Open thread

Published by Lori Pickert on February 27, 2009 at 12:09 AM



Comment by Lori Pickert on February 27, 2009 at 03:05 PM

No quote to jump-start things today — leaving it open for people to talk about whatever they want.

That said, for those of you who followed last week’s open thread — here’s a quote:

The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are there to stop people who don’t want it badly enough. — Randy Pausch

Comment by Lynn on February 27, 2009 at 04:37 PM

Whoa, that sign is awesome!!!!

Comment by Mary Beth on February 27, 2009 at 06:22 PM

I have something I would like to ask you, not at all related to the quote, or to last week's discussion: how do you handle young children's questions? I mean the incessant ones, like why do camels have humps? What's paper made out of? How do you make metal? What are cranes for? Do you ever just answer them? And if not, what do you do?

Comment by Amy Chionis on February 27, 2009 at 06:28 PM

Hi all-
I've started posting with my last name to help sort out all the Amys - ohchildren ofthe70's-
What I really took away from last week was this quote
‘We advocate independence, creativity, relationships and spontaneity, which might be more effective in the long term for all of us.’”

-- Challenge to One-Size Education, BBC
and the idea of assessment. Meaning, what we value in our children's education is what we assess - or want to teach them to assess - and so I am curious - who out there has really clear value statements for their learning? And what materials/methods of assessment are helpful if you are learning off the beaten path (i.e. NOT a standardized test, though those must have their place too?)...
I like to think often about my friend who teaches photo. Her benchmarks for her students are all about the art and craft of a good print, with things like neatness and timeliness rolled into it. They are clear about what is expected of them. I have heard her students say to her: I have to reshoot this project, I am so unhappy with the framing or I have to reprint these, I did a really poor job in the darkroom...they can easily self-assess based on the parameters she has taught. So how do you extend that out into more nebulous things, like altruism or deep interest? Curious to hear what all y'all do...

Comment by Lori Pickert on February 27, 2009 at 08:26 PM

lynn, ha! i meant to include the link to make your own, but of course now i can’t find it. :^)

mary beth, i hope other people share how they deal with young children who pepper you all day with questions ;^) but i will say that a great side effect of project-based homeschooling is that you channel all that intense energy for questioning and learning into a particular area, and those questions become fuel that drives your project!

amy, i’m going to start by pointing to something i wrote about assessment before, for anyone who hasn’t read it before —

Assessing Project Learning:

assessment is, as you say, linked directly to what we hoped to accomplish .. “we treasure what we measure”. this is supposed to work in a forward direction: we set goals, and assessment helps us figure out if we met those goals. unfortunately in the public schools it usually creates a backlash: we focus on getting a great assessment and therefore end up “teaching to the test” — thinking mostly about the assessment and how we can get the score we want rather than thinking mostly about doing the work we want to do and using the assessment as an evaluation aid.

so, for me, the goals are the most important. we make a learning plan at the beginning of the year that takes into account our goals for the boys and their goals for themselves. then we review it — usually around the holidays and then again in the spring — to see how we’re doing.

because no one is grading us on our performance, we don’t have to worry about “failing” — if we aren’t meeting our own goals, we can adjust our expectations or adjust our plan.

the boys’ personal goals are very important, and they tend to set high expectations for themselves, work hard on their own goals, and judge themselves stringently. this was my experience in my private school as well — most children don’t pull punches when assessing their own work.

many of the goals we list at the beginning of the year are not about specific skills but are more about habits of mind or learning dispositions — e.g., “have a better attitude when things go wrong; try something new instead of getting angry”. rather than having an idea of some specific exercise we will do to strengthen this during the year, simply articulating it and making it a goal tend to keep it in the front of our minds (children and adults) and when circumstances occur during the year, we are all mindful of the opportunity to work on that goal. “mom, i’m not going to get angry, i’m going to try something new!” it’s amazing, actually, how writing these goals down focuses our energy for the year.

part of the challenge is figuring out how to articulate a goal for a disposition — like altruism, for example. it needs to be phrased in a way that both child and adult understand and agree upon. perhaps: “we’ll try to think more about others.” and “deep interest” — that needs to be broken down into achievable goals for both children and adults. you can’t order a child to have deep interests ;^) but you can set a personal goal to do a better job documenting their interests. you could set a goal for your child to get a new nonfiction book from the library each week. etc.

the most important point from your comment is this — goals/benchmarks are inseparable from assessment. in order to come up with an authentic way to assess, you have to do the hard work of figuring out what you want to accomplish first.

