Common Principles for Uncommon Schools

Horace Problem-based Learning

‘Neighbor, Doctor, Senator, and Friend’: Challenging Children to Learn, and More

At the elementary school level, teachers who think about how-not just what-students learn often notice what cognitive researchers have also shown: Children learn best in a social context that supports them in a web of caring relationships. From the Developmental Studies Center (DSC) in Oakland, California, new curricula in reading and mathematics is available that explicitly links those subjects to

Helpful Books on Integrating Curricula

Alexander, Wallace M., with Carr, Dennis, and McAvoy, Kathy, Student-Oriented Curriculum: Asking the Right Questions. National Middle School Association, Columbus, OH: 1995. Brady, Marion, What’s Worth Teaching? Selecting, Organizing, and Integrating Knowledge. State University of New York Press, Albany, NY: 1989. Burns, Rebecca Crawford, Dissolving the Boundaries: Planning for Curriculum Integration in Middle and Secondary Schools. Appalachia Educational Laboratory, Charleston,

Samples of the Three Mathematical Elements at New Mission High School: Mathematical Modeling, Mathematical Proof, and Problem-Solving

Mathematical Modeling 1. In Roser Gin?©’s Midlevel and Graduate classes this year, students have used math models and mathematical reasoning to explain the impact of epidemics on the world’s population (vehicle: “Investigating Epidemics Through Mathematics”). The goal of this project was to examine how different epidemics have spread in order to make predictions using identified patterns. Students applied their knowledge

Translating Success: How Careful Planning Within a Problems-Based Curriculum Can Prepare Students to Enter College-Level Math Classes

Amy Biehl High School (ABHS) is a charter high school located in downtown Albuquerque that serves students from Albuquerque and the surrounding communities. There is no “typical” ABHS student; our student body is as rich and diverse as the city itself. Despite our school population’s differences in skills, special needs, socioeconomic class, race, culture, and English proficiency, we have one

Horace: Problem-based Learning Published: February 29, 2008 By: Jessica Fillmore Topics: Curriculum, Problem-based Learning

What’s Out There? Curricula that Support Essential School Ideas

Essential school teachers don’t have to write all their curricula from scratch. Materials that support their beliefs are coming onto the scene, and spreading across networks with information-age speed as teachers try them, critique them, and make them their own. All during the 20 years he taught at Fox Lane High School in Bedford, New York, Arthur Eisenkraft chafed at

Worth Checking Out: Across the Curriculum: Frameworks with a Coherent, Student-Centered Emphasis

*ATLAS Communities. The Coalition of Essential Schools was a founding partner in this approach, which aims for coherent “Authentic Teaching, Learning, and Assessment for all Students” by connecting schools, families, and community in a “pathway” from kindergarten through grade 12. (Other partners were the School Development Program at Yale, Project Zero at Harvard, and the Education Development Center in Boston.)

Worth Checking Out: Documents, Resources, Lessons, Inspiration in the Arts and Humanities

* History Alive! offers auxiliary or stand-alone teaching materials integrating U.S. and world history with the arts, for middle and high school levels. Included are images, experiential group activities, reader response and writing activities, skill-oriented tasks, and prompts for culminating projects. (Teachers Curriculum Institute, Palo Alto, CA,  800-343- 6828  800-343- 6828 ; * Facing History and Ourselves offers materials and workshops

Worth Checking Out: In Science, Inquiry-Based Investigations

Numbers of Essential schools have selected one of the new inquiry-based science texts, many of which were developed with National Science Foundation funding; but other teachers prefer to adapt units from different texts or use modules or activity kits from various suppliers. Some from each category follow, on the recommendation of CES member schools or Centers: Active Physics, high school

Worth Checking Out: Math Programs Rooted in Applications Find Support from NSF and Schools

Since 1989, the question of what mathematics schools should teach and how has been much influenced by several major documents: the curriculum and evaluation standards issued by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), and several reports by the National Research Council’s Mathematical Sciences Education Board, including Reshaping School Mathematics: A Philosophy and Framework for Curriculum (1990). Generally, these

Worth Checking Out: Systematic Portfolio Assessment? ACT’s New Plan

Many Essential schools committed to portfolio assessment struggle to create and maintain consistent ways to collect, select, organize, assess, and follow student work in that manner. If they could, they might use portfolios as valid and reliable evidence of student learning over time, even substituting that documentation for standardized multiple-choice tests. A source of help has emerged, ironically, from American

Worth Checking Out: The College Board Sets a New, Demanding Pace for the Majority

Long known for its Advanced Placement (AP) courses and examinations, the College Board has recently introduced a set of demanding but flexible high school curricular materials, this time aimed at every student. Each frames a year’s thoughtful work with plenty of room for teacher choice of texts, suggests authentic assessment tasks to imbed in the course of study, and can