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Joshua Block

Humanities Teacher at Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia. Passionately believes that education is a tool to help people understand and transform their individual and collective realities.
Joshua Block has written 5 posts for Cooperative Catalyst

The Democratic Promise

Earlier today my American Government students watched the amazing film The Democratic Promise: Saul Alinsky and His Legacy. The documentary, which is framed around Frederick Douglass’ famous quote that “Power concedes nothing without demand,” is a powerful reminder that democracy is an ongoing process and continual struggle. While watching the film I realized that its structure … Continue reading

Meaningful Education: Not an App, Not Rote

Pamela Paul has an opinion piece in today’s NYTimes about educational technology. She writes about “game-based learning” and characterizes “an underlying fear” that children won’t learn if it is not “superfun.” Her final thought is that students should play games (that is use technology,) “in their free time.. [O]nce they’re in the classroom they can challenge themselves. … Continue reading

Being Artists

The other day, during a rare window of open time, I found myself transfixed by the interview that Krista Tippet did with Seth Godin. When Tippet introduced Godin’s thinking by saying, “We are invited and stretched in whatever we do to be artists — to create in ways that matter to other people,” I was hooked. Later in … Continue reading

Pushing Against Our Edges

For a long time I was afraid to teach about the environment. As a high school student my most powerful learning experiences had come from creating a campaign for sustainability within my school district. As a high school teacher I had, amazingly, taught for ten years without teaching a unit that focused on the environment. … Continue reading

Why I Teach (in Philadelphia)

One of my most poignant school memories is from fourth grade. I was in Mr. Gross’s class. We were spread out in the field behind the school, with journals and pencils in hand. I was lying on my stomach, propped up on my elbows. My eyes were focused on the tan and yellow grasshopper who … Continue reading

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