Blogs on After-School Learning

Blogs on After-School LearningRSS
Kim DabbsApril 24, 2014

That computer mouse that fits so nicely in your hand, the way your iPhone reacts to your creative way of spelling, the "so simple why didn't I think of that?" processes you encounter every day -- these are the result of design thinking, a sequential process embraced by innovative companies and entrepreneurs. Design thinking, or human-centered design, is an empowering way to solve problems and design products and solutions by starting with discovery, moving on to ideation and rapid prototyping, then testing, and finally execution.

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Suzie BossFebruary 7, 2014

International educator Scot Hoffman is a big believer in the power of curiosity to drive learning. After nearly two decades of teaching around the globe, he also realizes that school isn't always so hospitable to inquiring minds. (As Einstein said, "It's a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.") That's why Hoffman has developed The Curiosity Project, a self-directed learning experience that engages students, parents, and teachers as collaborators in inquiry.

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aaronkaioDecember 11, 2013

Two years ago when my wife and I moved to Madison, Wisconsin, I was lucky enough to get a job at a new project- and environment-based charter school, Badger Rock Middle. After a tough first year of learning and experimenting (sometimes with the help of Edutopia and sometimes with the help of other teachers like Sara Krauskopf, on whose project the following lesson is based), I have become more confident in assigning projects and letting students take them as far as possible.

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Jez LuckettDecember 5, 2013

All my teaching qualifications derive from my experience as an overweight and underprivileged youth who transformed his life after becoming a contestant on a successful reality weight loss show (yes, that one). My background is not in education. No, my background is in pepperoni and black olive pizza. This is the story of an afterschool program that I started for fifth and sixth graders at Akili Academy in New Orleans. The program is called Akili's Makin' Groceries. Being the fattest kid in class qualifies me to help students make connections between foods that are healthy vs. foods that are not. I learned the hard way.

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Beth HollandOctober 30, 2013

In the past few months, the flipped learning model has hit mainstream media with articles appearing in the New York Times and even Southwest Airlines' Spirit magazine. Traditionally, students learn new information through lecture or direct instruction while in school. Conversely, in a flipped class, students gain content knowledge at home through audio, video and text, so that more class time can be devoted to discussion, exploration and experimentation.

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Seth LindenOctober 11, 2013

Several things become apparent after tutoring for 20 years. For one, the number of students working with tutors continues to grow. Two, working 1:1 with students is immensely gratifying, both for the tutor and tutee. And three, a few specific yet generalized characteristics become crystalized about all successful tutors.

Personalized tutoring fills a niche that can't be filled in today's schools alone. Tutoring is becoming more common in schools with blended learning programs. The Gates Foundation is giving grants to innovative online tutoring companies like Tutor.com and Khan Academy. More and more parents and educators are realizing that tutoring gets to the heart of learning, personalizing the meaning and instruction of the subject at hand. With all the distraction in today's hyper-technological world, some face-to-face interaction through mentoring, tutoring and coaching is exactly what students need most.

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Wow, it's been a busy summer. August completely snuck up on me -- and for many parents and educators, it's nearly back-to-school time. After all the June chatter about summer slide and learning loss, even the most well-intentioned parents have probably let their kids zone out in front of the television. But in a matter of weeks, we need to have those little learners ready to re-engage in their education and start a whole new year.

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Craig HaasMay 23, 2013

In assembling the plan for expanded learning time (ELT) at the Edwards Middle School, we drew inspiration from our own special education department. Too often, special education is viewed as a place or a static state, when the truth is that special education is a series of interventions, modifications, and accommodations afforded to students who are unable to access a curriculum under routine circumstances. ELT, too, is a series of interventions, and so, in applying some special education principles, we gained some valuable insights.

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Hassan MansarayMay 22, 2013

Not satisfied with students' progress on district- and state-mandated tests -- and after careful deliberation by administration and staff -- the Edwards Middle School implemented the Massachusetts Expanded Learning Time (ELT) Initiative in the 2006/07 school year. ELT has since become an integral part of the school day, where students receive an additional 60 minutes of support instruction in some core academic classes like English and math, and 90 minutes of electives in arts, sports and music, and other enrichment activities.

In order to maximize the benefits of ELT for students, I looked for ways to fine tune my approach to teaching individualized learning in my English language arts classroom. One of the instructional models that informs my approach to teaching individualized learning is the Readers and Writers Workshop. This approach proved very helpful in optimizing ELT. Read More
Amrita SahniMay 21, 2013

In the fall of 2006, Clarence R. Edwards Middle School ("the Edwards" as it is known locally within Boston Public Schools) became one of the first schools in the state of Massachusetts to implement the Expanded Learning Time (ELT) Initiative. The reasons why were simple: we were not making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and we wanted to make significant academic gains with our students. As it turned out, making our school day longer was one of the best things we could have done to help reform our school model and improve student outcomes. Our statewide exam scores, student enrollment, daily student attendance rate, community and family engagement, and time for team teaching/collaboration all improved as a result of ELT.

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