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NOMAD
"Inquiry-Based Mobile Education

NOMAD is a mobile middle school where students drive their own learning using the resources of cities in which they live. Students work with community members and experts, engage in local issues, and explore the spaces of the Bay Area. Our converted school bus classroom is our mobile learning lab. The Depot, our home base, maker lab, and community hub.

NOMAD is centered around meaningful, inquiry-based experiences curated to provide a cross-curricular academic program in collaboration with students through thematic arcs. Each arc is comprised of phases of learning that correspond to the exploration of the topic from a variety of angles, the proposal of individual or small-group projects, and the completion and presentation of those projects to the NOMAD community. NOMAD's arc topics will vary by semester and emphasize real tools, working with real experts, and saying yes to as many ideas as possible."



"THE BUS(ES)

The NOMAD school bus is the cornerstone of the NOMAD learning experience. This mobile classroom will function as the learning lab for students as we take advantage of full mobility, driving ourselves where inquiry and exploration take us.

We just completed an Indiegogo campaign and successfully raised funds for our first bus!! We aimed to raise $25k to buy and retrofit an old school bus and are extatic to report we've already purchased a bus - the banner picture is our actual bus. Check out our campaign at https://igg.me/at/NOMAD-Education to see how it went!

The end vision for NOMAD is a fleet of buses segregated by subject matter. Each bus will have an allocated Guide (educator) who specializes in a specific set of core skills. At full enrollment, NOMAD will have 3 buses/cohorts:

1. Humanities - this bus will focus on English language arts, history, and social studies.
2. STEM - this bus will focus on science, technology, engineering and math.
3. Arts and Making - this bus will focus on written, visual, sound, music, mixed media and theatrical arts as well as building, prototyping and making.

Students will explore thematic arc topics on each of the buses throughout the week allowing them to work closely with each of our Guides (educators) and alongside all attending students."



"A Maker's Dream

The Depot, located at Folsom and 22nd, is a gorgeous 1,400 SF workshop and maker lab. We've completed the build out on our new space, The Depot will house a full wood shop, 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC routers, and digital and physical arts labs. We couldn't be happier with the results!

While the bus may be the soul of nomad, The Depot is the heart. More than just a workshop, this space allows the full student body to meet and participate in group events, social emotional learning opportunities, and large group projects. The Depot is our home - the place we start our day and come back to to warm up and reground after a day on the road."



"Experiential, Meaningful, Nimble

MOBILITY + COMMUNITY = IMPACT
NOMAD believes students have the power to enact real change. Our curriculum and projects are intended to educate and empower students to create change in their own communities. Being fully mobile allows us to participate in our communities and take advantage of all the learning potential of our entire city. By talking to our neighbors, asking questions, and collaborating with organizations and fellow city residents of all ages, we find ways to give back to the community in the projects we undertake. During the Fall 2016 semester, NOMAD students designed the Burlingame city flag with input from members of the community, requests from City Council, and research from historians and librarians. In the past, students have designed tiny homes for the homeless, volunteered with local non-profits, and created apps to prevent bullying. We are replacing the prescriptive nature of most classroom projects with meaningful, real-world impact.

PROJECTS
Learning by doing is crucial to the NOMAD experience. Projects are inspired by our exploration and multi-disciplinary study of the current thematic arc topic. Teachers explicitly teach and model effective project management strategies, guiding students through the process of proposing, planning, executing, and presenting on a project until they are prepared to produce on their own. NOMAD students complete a range of independent, small group, and whole group projects over the course of their time with us, and they are required to complete one project for each subject area per year. Students and teachers curate documentation, assessment, and portfolios of each child's work for all subjects and arcs.

CORE SKILLS
At NOMAD, we believe that core skills aren't the end goal but rather are necessary tools to create the projects of our dreams and to deeply explore the world. We define core skills as the academic basics that enable successful communication and computation required to thrive in today's world. We teach core skills through mini lessons, short but frequent skills practice, a variety of tried and true resources like NEWSELA, Howard Zinn Education Project, and Big History Project. Our educator(s) are experienced in implementing, modifying, and creating curriculum to meet the diverse needs of our mixed aged, mixed ability classes.

SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Cornerstone to the learning experience at NOMAD is social-emotional development. Educators have 1:1 conferences with each child, set goals and track progress collaboratively, and have regular transparent conversations about building and sustaining relationships. We incorporate elements of council circles, restorative practices, self-awareness, reflection, and mindfulness. Open, progressive conversations about race, class, gender, and sexual orientation are paramount to our comprehensive program.

PERSONALIZATION
Each student learns differently and has unique interests and needs - personalizing education is key. To ensure that every child is deeply known and receives 1:1 academic and lifeskills mentorship, we limit our class sizes to 8 students.

