Common Principles for Uncommon Schools

Horace Cooperative Learning

A Student and Her Exhibition: One Teacher’s Portrait

by Peggy Silva, Souhegan High School, Amherst, New Hampshire Peggy Silva, an English teacher at Souhegan High School in Amherst, New Hampshire, followed several students’ experiences closely in the process of writing a book about this Essential school founded in 1992. Here she describes a student preparing for the Division One Exhibition Souhegan requires midway through the high school career,

Changing Words Into Graphs

Draw a graph to illustrate each of the following situations. Prices are now rising more slowly than at any time during the last five years. I really enjoy cold milk or hot milk, but I hate lukewarm milk! The smaller the boxes are, then the more boxes we can load into the van. After the concert there was a stunned

City Schools and the American Dream: Reclaiming the Promise of Public Education

By Pedro Noguera (Teachers College Press, 224 pages, $19.95) BUY NOW! Educators who seek to make a difference in the lives of students face tremendous challenges working in urban public schools that are under-resourced and over-burdened. In response, Pedro Noguera maps out his vision of hope and pragmatism in City Schools and the American Dream. Building on his experience as

Horace: Cooperative Learning Published: April 10, 2004 By: Lisette López Topics: Cooperative Learning, Instruction

Coaching Students to Think and Speak for Themselves

A theatre arts teacher and a Critical Friends Group coach for the Narragansett, Rhode Island school system, Jan Grant works closely with teachers in three Essential schools-elementary, middle, and high school. Her work with high school students there sparked the following reflection: The concept of Collaborative Inquiry was easy for me to accept when I first encountered it at a

Essential Schools as Inclusive Education Leaders

All learning communities contain a multidimensional spectrum of strengths and weaknesses. By embracing this truth in their values and practices, Essential schools are well poised to respond effectively to the challenge of inclusion. Students in inclusive educational settings take many paths toward the achievement of meaningful educational and personal goals. Inclusion reorganizes a school’s environment: it opens to all students

Essential Schools’ ‘Universal Goals’: How Can Heterogeneous Grouping Help?

Once we expect every student to meet the highest goals, the reasons weaken for separating classes in ability groups. But what else has to change when schools stop tracking? How can kids so various learn together, turning their differences to their best advantage? “I’m all for tracking,” Theodore Sizer declares emphatically, and I know he’s got to be kidding. On

For Further Reading

The following books and resources have been recommended by various Essential school teachers and consultants interviewed for this article: CURRICULUM AND EVALUATION STANDARDS SCHOOL MATHEMATICS, NCTM, 1606 Association Drive, Reston, VA 22091. MATH AND SCIENCE FRAMEWORK CALIFORNIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS K-12. Publication Sales, California State Dept. of Education, PO Box 271, Sacramento, CA 95802-0271. “Everybody Counts: A Report to the Nation

How Newton’s Laws Shape Our Culture

Background reading: John Patrick Diggins, “Science and the American Experiment: How Newton’s Laws Shaped the Constitution,” from The Sciences (New York Academy of Science). The major aim of this project is to give students an opportunity to explore the relationship between science and society. Since the Newtonian Revolution, science and scientists have gained an authority rivaling the priests and their

Inclusion Research at Work at Boston Arts Academy

Anne Clark, teacher and administrator at Boston Arts Academy (BAA) offers insight into BAA’s fully inclusive pedagogy, an expression of its commitment to CES’s Ten Common Principles. Describing parallels between BAA’s experience with inclusion and current research findings, Clark suggests important touchstones and discussion points for all CES schools. This synthesis of research and Essential school practice demonstrates how inclusion

Making Math Personal: Meaning in Mathematics for Teachers and Students

When mathematics students and teachers are able to deepen their relationships with the curriculum and with each other, they are more likely to teach and learn in ways that promote sustained, connected, meaningful understanding. Stories of teachers’ engagement with their own curriculum through mathematics discourse, students’ connection with teachers through personalized pedagogy, and students’ commitment to the curriculum through personally

Math and Science in the Essential School

Integrating math and science acorss the disciplines and preparing all students to use them in the tasks of the future, is npw vital. But the obstacles to dong so are immense, shaking the very foundations of how teachers view their world. Just what is the difference between quantum physics and the Newtonian physics that has shaped so much of our

McDonald’s Claim

You and a friend read in the newspaper that 7 percent of all Americans eat at McDonald’s each day. Your friend says, “That’s impossible!” You know that there are approximately 250 million Americans and approximately 9,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S. Suppose you think the 7 percent claim is reasonable. Write a paragraph arguing that the claim could be true.


How would you take a large collection of facts and information and organize them in a useful way that will allow for: a quick, facile, and reliable location for each piece of information available, a reliable and accurate view of any relationships which exist between any sets of variables being organized, the capability of predicting an unknown or missing value

Review: Widening the Circle: The Power of Inclusive Classrooms

Widening the Circle: The Power of Inclusive Classrooms by Mara Sapon-Shevin, (Beacon, 184 pages, $16.00) Widening the Circle argues that all learners—and teachers—contain multitudes. On that basis, inclusion of all students is fundamentally equitable, educationally beneficial, and morally imperative. Inclusion reinforces our democratic commitments, commitments that Essential schools in particular are poised to make or have made already. Fundamentally, an

Horace: Cooperative Learning Published: February 5, 2008 By: Jill Davidson Topics: Classroom Culture, Cooperative Learning

Some Ways Math And Science Are Used

To reapportion Congressional districts, using Huntington’s method of least proportions. A useful social studies project could be to figure out how your state could be gerrymandered to benefit either Republicans or Democrats, given its voting habits, and how to apportion districts without gerrymandering. To investigate when the number of telephone area codes in the United States will run out, given

The Boat-Building Project

Ahoy maties! Your challenge for this term is to design a boat that can carry you. And unless you want to get wet, it better be a good, sound boat! Each student will design a boat and create a small cardboard model of it. On October 20, we will test the boats to see which one carries the most weight.

What Makes for Powerful Learning? Students Tell Their Own Experiences

What works best to engage, motivate, and challenge students to learn? In the midst of the national fervor to raise the quality of teaching and learning, educators or policymakers often forget to ask the students themselves. Yet if we listen to their words and look closely at the work they do, we can find clues to some of the most

Working the Demand Side: An Interview with the Algebra Project’s Robert Moses

In January 2004, Victor Cary, Program Director at the Bay Area Coalition of Equitable Schools, talked with Robert P. Moses, longtime civil rights activist. Known for his voter registration work in the Mississippi Delta in the 1960s and his subsequent math education efforts, Moses founded the Algebra Project in the 1980s as a grassroots efforts to improve math literacy among

Horace: Cooperative Learning Published: April 10, 2004 By: Victor Cary Topics: Cooperative Learning, Instruction