Comment by jen on February 27, 2009 at 11:30 PM

Love the sign, Lori!

I too can't wait to hear some answers for the question-filled child! I have one, and truthfully I can only spend so much of my day helping him find answers/looking things up/reading about things, etc. So sometimes, because I'm afraid his head might just explode if I don't, I just answer him already!!!

But what do I do when I don't answer him: We look it up online (He's not reading well yet, so image searches are great!) or in one of the many books we have. Sometimes we write it down on our "Things to check out of the library list." Sometimes we ask Daddy who always knows some cool science experiment to do. Sometimes I just ask a lot of questions back, sort of leading him to an answer that he already knows but just hasn't sorted out in his own mind. Sometimes we do whatever it takes to observe what he is asking about - go into the yard and find a grasshopper or visit the zoo or watch as we flush the toilet.

And sometimes I just fall into a quivering mass on the floor!

And here's my question about assessment. What do you do if the child you are working with is not a good self-assess-er. Ahem, theoretically speaking, of course, what if that child is afraid of being wrong or told to do it over or not getting the A or has been in a school situation that was way under-challenging so that now self-assessment is not realistic. Done is pretty much as good as it gets in his/her mind. What do you do to re-teach those self-assessment skills?

Comment by Cathy T on February 28, 2009 at 12:18 AM

What do you do with a child that asks questions all day? I love that question. Sometimes I swear the questions are asked because the child wants to hear his own voice or to check to see if Mom is really paying attention to him ("did you hear what I asked?") or to see if Mom will take the time to give him one on one attention and really focus on the question AND the child or to see if Mom's answer is the same one that Dad gave him last night! The other time my son asks questions is when he is tired and doesn't want to sleep - not only at bedtime but on a car ride (he is 4). He wants to use his mind so he won't sleep. sigh...

Depending on the question, my frame of mind, and where we are I do try to acknowledge the question and attempt to answer it in some way or another. Sometimes it is helpful to remind the child of a similar animal (what do bats eat?") or question ("why is the sky blue?") or talk about how we talked about that question the day before and then talk about it again ("how was I born?"). I find that if a child asks the same question three times in a fairly short time period - say a week or so - then my answer is probably not satisfying the child in some way. Either I am not answering the REAL question or I'm over or under estimating the depth the child wants. How are babies made really comes to mind. We must visit that question many times to really understand the complexity of that one :).

Once kids can read, then there are many books out there that ask short (common??) questions and attempt to answer them. One of my sons liked to read those types of books while riding in the car - and of course they generated even more questions!

Comment by Lori Pickert on February 28, 2009 at 12:30 AM

jen, lol, we definitely don’t want anyone’s head to explode. ;^) and lol re: a quivering mass. :^)

one thing i want to make clear for newbies: answering the usual onslaught of questions vs. answering project-related questions.

with *project*-related questions, you want to help your child explore and find his own answers. “i don’t know — let’s find out!” keep track of those questions and work your way through them.

you cannot support every interest, every wondering with the same level of attention that you give to your project. that’s what project learning is about — sticking with one thing long enough to get below the surface. if you tried to give *everything* this level of attention, documentation, research, etc., you would truly be, as jen says, a quivering mass.

so, once we put aside project-related questions, .. as children get older, they tend to be what i call “project-oriented” — they automatically ask for a book, a library trip, the internet, etc., to find the answers to their own questions. (they also tend to draw and build and photograph and etc. ;^)

when children are younger, i think you just have to weigh how much time you have vs. how many questions your child has — if you can, try to research some of those answers to reinforce good learning habits, but again, you just can’t treat every question like it’s gold-plated.

