The current LREI strategic plan states a s goal the need to:
It’s been an exciting start of the year for students, faculty and families at LREI. I’m privileged in my new role as Director of Learning & Innovation to be able to discover each day more about the rich learning experiences that weave their way through and between our lower, middle and high school and afterschool programs. Continue reading Exploring Our Progressive Purpose
Consider this as an open letter from our newest colleagues to those of us returning for the beginning of a new season of learning at LREI. In a short ideation session, new faculty identified essential elements of our progressive purpose, stated goals for “being” at LREI and uncovered some questions for which they will look to you for support and guidance.
Mark Silberberg, middle school principal at LREI (and a big supporter of Inquiring Minds), integrated our lesson, My Future Self, into a class on values. The student’s schedule for this class is only once a week so getting 5th graders to retain their focus and stick with this provocative thought experiment took some ingenuity on his part. Continue reading Considering Their Future Selves
The following “conversation” between Ana, Michelle and Dave appeared on one of the whiteboards in my office: Continue reading “Splat” — On making mistakes and meaning
The eighth grade social justice project “Choosing to Participate” is a cornerstone of the eighth grade humanities curriculum. Through this project students study those who have stood up for justice by becoming/being active citizens themselves. Continue reading A Collaboration for Social Innovation
With our eighth graders off in DC (#lreidc) exploring memorials and monuments and making connections to their humanities inquiry and the seventh graders in Williamsburg (#lreiwb) doing research for their Colonial Museum exhibits, our fifth and sixth graders have gotten to stretch their wings a bit in our middle school spaces. Our fifth grade civilization simulation is just getting under way and sixth graders are using insights gained from the religions they created to begin to explore the impact of religion on life in Europe and the Middle East during the Middle Ages. Our fifth and sixth grade student reps have also been hard at work planning for the activities that they will run at this weekend’s Halloween Fair.
In Fifth Grade Adolescent Issues, we have started a project that asks students to envision their future selves that we’re doing with our friends at Inquiring Minds (@InquiringMonica and @InquiringDK). We started this process by exploring some general thoughts and ideas about the future. We will then will take a trip back into the past as students research people that they admire to tease out qualities and characteristics that they would like to cultivate in themselves. Students will then use these insights to design a possible future for themselves. Continue reading My Future Self
At our first divisional faculty meeting, we used some provocative insights from Warren Berger‘s A More Beautiful Question to examine some of our familiar routines and practices through the lens of our important summer learning experiences. We wondered together about how might these powerful experiences reframe how we look at the familiar so as to make it seem new again and open for inquiry. Continue reading When the familiar becomes this sort of alien world
What do you get when you bring together faculty teams from each division and frame mission-focused inquiry around a design thinking framework? You get our first successful Innovation Institute. Over a five-day period this summer, a diverse group of faculty came together to explore the concept of time and how it impacts teaching and learning at LREI. With facilitation by designers from the School of Visual Arts Design for Social Innovation program (@InquiringMonica and @playlabinc), the participants explored how a design thinking mindset can be used to forward our mission through the cultivation of empathy connected to purposeful action. Within in this framework, participants identified questions connected to problems whose solution will have a positive institutional impact on our work and culture. Continue reading Designing for Innovation
Last Friday saw the roll-out of Discovery Afternoon version 2.0. Our 2013 inaugural run of Discovery Afternoon drew on the expertise and passion that exists within our own faculty. It was an opportunity for students and teachers to get to know each other outside of the classroom and to strengthen our middle school community of learners.Discovery Afternoon provided an opportunity for experiential learning guided by teachers through activities that extended beyond the daily academic routine. Activities offered gave teachers an opportunity to share a hobby, passion, or favorite city location with a small group of students. Activities were designed to help students grow intellectually and emotionally as they pursued new interests or explored passions shared with their teachers. It was a great success. Continue reading When Students Take the Lead, Discovery Follows
It was a pleasure to see so many of you at last night’s Middle School Art Show and Performing Arts Festival. For an evening that would suggest a focus on product and performance, I was struck by how much emphasis there was on highlighting the artist’s process. Visual art teachers Jeremiah Demster and Nathalie Hall and our young artists were engaged in regular conversations about the evolution of the work throughout the evening. At the same time, performing arts teachers Deborah Damast, Susan Glass, Joanne Magee, and Matt McLean and their students made sure that the evening’s performances were also balanced with insights into each groups working process as well. Continue reading Art as Experience
Sometimes the best way to start a story is at the end. While yesterday’s Middle School Social Justice Teach-In was a celebration and affirmation of the committed work that has engaged our eighth graders for the past six months, our closing assembly provided us with an opportunity to reconnect with former eighth graders who continue to be deeply engaged in social justice work in the high school. Continue reading Be the Change
As the philosopher and LREI supporter John Dewey wrote in Democracy and Education in 1916:
To be an LREI teacher is to be immersed in the planning for, thinking about, and reflecting on one’s own teaching practice. This happens individually and in collaboration with colleagues. It happens within the LREI community and beyond at conferences, workshops and school visits and through each teacher’s professional learning network. Continue reading Our Learning Community
With all of the activity underway in the Middle School, the winter break seems a distant memory. This week, we were host to a contingent of educators from South Korea who were interested in learning more about our approach to science education and progressive pedagogy. Continue reading Happiness Education