Over the next four weeks, we will be using this blog to feature a range of voices, ideas, and curricular projects within our Los Angeles Partners School Network. This network of partner schools in the Los Angeles area, ranging from South LA to the northeast San Fernando Valley, and from East LA to Mid City, represents some of our most in-depth collaboration with educators and schools. The educators and school leaders have much to share about innovative programming, building whole school culture, and creatively navigating challenges. We hope you enjoy their stories, feel inspired and find great ideas.
Malia Warner has taught at Beverly Hills High School for 11 years, and is a member of the Los Angeles Teacher Leadership Team for Facing History and Ourselves. In 2015, she participated in our "powering up" project with her United States History class. She describes her experience.
As part of our "powering up" series, we wanted to share a collective inquiry into bringing a humanized approach to online engagement. Adopting technology isn't just about finding fun new tools, but how we create new models for interaction and how we use those tools for our larger goals. In Facing History's case, this means how we can use tech tools to create a more engaged, compassionate citizenry. It starts with how we engage with each other, face-to-face and online.
A few months ago, I posed the question, "how do you stay engaged? in a blog post reflecting on current events. One group of teachers engaged with this question - and each other - through an online forum callled Padlet.
Our New York office is engaged in an effort to bring together Facing History educators from different schools across the region in Professional Learning Communities, through a grant from the Booth Ferris Foundation. The PLCs meet monthly, virtually or in-person, so that Facing History teachers can share best practices, reflect on pedagogy and instruction, and explore new resources. In a recent discussion focused on helping students connect to the real world, they discussed our Learn+Teach+Share blog post by using Padlet.
As part of our on-going series this spring on "powering up" Facing History lessons, we share their Padlet response below.
I always start my 7th grade Jewish History class by talking about identity. Students create identity charts, identify aspects of their identity which they consider “public” and aspects they consider “private” and then we move on to a discussion during which students explore deeper questions such as “What might be the benefits and drawbacks of having public and private selves?” and “How do the labels we give others affect how we see someone as part of an ‘us’ or part of a ‘them’?”
Google's now well-known policy of allowing its engineers to spend twenty percent of their time exploring something that interests them has the goal of boosting innovation, creativity, and productivity. This idea of a "Genius Hour" has taken off in other workplaces and even some schools where kids are given more flexible time for exploration.
After attending the CUE conference about technology and powerful learning, Mary Hendra, Associate Program Director for Facing History in Los Angeles and Organizational Innovation, was inspired by this idea and her passion to incorporate technology into classrooms.