jen, it sounds to me like you are doing a great job with your onslaught. ;^)

re: assessment, i’m thinking two things. one, make sure you aren’t assessing each individual task — as in, “and how do you think you did with this?” every other day. two, tie assessment to goals, intentions, and/or plans. so, at the beginning of a project you might say “what do you want to learn?” and then at the end (or after a long while) you could remind them of what they said and ask how they think it went — did they learn what they wanted to learn?

general questions: what did you enjoy the most? what do you remember? what was hard for you? what was easy for you? was there anything you didn’t enjoy? their answers to these kinds of questions can be revealing — and surprising. and they can lead to making goals for your next project.

questions linked to goals: you said you wanted to work hard; how do you think you did? you said you wanted to read more books yourself; how do you think you did? we agreed you would try not to get frustrated until you had tried a few different solutions ot a problem; how do you think that went? etc.

the point of assessment is reflection — for you, that might mean reflecting on whether you met your goals or not and what to do about it. for your children, you’re helping them think about what they did, express their feelings, recognize their strengths and weaknesses, and recognize they have the power to change what doesn’t satisfy them. if we don’t stop and think about what has gone before, we can’t learn from it.

re: being afraid of being wrong, i think this process can alleviate that fear. you aren’t grading their work. this type of homeschooling is about working to mastery. you are setting goals ahead of time, being clear about your expectations, and hopefully being honest in sharing your feelings about how it went — for both your child and yourself. this kind of goal-setting and assessment can help you build an honest, mutually supportive learning relationship with your child.

how do you re-teach self-assessment skills? you are probably just teaching them — from scratch. you are laying out a whole new way of looking at learning — showing them that their opinion matters. you may have to ease your way into it, but they’ll get it. but don’t pull your punches, either. be honest about where you think they fell short. if you fudge, they’ll know it, and you’ll lose the trust.

btw, this works in the classroom as well — we’ve done projects with children in K-3 where they signed a pre-project contract with their teacher, an individualized contract written in conference with each student. the teacher signed, pledging to give the student the materials the student had listed as necessary to complete their project, to help them find the answers to their questions, etc. (students could make suggestions!) the students pledged that they would would hard, .. and .. depending on the child, maybe they said they would ask a peer before asking the teacher. maybe they said they would remember to try a few things before giving up. the teacher and child would come up this this list together, and the children were usually right on target in identifying where they needed to work harder. during the project, the teacher could then pull out the contract and conference with the child about how they were doing with their goals.

Comment by Lori Pickert on February 28, 2009 at 12:33 AM

thank you, cathy! you guys are really bringing back those preschool years. :^)

Comment by anna on February 28, 2009 at 06:49 AM

Ahhh, the curious, question filled child!

My eldest daughter is highly curious, and we have shared the "bed-time questions" over the years. Cathy T- I feel like I can understand the pre-sleep questions, because my own mind works in a similar way- for me it's not avoiding sleep- it's just that when I relax before sleep, my brain will often begin to wander... and think of things other than counting sheep! Sometimes having a little brain-meandering can help me (and my daughter) fall asleep in a more restful way.

We keep a running list of interesting questions. I try not to be too distracted by it, and keep a list of questions I am not prepared to answer on the spot. So if we are deeply engaged in something else, I can say "That's a great question, let's write it down and find out later!" (Or my younger son may draw a picture of the question.)

I always try to be respectful of any questions asked by my children. Their questions are offering me little glimpses of their current learning styles, the things that interest them, and how they perceive the world around them. They allow me to gather ideas about what theme we might want to incorporate into our learning in the future!

