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Year In Review: Edutopia's Staff Picks for 2010

We look back on 2010 and spotlight our favorite articles, videos, blogs, and discussions.

    Cindy Johanson, Executive Director

    Ten Simple Strategies for Re-engaging Students
    Andrew joined the Edutopia blogging corps this past summer. His posts quickly became must-reads for me -- providing the inspirational and informational front-line perspective we seek to share through Edutopia. This recent post was written after Andrew's English 101 class seemed bored and uninterested. It's a fabulous list of suggestions for any teacher -- including taking your class outside the four walls of a classroom and expanding the audience beyond a teacher of one.

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    David Markus, Editorial Director

    Grand Slam: Performance Poetry Engages Students
    My pick is this video about Global Writes, the Bronx-based group promoting "slam" poetry in high schools around America, because, in showing fresh young poets performing, it illustrates the words a famous poet once said that I have never forgotten: "A poem begins with a lump in the throat."

    Maili Holiman, Creative Director

    Video Picks of the Week
    I love Amy’s weekly round-up of educational videos -- sometimes they are funny or inspirational, sometimes she features viral trends you can't miss, and I love when she finds clips from the past.

    Grace Rubenstein, Senior Producer

    Why Many Students Should Pass on Ivy League Schools
    Esther Wojcicki, Huffington Post blogger and veteran high school journalism teacher, breathes some much-needed sanity into the frenzy of college admissions. She recounts her annual speech to students about how attending a top-tier school won't make or break their lives, and she encourages all teachers to do the same. I say: Hallelujah!

    Betty Ray, Community Manager

    Group: Reform Starts Here
    Edutopia's "Reform Starts Here" group is full of vibrant discussions about what it will take to REALLY reform education. There are a chorus of passionate voices offering actionable suggestions, thoughtful policy statements, and links to useful resources.

    Amy Erin Borovoy, Video Programming Producer

    How To Plan a Project
    The three "Anatomy of a Project" videos that we created for our project-based-learning Schools That Work package were tops in my book. Not only did they examine and explain robust inter-disciplinary projects for middle school *and* high school, but there were tools and downloads for those projects right there on the page to make it easier for teachers trying to reproduce them. We also included some great step-by-step articles to get you going in the right direction for PBL. You can get to all of these assets from the How To Plan a Project page.

    Elana Leoni, Social Media Marketing Coordinator

    Don't Let Big Reform Crush the Small Victories
    This was one of my favorite blogs of the year. This year especially there's been a significant amount of focus on what's not working in education. In this blog post, Gaetan writes an inspiring tale on how he (and many other teachers) day-in and day-out achieve small learning victories in the classroom by empowering and believing in students. A must read for anyone feeling frustrated by the current big-ticket one-size fits-all (aka Waiting for Superman) education reforms that currently dominate the mainstream media.

    Teacher Susan McCray Lights the Fire of Project Learning
    One word: wow! High school teacher Susan McCray reveals her inspiring expeditionary learning projects and they are not only compelling, but look at real-world problems to engage students. "When you push and challenge students to do things that they never thought they can do, there is noting more exhilarating." - Susan McCray

    Kathy Baron, Features Producer and Research Editor

    David Garibaldi: From Outlaw to International Hip Hop Artist
    I love the Garibaldi video. I think he's great and speaks directly and personally to career and technical education in a way that teachers really can't.

    Not My Father's Shop Class: Fusing Career Tech with College Prep
    And I know this is shameless self-promotion, but I really liked sharing a personal blog about my dad's shop class.

    Karen Sutherland, Video Editor

    Project Learning: Expeditions in Portland, Maine
    This video breaks down the elements of a project and shows why project-based learning is so powerful.

    Laurie Chu, Web Production Manager

    Heather Wolpert-Gawron's blog, My Love Affair with TED (.com)
    I liked this post because not only do I also love, but I found out that my kids are also partaking in the "democratization of information centers on this explosion of new, free, high-level information". I thought they were all about YouTube. I also liked the links to favorite TED lectures from Heather and our users who left comments.

    School Reform: Focusing on College Prep is Key
    I subscribe to Bob Lenz's RSS blog feed because Bob has done it all in the educational arena, and is a true reform leader. He was integral in creating the integrated studies curricula (two-year blended program academies) at my girls' high school.

    Ken Ellis, Executive Producer, Video

    Project Learning: Expeditions in Portland, Maine
    Just watch it.

    Milton Chen, Senior Fellow and Executive Director Emeritus

    Schools That Work: Online Learning
    A timely feature, given the growing interest and improvement in online courses. The package showed how online learning confronts traditional thinking on what a school is and how a course is organized. It also revealed how, counter-intuitively, the online experience can be more personal and enable more types of students to succeed.

    Lora Ma, Executive Producer, Web

    Ten Big Ideas of School Leadership
    I loved all the articles and video in this episode of Schools That Work (Project Learning Meets 1-to-1 Laptop Technology), but this particular piece was inspiring *and* useful! Sound tips from a beloved principal with a genuine interest in helping kids learn.