EXPERTS
Because we aren't limited to a traditional classroom, we can visit professionals, experts, and influential thinkers in their natural habitats. Whether that means driving to Sacramento to sit in on federal court sessions or walking down the street to watch a local print-maker in action, we learn more by visiting members of our community in their offices, workshops and labs, not reading about them or bringing them into our classroom."



"Connect The Dots.

Each school year is defined by the exploration of an initially narrow seeming topic. Through inquiry, exploration and creation, students will discover unending depth and connection.

INQUIRE
Inquiry is driven by the initial thoughts, questions, and feelings the topic of study inspires. Through simulations, experiences, stories, and theories, we co-create a map of what we want to explore, questions that need answered, and ideas we hope to pursue. Inquiry is the foundation of our program; we created a mobile school to enable our curiosity.

EXPLORE
Following the map of our inquiry, NOMAD classes venture out into our city or surrounding cities to take advantage of the resources and untapped learning potential that is all around us. While in the community, students begin answering their initial questions and find interconnectedness in all that we learn. We pull from primary and secondary texts, literature, problems to solve, discussion, online resources, game play, and experiences to learn about and around our topic.

CREATE
After inquiry and exploring the arc topic, project ideas begin to emerge. Students pitch personal and small-group projects, identify experts and mentors they would like to consult, and work strategically to bring their ideas to fruition. Teachers become project managers who help students find their place in their work, tackle obstacles, and leverage strengths to reach a point of culmination. Their work is shared with the larger community through NOMAD culminating events held a few times per school year."



"Mobility Done Two Ways

NOMAD offers two unique ways to get on the bus -- full-time and custom-schooling.

FULL-TIME
Full-time students will attend NOMAD Monday-Friday, participating in the full curriculum. These students will belong to one of two 8-student troops (think homeroom) led by a guide (educator). They will move through the curriculum both as individual troops and as a larger group with all NOMAD students.

Two days a week will be dedicated to the Humanities curriculum, two days to the STEM curriculum and one day to Maker and Physical Arts.

CUSTOM-SCHOOL
Custom-schoolers (also called home-schoolers or indie-schoolers) are able to get their NOMADic experience a la carte. They can choose to do 2, 3 or 4 days a week. For the 2 day option, custom-schoolers can choose between the Humanities curriculum or STEM curriculum. The 3 day option allows students to add on the Maker and Physical Arts curriculum. The 4 day option allows for Humanities and STEM participation.

For the 2017/2018 school year, Monday - Thursday will be dedicated to Humanities, Tuesdays and Thursdays to STEM and Fridays to Maker and Physical Arts.

THE TWO TOGETHER
The full-time and custom-schoolers will be moving through the curriculum together. The only difference between the two groups of students will simply be the number of days they attend."
schools  sanfrancisco  mobile  neo-nomads  nomadic  middleschool  homeschool  christieseyfert  lisabishop  taylorcuffaro  brightworks  sfsh  education  cityasclassroom  learning  inquiry  community  personalization 
may 2017 by robertogreco
San Francisco Magazine | Modern Luxury | Guerrilla academies
"SAN FRANCISCO SCHOOLHOUSE

WHAT IT IS: A one-room microschool inside a Richmond district synagogue with the best teacher-student ratio this side of Mary Poppins: two adults, five kids.

WHO'S BEHIND IT: Stay-at-home moms Rebecca Dake, who suffered sticker shock at the tab for a year of kindergarten at Brandeis Hillel ($24,200), and Erin Cooney, who went 0-for-21 in the city’s public school lottery. Rather than giving up or going the homeschooling route, they hired ex–San Francisco Day teachers Rebecca Schneider and Jack Schumacher (who are married to each other) and threw up their own shingle last fall.

WHY THE EXCITEMENT: For a mere $8,600 per student per school year, kids get every ounce of their teachers’ attention. Says Dake: “This is a middle-class choice for the middle class.”

REALITY CHECK: The whole operation feels a bit ad hoc at the moment, not unlike a preschool co-op, and the future is unclear. The currently minuscule class rolldoesn’t belie that impression.

GETTING IN: Spaces are available now. For 2012–13, they hope to grow to 10 kindergartners and 10 first and second graders.
301 14th Ave., S.F.; sfschoolhouse.org; from $8,600/year"
sanfrancisco  sfsh  brightworks  altavistaschool  urbanmontessori  conductiveeducationcenterofsanfrancisco  schools  education 
may 2016 by robertogreco
year four arc topics | Brightworks: An Extraordinary School
"The photograph is an instant captured with a mixture of electrical, mechanical, optical, and chemical technology. The light that it captures cannot be seen until it is bathed in chemicals or processed by a computer, yet the image that is revealed can only truly be understood, appreciated, made sense of, by a person. Each frozen moment, a slice of time, reveals hints of what happened before and carries implications of what comes after – a story told in a single frame. Photographers have captured the best and worst of humanity, created infamous hoaxes, and revealed the biggest mysteries. Though there may come a day when face and object recognition algorithms will be able to project and extrapolate from a single frame the way that we do, and the connection that we make with a powerful image is personal and unique to each of us.