If I don't know the answer to a question, I am always honest about it, and we'll find out together! We look up on-line, look up in books, do an experiment or try to find a person who has knowledge in the field of the question. I want my kiddos to know that the world is a resource-rich place for a curious mind, so I try to diversify how we find our answers! (eg, going to a stamp-hobby shop for my daughter to ask questions about stamp collecting)

I guess this is all aimed at a slightly older questioning child, but we began our homeschooling in this way, and it's continued on ever since!

Comment by mary on February 28, 2009 at 02:41 PM

On the topic of questions. For the past six months or so my 4 year old has been asking "How do people (or animals or trees) come alive?" Thinking this was basically the how are babies born question we investigated that area going down to mommies having eggs and those dividing (with a youtube video of cell division!) looking at how a baby grows in the tummy.
Soon enough the question was asked again. "I know how that baby was born but how was her mommy born and her mommy born and her mommy." This is deep stuff but we kept delving deeper as the questions came. We talked about the primordial goo and on and on, but this never satisfied the question.
After months and months of this, researching, finding books and still more questions I realized she really wanted to know the answer to the big question of how the universe began. I initially took a very scientific approach to her questioning but in the end realized it was much more a philosophical question she was asking.
I think I finally fizzled out and said "that is one of the great questions of life"
She shelved the questioning for now but I know soon enough I'll be driving the car and from the back I'll hear "mama, how to people come alive?" again.
Anyone have suggestions on how to tackle these "big" questions with your kids.

Comment by Lori Pickert on February 28, 2009 at 02:48 PM

for people interested in assessment —

some quotes:

Is it time to move beyond grades? That was the question considered — largely in the affirmative — at a workshop at the annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. They heard from colleges offering evidence that the elimination of grades — if they are replaced with narrative evaluations, rubrics, and clear learning goals — results in more accountability and better ways for a colleges to measure the success not only of students but of its academic programs. (

This article reminded me of some Twitter discourse that occurred at the end of 2008 sparked by Gary Stager who wrote,
“I'll be outrageous and say that all assessment is an interruption to the learning process.”

One of the reasons we assess is because schools are about much more than learning. One of the primary reasons for the institution of high school is to act as a sorting system for higher education.

"My hand shakes each time I have to sign as the principal's designee to take a student off of diploma track and place him/her on certificate track. This often done based testing and lack of performance in class."

Comment by Lori Pickert on February 28, 2009 at 02:58 PM

anna, thank you!

mary, rather than trying to puzzle out what answer fits her question, i would encourage her to imagine her own answers, draw and paint what she thinks, ask what she might want to look at to find more information, etc. start asking her a lot of open-ended questions including “what do *you* think?”

Comment by Barbara on February 28, 2009 at 05:24 PM

ooh, I was just wondering about the whole question thing for young kids... my daughter has been asking "what's this?" or "what's that" a lot--mostly in the context of learning the names of things, not to find out how or why it works. so I just answer her. but I know more complex questions are on its way with in the next couple years... so thank you all for your tips! excellent.

mary & lori-- I love theidea of having you child imagine her own answers to the question that is the universe. fabulous. I wish I had had that oppurtunity as a child instead of just being told the story in the book of Genesis. (no offense intended, I just think it's a great exercise in creative thinking and logic). this book looks like a great one on a scientific explanation of the universe, though I'm not sure when would be the right time to read it... present it to the child after the child imagines their own version(s)? just leave it on the bookshelf until your child happens upon it?

"In this first of a trilogy, the Universe tells its own life story of chaos and creativity, science and struggle. Time after time the Universe nearly perishes, then bravely triumphs and turns itself into new and even more spectacular forms. Eventually it turns stardust into you. This story begins in the very beginning, and ends with the formation of Earth. The second book From Lava to Life: The Universe Tells Our Earth Story tells of tiny new living things and ends with giant dinosaurs. In the third book, mammals rise and so do you "

Comment by Lori Pickert on February 28, 2009 at 05:36 PM

barbara, i am thinking of this beautiful reggio project documentation i saw where children imagined how .. i think it was how fax machines worked .. the teachers let them explore their own ideas and make beautiful works of art sharing them.

