Friday, March 13, 2015

A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School - Uptown Funk Dance

Thanks to Dayna Martin who operates her own blog for sharing.  This awesome, shared dancing experience took place at A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School in Dallas, Texas let by theater teacher Scott Pankey (scroll down to view). I love this teacher's straightforward description of project-based learning (PBL):

 “We are a project-based school — there are only two in the
Metroplex — and that means you give the students a project, put them in
teams, and they have to come up with solutions. They had three weeks to
work on it, then present as a group what they learned.”
 PBL is apparently being practices in two Dallas schools only and in many educators' opinions, needs to go nationwide as an alternative to our current high-stakes testing status quo.  PBL poses a challenging problem or question that enables a capacity for sustained inquiry.  It's an authentic, meaningful kind of question or problem that engages students' voice and agency.  Reflection, critique, revision, mid-course corrections—again, sustained inquiry is key.  

At its best, and as a part of what is meant by authentic learning, it not only engages issues that are personally meaningful to youth, but it also engages a public issue that is further assessed in some form by the public.  This could be a dissertation-like defense of one's "product" that brings in our community as observers/evaluators of this work (now that's authentic accountability!) or it could be one where—as in a project like this—the whole world can literally see what got learned, produced, developed, co-constructed in a school classroom (or classrooms) in a way that marries assessment with creativity, and products (or "deliverables") with community and help make the world a more fair, beautiful, interesting, and better place for all.  

Plus, knowing beforehand that the world is going to gain access to this product is truly as "high stakes" as you can get—but in a meaningful kind of way.  It's being "accountable" in a different kind of way—one that challenges youth and connects to their experiences rather than labeling and demoralizing them as the current high-stakes testing status quo does.

We can actually work to build a policy framework for this.  Several of us are in fact doing so currently in the Texas State Legislature with State Rep. Mary Martinez' House Bill 406 that should see the light of day soon.

I think that most of you will agree that all children and youth under the guidance of prepared, committed teachers like Mr. Scot Pankey can learn at high levels if we will only give our schools, teachers, and students a chance together with the preparation, space, time and resources to do so.


#pbl #TxLege #LatinoEdu #EdPolicy

Pop Culture Blog

Bruno Mars on A. Maceo Smith teacher, students’ ‘Uptown Funk’ video: ‘I cried’


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