​The book is a collection of pages bound together. In essence; a physical representation of the thoughts of a human being, the tangible implementation of telepathy, words arranged in a specific sequence designed to put an idea into a strangers mind.​ The revolution of moveable type revolution, started in China almost 1000 years ago and later adapted by Gütenberg, accelerated the rapid spread of ideas and narratives (locally and globally). Books have proved remarkably long-lasting as artifacts, and centuries of their effectiveness can be seen in the hundreds of examples of history changing manifestos and tomes. Books have been banned, embraced, and banned again. They have been esteemed and reviled; pages filled with words arranged in such a way to move the heart and mind.

The movie is a sequence of still frames played in sequence to simulate motion – it combines the technology of the photograph and structure of the book to create something altogether new. It is a story told in scenes and moments, visual by nature and emotional in delivery. An on-rushing train drove audiences from their seats in the earliest experiments and when talkies were first introduced, audiences would argue with the characters on screen – reality suddenly became mutable on a massive scale. The spectacle and the intimate drama both became popular. Movies defined culture in countries around the world.

What ties these things together is the simple idea of story. Where would you start if you set out to explore the idea of a photograph? With Louis Daguerre in the 1840′s with his incredibly toxic chemical processes that involved chlorine, bromine, and, to fix the image, bathing the plate in mercury vapors? Or perhaps you would consider that the act of composing a photograph might be analogous to writing a book or movie and that cropping, dodging, burning, and the pantheon of darkroom and desktop effects are likewise analogous to editing? Or that the pages of a book could each be works of art and that taken together they are like frames in a movie? Or…?

What also ties each of these topics together is that they each deserve a lifetime of exploration. While that could certainly be said for any of the recent topics (salt, fairness, clock, mirror, etc), these are particularly expansive and each present a soaring and sometimes treacherous mountain with no obvious or singular approach. So we come to the crux of the challenge of 2014/15; for each of the collaborators to find a path that makes sense of the mountains. We chose story as the connective thread because it unifies the three without dwelling on the technologies or the minutia, which, in the same way that measurement tied 2013/14 together, is not meant to exclude deep dives and rich digressions but rather to act as a touchpoint and easy place to call home."
2014  brightworks  curriculum  classideas  photography  books  movies  media  storytelling  communication 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Lessons Learned: How a Progressive New School Adapts to Realities | MindShift
"One major change has been how students are grouped. The year started with kids of all ages — six to 12 — working together on everything. But that proved problematic. … Now, students are grouped into age-based cohorts, or “bands,” so that age-appropriate work could move along more smoothly."

"assessments covered three areas: students’ project-based learning, social and emotional learning, and skills acquisition and quantitative learning, according to Program Coordinator Justine Macauley. “Rather than assessing the students’ work product, we looked at their work and development during the process of their project,” asking questions like, Are they a supporter of other students’ projects or do they spearhead their own? Do they listen to others? Do they self-advocate? What subject areas do they gravitate to? and How adept is the student at organizing him/herself, their projects, their process?"

"Another change is the frequency in assessments…three times a year, instead of just once."
wateringdown  waterin  featurecreep  deschooling  unschooling  academics  rigor  pressure  parents  progressive  teaching  schools  program  curriculum  gevertulley  justinemacauley  2012  assessment  brightworks 
january 2013 by robertogreco
Innovation in Education | Fast Company
"Nikhil Goyal, student and author of One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student's Assessment of School:

1. Make cities our classrooms. … projects, apprenticeships, working with mentors, and traveling … community should be our curriculum …

2. Swap pedagogy for andragogy. We need to switch from pedagogy (teacher-focused) to andragogy (adult-leading). In this model of education, children have control, they are motivated intrinsically, and the curriculum is problem- rather than content-orientated. We need to have young people become the captains of their learning. …

3. Hike teacher pay and end market-based rewards. …

Gever Tulley, founder, Brightworks and the Tinkering School:

1. Focus on microschools: Schools don't have to be big. The hyper-local micro-school can compete on a financial basis while delivering a more engaging learning experience.