i don’t think there is ever a problem with letting children imagine possible answers .. if they are very young, they might be satisfied with stopping there for awhile. if they are older, they will eventually work their way toward the “right” (at least, currently accepted!) answer. but there are things to be learned from imagining and hypothesizing, too — and sharing ideas with each other. jules verne, da vinci .. they had excellent imaginations and were way ahead of their time in thinking up possibilities that didn’t exist yet. if we plug every question with an immediate answer, we don’t get a chance to exercise our imagination, creativity, etc.

thank you for sharing the book — have you ever seen this one?

re: when to share it .. our shelves are crammed with books on so many topics, and the children pull them out and dip into them. when they are researching project topics or looking for answers to questions, they pull out every book that looks promising (we do a *lot* of reshelving ;^). i don’t think there’s a wrong approach. last year we read bill bryson’s “a short history of nearly everything” aloud and it spawned so many great conversations!

Comment by Christina on February 28, 2009 at 07:19 PM

I LOVE the ideas on self-assessment. I think goals are such a great idea. We set family goals, but these are more related to our spiritual welfare and familial bliss :) I suppose it's too late to do that with my daughter's current project since we are 2 months into it :) Next time . . .

re: Being peppered with questions all. day. long. I have a few thoughts to add to the growing list of great responses:

1. This used to drive me a little batty. It still does sometimes. I think my kids are coming out of the "incessant" stage and entering the "a lot of the time" stage. However, I have begun to realize how grateful I am to have kids who ASK questions, who want to learn new things, and who have enough understanding to know what questions to ask.

Last summer when my daughter was 4, we got together with extended family for a wedding. My grandma (her great-grandma) had brought a book from her childhood that she wanted to share with my daughter. They sat for nearly an hour while she read the short novella to her. Afterward, when I asked how it had gone, my grandma seemed disappointed and said, "Oh, I don't think she really got it." When I asked if she had lost interest, she responded, "Oh, no, she just asked questions through the whole book. She asked me the meanings of words and why things happened like they did. I just don't think she was old enough to really get it." I had to chuckle to myself. To me, the incessant questions meant exactly the opposite . . . that she was clearly "getting it."

2. Lori talked about questions becoming the "the fuel that drives your project" in project-based homeschooling. The projects certainly haven't eliminated the questions in other areas, but they have benefited our project work immensely. Whenever my daughter has a project-related question, we write it at the bottom of whichever page we're writing on in her project journal. She periodically flips through it, just looking at the questions at the bottom. Many of the questions have been answered, some can be researched, still others I leave to her imagination. It has worked out great.

Comment by Lori Pickert on February 28, 2009 at 07:30 PM

ah, i’m glad you liked the ideas on self-assessment. :^) you can still ask questions at the end, though, re: what she enjoyed/didn’t enjoy, what she thought would happen vs. what happened, what she wanted to find out vs. what she found out, what she imagined vs. what she learned, etc. etc. i really think reflection at the end is very powerful -- it can really frame the experience!

love everything you wrote about questions, christina! and .. i want to peek into your daughter’s project journal. :^)

Comment by Aimee on February 28, 2009 at 07:46 PM

Assessments: I have wanted to move far away from the idea of grades, but at times, I need some benchmarks or something to let me know we are on the right track. It helps that while I am still (re)forming my ideas on learning and how our family will do things, my kids are still pretty young. Having been brought up to chase grades, versus ideas and knowledge, I am in the process of creating our own systems, so I like the idea of formally setting goals with the kids.

My question: We are between projects and I really am feeling confused about where to go now. As I have been journalling and watching and discussing with my partner about my daughter's work, we see three things that could lead to project work:

The first: she builds houses and forts for her and her brother almost everyday, using cushions, pillows, blankets, etc. Sometimes they are "rooms," sometimes "houses."

The second is books. She makes books on her own several times a week. The subjects have been recently: her family, math, flowers, drawings." We also make books together.

