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Writing at the Cooperative Catalyst:Weeks in Review 10/4-10/17

What a great past two weeks we have had, 16 new posts and hundreds of comments. We have tried to shift the conversation towards the complex positive stories of education and schooling (there is a difference) and teaching and learning (not sure there is a difference). We have had a range of topics from Waiting for Superman to Unschooling from Classroom design to Utopia.

As we make our teaching and learning public we begin to humanize our lives and continue the demystification of the institutions we call schools and we do our part to nurture “the awesome powers of innovation that reside with us and perhaps the destiny of our species”.

There are also a few new tabs to follow


(where you can find links to all our past posts) (comments are always open)


Teacher’s Stories

also remember to check out the Must Read and Must Watch section. We have added a number of new videos and book suggestions, and we are always looking for more.

And like always please look back over these posts and find ones you missed or reread,  and please comment. The Cooperative Catalyst is a community effort and the more voices; the deeper and more thoughtful the discussion and learning is.

Hope everyone has a great week and remember to speak up for authentic education!

The CO-OP!

Another Challenge to ACT

October 17, 2010

Got up this morning to see a Twitter conversation between my Superintendent, Pam Moran, and a friend, Ann Leaness about setting up a flickr account to show pictures of everyone’s schools.  The idea was to  be able to look at the diversity of buildings around the world, gathered in one Flickr account. Cool idea, cool… [Read more…]

My Inner Pollyanna’s Ed Reform Blue Sky

October 16, 2010

Even amid the heated education debates & discourse, my inner Pollyanna still dream’s big. Here’s my blue sky, if I had my way: 1. United Teachers They become a force to be reckoned with. Politicians, news outlets, and policy makers take notice and make room at the table. They ask teachers questions like, “What can… [Read more…]

This teacher reacts to seeing “Waiting for Superman”

October 16, 2010

crossposted from Daily Kos for which it was first written Friday schools across Maryland were closed, so I went to the first show at Noon. On the way home I thought long and hard about what I would say. No matter how I parse it, my reaction has two key points. 1. Davis Guggenheim feels… [Read more…]

we need help

October 14, 2010

hey guys..we need your expertise/wisdom/insight… please. and thank you kindly. 1. what we’re seeking specifically is a  list of or info on uni’s that currently accept alternative means for admission, ie: eportfolios, etc. 2. and then i guess too, is #1 even a good question. what’s going through our minds just now: many people are… [Read more…]

Education Aligning with Life.

October 14, 2010

Deborah Meier observes in ”NCLB and Democracy” from Many Children Left Behind (2004), that public education has not been seen by communities as a public enterprise in quite some time. Communities of families which surround and empower schools are a collapsing ecosystems. As governmental mechanisms of control increase in education, as the measure of schools and teachers… [Read more…]

Let’s tell our stories

October 12, 2010

During #EdChat today, we discussed the need to find a way to share our stories with the mainstream in a way that the media, politicians and celebrities really have not been using. Our objective is not to stop the debate which is going on now about education but to add another perspective to the public… [Read more…]

No Apologies or Apologists Necessary: How we all are Superman

October 12, 2010

However, we have no need for apologies for our approach, to stand firm in it, to be courageous, confident and willing to obtain objects regardless of others judgments or lack of faith. Neither should we rely, associate or join in some sort of an apologist’s behavior that zaps responsibility away from each of us.

Thinking in School?

October 11, 2010

In a recent Huffington Post essay, Eric Maisel presents an argument for adding thinking to school . His idea is simple. Carve out 45 minutes each day for students to ponder big (age-appropriate) questions, write down their thoughts, and present them if they wish. I like this idea, and I would take it further. Readers… [Read more…]

Not Utopia… but it’s a start

October 11, 2010

Sometimes I get tired of hearing so much negativity about education today. My ideal school would hold the belief that everyone has the potential to learn. It would acknowledge that learning takes place in a variety of ways, depending on abilities, preferences and interests. It would make every effort to cater for such diversity in its learners.… [Read more…]

October 10, 2010

Recently I read Ben Grey‘s post on “maintaining” instead of “planting brilliance.”  I’m on a math listserv with some really smart Canadians and Josh Giesbrecht responded today, “I can think of a few good (and a few bad) reasons to grade a math journal.  Mostly it depends on how you’d answer this question: What are students demonstrating… [Read more…]

Unschooling: A Gentle Approach (Guest post by Carlo Ricci)

October 8, 2010

(Carlo Ricci is on the faculty of education’s Schulich’s School of Education at Nipissing University, in Ontario, Canada. He teaches in the graduate studies program. He is the founder and editor of the Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Learning , and has an Unschooling YouTube channel. He has taught from kindergarten, to high school English… [Read more…]

October 7th

October 7, 2010

Today at IDEA, I posted this and would love your comments: Today is the National Day of Action for Education Transformation and Justice.  Thousands of teachers, youth, and activists around the country will be doing something today to say, “enough already” and call for a deeper and more nuanced conversation about the purposes and practices… [Read more…]

What Will Future Generations Condemn Us For? How We Educate Our Children

October 6, 2010

In his excellent op-ed in the Washington Post, Princeton professor, Kwame Anthony Appiah, imagines what future generations will condemn us for, as we have condemned our ancestors for slavery and women’s disenfranchisement. Appiah mentions our prison systems, factory farming, and the isolation and institutionalization of our elderly. I think our descendants will also condemn us… [Read more…]

5 questions about everything

October 5, 2010

1. Why don’t schools accept music performance as evidence of students’ math achievement? What’s to stop you from saying a competent cover of The Joker earns some kid a B in coordinate graphing across multiple x-axes, counting by fractions, and calculating sums using functions all at the same time? Can you do that? Isn’t that… [Read more…]

Bad Teachers, Scapegoats, and Halting Education Transformation

October 5, 2010

I’m sick with the media, Oprah, L.A. Times, Education Nation, Michelle Rhee, and politicians who have found a scapegoat to blame problems on and do nothing about education in the US. Scapegoating is a political trick from history. You may remember when Hitler blamed the Jews for the woes of the economy. He convinced a… [Read more…]

Redefining Citizenship

October 4, 2010

As a child, I grew up hearing the term “citizenship” applied very narrowly to two concepts: be nice and follow the rules.  I would scratch my head as I read about revolutionary figures who rarely followed the rules and certainly failed in the nice category.  Nice guys wear cardigans and read the sports page and… [Read more…]


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