Edina Public Schools

  • Curriculum

  • Teaching Learners How to Question, Think, Act

    Posted by Julie Bascom at 11/10/2016

    This is a copy of a blog posted for the National Youth Leadership Council, on November 8, 2016.  Election Day


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    Teaching Learners How to Question, Think, Act


    From Julie Rogers Bascom, educator from Edina Public Schools, MN.

    As many teachers will tell you, this has been a difficult election to be leading classroom discussions about political candidates, the election, and voting. Yes, these are tough conversations, but all the more important to engage young thinkers in respectful exchanges to understand multiple perspectives. One of the ways that Edina Public Schools is addressing these dialogues is through our Kids Voting Edina program.

    Students experience lessons from the Kids Voting curriculum, available at Minnesota Civic Youth, which are aligned to MN State Social Studies Standards. One of our teachers led a lesson on voting — learners could choose to have a snack from a box of cookies or from a box of crackers. Most “voted” for a cookie and were surprised when what was in the box of cookies were crackers. “Hey, that’s not what we voted for,” said several of the students.

    The teacher then led a discussion about how you need to look past the outside to see what’s in the inside. This applies not only to elections, but the playground, the new student in the class or someone who is experiencing homelessness.

    Through service-learning, we develop responsible and engaged citizens.

    On Election Day, kids can then go to the poll with their parents or caregivers and vote using a ballot created just for kids on the same candidate adults are voting for — it even has pictures.

    Exercising our right to vote is a learned skill — many first-time voters aren’t familiar with HOW to vote, so they don’t. Kids Voting is teaching learners how to question, think and act.

    And while voting in and of itself is not direct or indirect service, it is part of teaching our young people how to advocate. In order to change systems, they need to develop voice.

    One of the voices I’m listening to is Bruce Acosta. As part of Edina High School’s 10th grade Passion Project, Bruce addressed the issue of “Engaging Young People in Politics” as a sophomore last year. The Passion Project is a year long experience in the school’s 10th Grade Language Arts course. Students identify a topic or issue they are passionate about, research, and write a 10-page paper. Within that topic area or interest, they are asked to take action. about how service-learning is one way to engage more youth in politics.

    Through service-learning, we develop responsible and engaged citizens — helping our rising leaders to make future decisions with not just their heads, but also with their hearts.

    Comments (-1)
  • Service and College Admission

    Posted by Julie Bascom at 1/25/2016 12:00:00 PM

    I often receive calls from concerned parents - "where can my child do service in order to use it on their college application?"  While I'm always happy that young people engage in service, I encourage parents to think about how their child would meet an authentic community need.  Ask the student what community problem he/she would like to change.  I'm about student engagement - not just showing up to log hours that will help the student.

     

    In my inbox last week was an article written by Richard Weissbourd from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, summarizing the report, "Turning the Tide."  This report contends that it’s not the quantity of service (number of hours) that college admission counselors should look at but it’s how students “immerse themselves in an experience that is meaningful to them over a sustained period of time and whether they learn about themselves; the perspectives of others, especially those who are different in background and character; and their responsibilities to their community.”

     

    How is Edina Public Schools addressing this?

    Service-Learning.

     

     

     

     

    Comments (-1)
  • IPARD

    Posted by Julie Bascom at 1/13/2016 3:00:00 PM

    Service-learning is an instructional strategy that connects learning with service.  We use an inquiry cycle called IPARD.

    • Investigation - finding out the what, where, why, how and when of the community problem you are trying to solve.
    • Planning and Preparation - getting ready to solve the problem through service.
    • Action - when the actual service takes place
    • Reflection - thinking about the learning and service before, during and after.
    • Demonstration - letting people know how you served and the impact you made.

     

     

    Comments (-1)

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