The third is painting and art. She has a fabulous art class she is taking, she paints lots, we go to art museums and we have gotten books about artists both from our shelves and from the library.

Each of these interest me, but whenever I get a book from the library, say a book about book making or set up a provocation with a book about an artist and paints and paper, her reception is cool. I thought that by just trying a small thing with each topic, then I could see which would be the one she has the most interest in, but instead I am getting more confused. So I have been thinking about this for a couple of weeks and trying these things and not sure what I do next. Any ideas?

Comment by Lori Pickert on February 28, 2009 at 07:53 PM

mm, aimee, my first thought is that each of these things is really a way of learning about something rather than a project topic -- constructing, book-making/writing, painting.

rather than trying to turn one of these ways-of-making/doing into a project, i would dig deeper for a project topic that she could use each of these to explore. once you have a topic, she could build/construct something large for dramatic play, make books, draw, paint, sculpt...

i would observe to see what she is building and how she is playing in her cushion forts, what she is making books *about*, what she is portraying in her art .. see if there are any connections there.

what do you think?

Comment by Amy Chionis on February 28, 2009 at 09:00 PM

I love the suggestions to Aimee about how to surmise interest based on what her daughter is creating. That just cracked open the a-ha moment for me.
Sheepishly, I think that our project is going in the heavy equipment or martial arts direction. I was never a girly-girl but geesh!

Comment by Aimee on February 28, 2009 at 09:10 PM

Thanks Lori, I will have to look back at my journal and her work and see if I see any threads that run through all of these. And I will take this week to really watch and document again with that in mind!

Comment by Lori Pickert on February 28, 2009 at 09:46 PM

amy, good! :^)

and lol re: heavy equipment/martial arts .. good thing you *aren’t* a girly girl! ;^)

aimee, great! and get back to me — i’m happy to brainstorm with you! xo

Comment by Sam on March 1, 2009 at 01:53 AM

Love the bus poster! I had to do a double take, lol.

My two boys are good at "endless questions", particularly at the end of the day. I've found that bedtime questions don't really require answers, like Cathy and Anna said - they are just "browsing" their brain. The rest of the time, I either encourage them to look up the answers with me or write them down for another time.

I've just had a "Doh!" moment. I've been flapping about, trying to sort out exactly how to do project-based learning. I find it very hard to start something before I know all the ins-and-outs and how to take every step. That's not going to work here!

While I was reading your reply to Aimee, I suddenly realised that my eldest, Buzz, has been working on a project for some time, and I had overlooked it.
He loves Star Wars, and he spends a lot of time on his star wars lego, but recently he has been getting various star wars related books from the library, watching the films, looking at the games and looking at the lego site. He then uses his lego to release the ideas growing in his head, and has lots of discussions with me on various aspects - such as the character motivations.

I'm not sure if I'm making any sense, but I'm beginning to see how this could encompass so many different areas. My head is buzzing!

Lori, if you're interested, I've tagged you on my blog for "8 random things"

Comment by Dawn on March 1, 2009 at 04:05 AM

Great discussion!
New project ideas: I needed this! Our projects have fizzled and I need some direction on getting them back on track or moving on...
Time to really look deeper!
Questions: I had to laugh a little at the "big" question. Fionna seems less intrested in how we got here and more intrested in what is going to come next after humans are gone... like the dinosaurs!
Thanks for all of the insights!

Comment by Lori Pickert on March 1, 2009 at 04:12 PM

sam, lol — glad you like the bus! :^)

re: star wars, that is exactly why observing and documenting in a (parent) project journal is so helpful. if you dutifully write down everything they do, play, and talk about, you can begin to see patterns.

and while some school-based project-based education experts would be horrified at the idea of a star wars project ;^) *i’m* certainly not. yes, it’s make-believe in a way, although movie-making is real. and space travel is real. and stories and characters are real. if you tease out all the possibilities there is plenty there to work with, from writing his own stories about the same characters (language arts!) to building models to making stop-motion films. there are many wonderful children’s books that detail how the scale models were made for the films, how special effects were done, etc.

my younger son used to watch the star wars movies on a little tv on the floor and pause the dvd to draw the individual scenes. :^)

plus if you begin with this interest in star wars and start researching connections to the “real world”, he may discover interesting, new lines of inquiry to explore.

let me know how it goes! and thank you so much for mentioning me on your blog! :^)

dawn, fionna as usual has a wonderful imagination! :^) and thank you!

