other teachers, guide their students' efforts, and reflect on their own role in shaping classroom and school culture.
- Every school with students who are thinking about how to bring this back to their own campuses, stepping up to lead change in their school's culture--all this and waking up early on a Saturday to spend the day with their teachers and parents!
We had partnered with POV and StoryCorps for a special screening of "Listening is an Act of Love." The first-ever animated special from StoryCorps celebrates the transformative power of listening. Listening Is an Act of Love features six stories from 10 years of the innovative oral history project. Each story reflects universal themes of identity, family, choices and positive participation, and is a wonderful springboard to our daylong summit's exploration of ways each of us has a voice and can contribute to making our school campuses and communities more civil and compassionate. "Listening is an Act of Love" will premiere as part of the POV series on most PBS stations November 28, 2013. Click here for more information.
Listening is an act of love. One of our participants commented on the huge need we have for people to know us. Another asked, "what happens when people see and hear a different story?" Stories have the power to create a new norm, to reshape our identities and aspirations. I treasure the stories I heard even in this one day, and look forward to the storytelling and listening sure to take place at our schools!
If you'd like to listen to another's story, StoryCorps will be at the California African American Museum October 23rd to November 16th. Once open, reservations will be taken online (click here).
If you were at this summit day, we invite you to share your thoughts from the day!
At Facing History in Los Angeles, we're getting ready to bring 20-25 high schools* together to explore building stronger communities, so we're thinking a lot about this idea. Since its inception, Facing History and Ourselves has valued and taught how to create safe and reflective classrooms. As the educational partner for the film "Bully" over the past year and a half, we've worked with many schools who want to confront bullying school-wide. Last year, we brought together 25 schools to view the film and come together as school cohorts and student/parent/faculty stakeholders to more deeply explore this issue. But, preventing bullying is just a baseline. Don't we all want more than just a lack of bullying?
“Peer pressure...is not only unpleasant, but can actually change your view of a problem." (from the book, Quiet, by Susan Cain.)
At my school Friday, students flooded the hallways and it was oddly quiet but there was a magical energy in there air. April 19th, this year's Day of Silence, was when students all over the country took a day-long vow of silence to represent those in the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Questions) community who are forced into silence by society. Everywhere I looked, there were glimpses of rainbow pins and colored duct tape covering the mouths of the those participating or on the sleeves of students who supported their peers.