The Teaching and Learning in Evergreen Public Schools supports educators and students in the areas of curriculum, instruction, and professional development as they develop and engage in personalized learning experiences.
The University of Washington introduced a popular course this year called something very close to (but slightly more vulgar) Calling Bull. This course was designed to give students the intellectual tools to recognize and address fake news, inauthentic use of data, and pseudo-science.
They developed a companion website (with the same vulgar name) and shared it with the world. They received enough inquiries from secondary school teachers that they created a mirror website that scrubs out (most of) the vulgarity (see they last paragraph below for an explanation of that qualifier). While I don’t personally give a… let’s say darn… about the vulgarity of the original website, having one without the reference to excrement in its title is helpful in the public school arena.
Secondary teachers, especially teachers of contemporary world issues courses, may find the resources on the Calling Bull website helpful.
My favorite resources are the case studies which illustrate real examples of instances where a good bull detector would be helpful for consumers of information to have.
I also like the Tips and Tricks for Spotting and Calling Bull that explain how to approach information
There are also videos of lectures that address such topics as causation versus correlation, the manipulation of visual data, and reproducibility. These videos have not been scrubbed of the vulgarity described above so use with students is not advised. That said, they can still useful to the harder-to-offend teacher who wants to better understand these (and other) concepts as they relate to spotting and addressing bull.
Let’s get one thing out of the way right off the bat: I still get the local paper delivered in print on my front porch (well, sometimes it only gets as far as the driveway). I’m sure I could get the information I need via free, online avenues but I think it is important to support the local paper so I consider the money I spend on my subscription a bit of a donation (don’t contact the IRS: I do not claim this donation on my taxes).
In that print copy of my local paper this morning was an interesting editorial about the state of civics education (or lack thereof) as well as a call to action to improve it.
You can read it for free here but if you think being informed about your local community is important, you might just decide to subscribe. You don’t have to go print as they sell unlimited access to their online content as well.
Phase 1: A Small Epiphany:
It doesn’t take much of a look into the ideas of Design Thinking, Project Based Learning (PBL) and Cultivating Innovation to see their value in a 21st-century classroom. But finding places where they fit into the curricula, the classroom and the schedule takes a bit more imagination.
In Education, we have never been shy about figuring things out as we jump into them (building the plane as we fly). No reason not to use that approach with makerspaces and PBL. Unfortunately for most of the elementary schools in our district conversations around these topics ran aground when the topic of space came on deck. It was therefore hard to move the idea of a makerspace forward without a viable space option.
On the other hand, dropping the idea of cultivating creativity and a problem based challenge because we lacked a creative solution to a real world problem seemed the wrong way to go.
Now, an epiphany, however small, is still a good starting point. So when the idea of a trailer filled with tools and supplies was suggested, the collective ‘hmmm’, was a place to begin. It turns out one trick for going from small educational epiphany to reality is getting the right people to go hmmm. It also turns out that getting the right people to listen is an odd combination of luck, chutzpah, and repetition. In this case, we hit that trifecta back in June of 2016.
Here our origin story has more growth spurts, lulls, awkward steps and moment of brilliance than any middle schooler. Limited only by what we could dream up we moved from trailer to retired school bus, with a custom paint job, and started to imagine what the gang from Overhaulin’ or Pimp my Ride would do in this challenge.
We have a number of assessments in place to measure and help support students’ academic learning, but that’s only one component of student growth. What about social and emotional learning (SEL)? How will we measure and support student growth in non-academic areas that are so crucial to both academic learning and life in general? How do we increase student voice in the work we do in schools?
Panorama Education | Supporting Student Success
Introducing Panorama – a suite of new surveys and supports for promoting SEL within Evergreen Public Schools. Last spring, students in grades 3 – 12 had the opportunity to participate in school climate surveys. This year, students will participate in two SEL measures throughout the year in addition to a spring climate survey, allowing us to monitor growth and look at specific interventions to improve our students’ experiences within our schools.
Social-Emotional Learning | Panorama Education
By involving students directly in assessing and reflecting on SEL, teachers and school leaders will have a clearer sense of what is working for students, where we can improve, and how we can make those improvements.
As with academic assessments, no single tool will meet all of our needs. Using multiple measures is always a best practice. A few of our other measures for SEL this year include: a staff climate survey through Panorama, a survey of parents and the community later this school year, examining student behaviors through SWIS, and monitoring attendance data.
Interested in moving forward with SEL efforts in your classroom right now? Consider checking out one of these posts:
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