Comment by Barbara on March 1, 2009 at 06:18 PM

crap-- i just wrote a long comment and I lost it all when went to preview it for typos (lesson learned: proof-reading is over-rated ;-)

it was about the similiarites between my fiance's graduate program in music composition, and project-based learning. he's been doing a lot of self-assessments for his program (fancy oral ones called viva voce) which got me thinking about it.

why is it then, that the supposed highest degree for learning often uses a project based model for learning, yet it is considered(by many) a less than satisfactory method for young learners of the general public?

that was the jist of it, I think....

oh, and lori-- that virginia burton book looks awesome, and I really need to read some bryson, my dad goes on and on about that book!

gotta run--my inquisitive little 2 yr old is eating a vegetable bullion cube!!

Comment by Lori Pickert on March 1, 2009 at 07:02 PM

i hate when that happens!

actually, project-based learning and self-assessments are where many educators want to take public education! you could put together a great pamphlet filled with quotes by leading educational pundits praising this way of learning and pass it out to the naysayers. ;^)

that bryson book is excellent — definitely check it out!

Comment by Barbara on March 1, 2009 at 07:21 PM

lori--ooh, punditry! would you be considered a pundit, because I think if the policy-makers sat down and read your blog, they would be hoppin' to it! lol

I know that back in my home town in (Rockford,Illinois) there some support for some charter schools attempting to try new things out.... and I heard Obama and his sec. of education say they are open to new ideas and charter schools and what not.... I'm thinking charter schools would be a good way to introduce project-learning to mainstream education, but I don't know all the ins and outs of all that.

I was really happy to hear from a friend who that columbia college in chicago bases their educators program on reggio, Do you know of other unversities teaching this, and on a personal note, what made you go in to reggio education?

last weekend, you posted an article about some boarding schools here in the UK that are already succeeding in alternative education, and that reform is supposed to be taking place over here. i googled the schools, and they do look great, but so expensive! I'm glad that I am able and want to facillitate learning for my daugher at home, but it really would be excellent if more kids had that opportunity.

Comment by Lori Pickert on March 1, 2009 at 11:58 PM

b, i would totally take that job. ;^)

there are schools around chicago that use project-based learning, and there are schools in st. louis as well. (and across the country) both public and private. chicago commons uses a reggio-inspired approach.

i discovered reggio when i was in the process of building my school; i was already planning a project-based curriculum, but studying reggio really changed my course .. we added art studios to each classroom and i spent the next seven years leading my staff in a reggio-inspired direction. we ended up with a curriculum and a program i would put up against any reggio-inspired school outside of italy. ;^)

i agree, it would be fantastic if all children could learn this way. i feel lucky to be able to pursue the exact type of learning i think is best — homeschooling is wonderful!

Comment by jen on March 2, 2009 at 08:49 PM

I'm practically drooling now - coming back after the busy weekend and reading these last few posts makes me wish for a classroom like that for my daughter. She thrives on being in a room with 20-something students, yet she would love, love, love a class situation like you just described. Homeschooling is wonderful, but I wish a school like that for her!

Comment by Lori Pickert on March 3, 2009 at 02:32 PM

i really wonder what the best way is for parents to express what kind of schools they want for their children — it really feels like a process in which, even if changes happen, they don’t happen fast enough for our own children!

Comment by jen on March 3, 2009 at 02:37 PM

Lori, that would be a terrific Open Thread question!

Comment by Lori Pickert on March 3, 2009 at 02:41 PM

you’re right, but you have to remind me, because you know i’ll forget! :^)

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