2. Make room for alternative schools. …

3. Treat education as a regular practice like exercise, not as a phase. …"
pbl  projectbasedlearning  projects  making  tinkering  tinkeringschool  brightworks  pedagogy  process  practice  practices  howwelearn  mentorship  mentorships  mentors  mentoring  apprenticeships  urbanism  urban  cities  cityasclassroom  andragogy  alted  alternative  deschooling  unschooling  2012  teaching  georgeparker  michellerhee  gevertulley  cv  schools  education  learning  openstudioproject  lcproject  nikhilgoyal 
november 2012 by robertogreco
San Francisco School Takes Experiential Learning to the Next Level - Education - GOOD
"Imagine receiving an electric drill to use at school—and the freedom to learn and explore while building things with it. That’s what happens at Brightworks, a year-old nonprofit private alternative school located in San Francisco’s Mission District.

The school is tiny—just 20 students between 6 and 13 years old—but it's building quite the reputation for its innovative learning philosophy. Brightworks takes its cues from the maker and tinkering movements, which do away with formal classroom instruction in favor of project-based experiential learning.

Students aren’t divided into traditional grade levels, either: The school allows kids to interact naturally across age groups—older students work on more sophisticated projects while younger ones learn primarily through play. And, instead of relying on tests to measure learning, the school's students create portfolios. …"

[Video embedded]
hybridskills  behavior  social  kidcity  learning  confidence  radicalschooling  alternative  radical  projectbasedlearning  mixed-age  smallschools  lcproject  video  sanfrancisco  make  making  learningbydoing  democraticlearning  democraticschools  democraticeducation  deschooling  unschooling  collaboration  schooldesign  schools  cv  education  lizdwyer  assessment  self-directedlearning  2012  brightworks  gevertulley  pbl 
july 2012 by robertogreco
#beyondthetextbook – Considering Inputs | Bud the Teacher
"* …we need APIs that’ll help us pull our data out of the tools we use & put it into the tools that we use so that we can build dashboards of useful data
* input information, not output information – but maybe some of both – descriptive tools – not prescriptive ones this is important & I need to write about it
* inputs rather than outputs; experiences rather than tests
* describing the learning by the institution – not so much on the student"

"…how teachers and students can meaningfully share annotations via their texts…what tools could provide this sort of input information easily… How could they make my data available to me in more useful ways? What sorts of infrastructures would need to exist for that data to be useful in a dashboard for learning?"

"…much of assessment [at Brightworks] is done by the staff & about the experiences they’ve created…there’s less emphasis on what each individual student learned. The students themselves are focused on what they’ve learned…"
datacollection  datamanagement  dashboardforlearning  dml2012  assessment  curriculum  schools  gevertulley  brightworks  data  learning  teaching  tools  api  2012  budhunt 
march 2012 by robertogreco
Brightworks: A School that Rethinks School | MindShift
"At Brightworks, a K-12 private school set to open in San Francisco this fall, there will be no tests, grades, or transcripts.

Instead, students will participate in activities and interact with professionals in various fields, design a project that they bring to fruition themselves, and produce a multimedia portfolio that they’ll share with the school, the community, and – via the Brightworks website – the world…

…curriculum with three phases: 1) exploration, 2) expression, & 3) exposition.

…year’s theme is “wind” for instance…

Sure, there are only 30 students aged 6 through 12 starting in September (though there are a few slots still open for 12-year-old girls) and the teacher-to-student ratio at Brightworks is a minimum of 1 to 6. The program is resource and labor-intensive. “We don’t scale well at all,” says Welch."
lcproject  scale  gevertulley  2011  brightworks  schools  schooldesign  inquiry-basedlearning  projectbasedlearning  passion-based  exploration  student-centered  unschooling  deschooling  grades  grading  thematicunites  tcsnmy  teaching  learning  constructivism  pedagogy  sanfrancisco  making  doing  tinkering  tinkeringschool  curiosity  curriculum  creativity  pbl 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Brightworks: An Extraordinary School
"Brightworks is a school that reimagines the idea of school. In September 2011, we will offer a one-of-a-kind K-12 curriculum: students explore an idea from multiple perspectives with the help of real-world experts, tools, and experiences, collaborate on projects driven by their curiosity, and share their findings with the world. Brightworks does away with tests, grades and homework, instead supporting each student as they create a rich and detailed portfolio of their work. Brightworks offers a sliding-scale tuition option to all applicants.

At Brightworks, we believe that a school should serve as a learning commons and a community workshop, an intellectual and creative heart of the neighborhood it resides in. Brightworks will also offer after-school, evening and weekend workshops for children and adults."
education  sanfrancisco  curriculum  pedagogy  learning  teaching  experiential  science  schools  schooldesign  lcproject  testing  grading  homework  sharing  collaboration  tcsnmy  community  agitpropproject  the2837university  children  unschooling  deschooling  bryanwelch  alternative  progressive  make  making  doing  thinkering  tinkering  openstudio  gevertulley  brightworks 
february 2011 by robertogreco

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