Articles I never finished reading, dept.

This EWA story on a project-based charter school in DC has every trope you can imagine about “traditional” (as in doesn’t work) and the shiny new thing called Project Based Learning.
“When students and teachers are engaged in work that is challenging, adventurous and meaningful, learning and achievement flourish.”
You mean like the Jamestown expedition, a recurring feature at Two Rivers? A visit to the Virginia historical site was a “memorable experience” for 9-year-old Evan Bowie.  She even wrote about it:
“We got to spend the night,” Bowie told the Post. “We got to go on ships, and I got to hold a sword and a shield and put on armor.”
In all fairness, this article quotes heavily from a previously published story that appeared in the Washington Post, in 2015. I guess EWA writers are too busy to be bothered doing original work.
Wait, there’s more:
“Last year, Two Rivers was awarded a grant under the Assessment for Learning project to work with a center at Stanford University on developing new ways to assess students. (That project is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, which both have provided grant funding to EWA.) “We’ve been working on developing assessments of critical thinking and problem-solving,” said Maggie Bello, the chief academic officer at Two Rivers. “They’re performance tasks.”
Of course they’re performance tasks. What else would they be with funding from Gates and the Hewlett Foundation?
And then of course, there’s this:
Also, seventh-graders at Two Rivers participate in what’s called the “passage portfolio,” which they must successfully complete before advancing to eighth grade. Students present an electronic portfolio of their work to a panel of Two Rivers educators and then respond to questions about it. In addition, there is an “about me” section, where students discuss their strengths, areas that need development, and where they need to grow over time.  “It’s kind of like a master’s defense,” Bello said. “You’re defending your education at Two Rivers and you have to pass. And if you don’t pass, you have to redo it. It’s high stakes. And so that builds character and perseverance, growth mindset.” 
That’s as far as I got. See how you do.

4 thoughts on “Articles I never finished reading, dept.

  1. Classic PBL – they are replacing traditional in-class learning with what should be after-school learning. So what happens after school? Parents provide the traditional skill-based learning themselves or with tutors. Can anyone say Kumon? This is not about whether PBL is fundamentally good or bad, but whether it’s the main driving force upon which skills are ensured. Ah, that’s the rub. Ensured. Are skills developed directly and ensured and tested, or do they think skills just happen if you follow the process? If they don’t, then the kids are just not ready yet?

    Does it work?
    What does “work” mean?
    How do they know it works?
    Why is high school so completely different for the best students?

    The best part of this is that it’s an opt-in charter school. Too bad students at other schools can’t opt out.


  2. Here are some learning expectations taken from the BC Math Curriculum, for Gr.4 students:

    Students are expected to do the following:
    Reasoning and analyzing
    • Use reasoning to explore and make connections
    • Estimate reasonably
    • Develop mental math strategies and abilities to make sense of quantities
    • Use technology to explore mathematics
    • Model mathematics in contextualized experiences
    Understanding and solving
    • Develop, demonstrate, and apply mathematical understanding through play, inquiry, and problem solving
    • Visualize to explore mathematical concepts
    • Develop and use multiple strategies to engage in problem solving
    • Engage in problem-solving experiences that are connected to place, story, cultural practices, and perspectives relevant to local First Peoples communities, the local community, and other cultures
    Communicating and representing
    • Communicate mathematical thinking in many ways
    • Use mathematical vocabulary and language to contribute to mathematical discussions
    • Explain and justify mathematical ideas and decisions
    • Represent mathematical ideas in concrete, pictorial, and symbolic forms

    And also that:
    o Memorization of facts is not intended for this level.

    If I didn’t say it was our math curriculum, one might think it was for an Arts Class. This is what multi million dollar budgets and public consultations gets us in education these days.


  3. It is the glib quotations that annoy me. Usually illogical and fantasy. Isn’t that the forte of three year olds? Shouldn’t educated people want to give 2 sides to a story?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s