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The overnight residential planned by the students of REAL School aged 8–12 was a great example of kids taking ownership of something substantial, and, well… owning it.

From a Dream…

In the run up to the start of this school year, the REAL School team spent some time searching for a project that would meet key needs of a new group of students. We had decided appropriately that all learning would revolve around the overarching question of ‘how do we build relationships?’. …

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One of the Arcology Maps for the game unit

I felt solace in knowing that I was not alone in sleeplessness on the first night of Utopia/Dystopia. Sarita had emailed me and said her daughter was awash in ideas and enthusiasm for our new role playing unit, wondering how her character would engage in the world at the end of the 21st century. I could not sleep for the same reason, but in a different context; what had I missed in designing this unit?

For the past couple months, Jesse and I had steadily built up the upcoming thematic unit. After hearing several kids ask if we would repeat…

Schools have not gone far enough or fast enough to change to meet the needs of today. While the world of education has come up with some excellent models, their adoption is happening at a snails pace.

Take the 21st Century Skills. Aptly named, as they were highlighted as the skills needed at the dawn of the 21st Century. Here we are, nearly a quarter of the way into the time period mentioned in the name, and they are still secondary to subject centered outcomes classified in the 19th Century.

The world is changing, the world of education is holding…

This is vent piece, one that has been building up for ages, but necessary.

As an educator, some things take up an inordinate amount of time. Time that could be used to actively engage with students, build plans to make your learning environment pop, or at the very least restore a little bit of personal well-being. Maybe connect with your family, who knows?

Instead, we are driven by systemic mores to create pieces which I see as having fairly trivial meaning to the educational process of a kid: their report card. And people care about it. Way too much.


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prototype of a student designed game… lots of focus here!

“Make the Right Choice! Make the Right Choice!”

A chant sounds out of a classroom here in Green School, alluding to a political rally of some populist regime. The truth is, these kids are indeed re-enacting fascism in Germany in the 1930’s and are trying to prevent Hitler from being elected Chancellor.

They are playing a card game called Secret Hitler, which was selected as an example of a game you can print and play. Almost every student and teacher had never heard of this game, and so they worked through the rules. There was a bit of impatience, but…

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Our Home Learning Space (formerly living room)

On Friday, I met with my school community to discuss whether or not we would close the school. After a great discussion, we decided it we would continue provided the government or other international schools don’t close. A few hours after that meeting, the government issued a statement that all schools are closed as of Monday.

That put a bit of fuel into my tanks, and over the weekend I sat behind my computer working through the details of providing structure for our new distance learning program. …

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Photo by Frida Aguilar Estrada on Unsplash

Time and time again, I return to the understanding that games are not just entertainment, but a very real (and arguably dominant) media form in contemporary culture. The interest from students of all ages is high, yet games are rarely if ever integrated into standardized curricula. When it comes to finding something that is relevant, this form of media is definitely a low hanging fruit. Yet, even in progressive schools the closest I have seen to using a game as a media piece to study was reading a book like Ready Player One.

When I first started teaching many years…

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Photo by Isabel Retamales on Unsplash

In my opinion the best times in school are when we are working alongside kids. They are genuine and funny and full of good energy (well, most of the time). My job does not always allow me to do that though… there are many elements to being an educator that happen outside the classroom.

And then a thought hit me… what if I engaged the kids in the REAL parts of running a school? Perhaps giving them roles that we could work together would work. After all.. These are REAL parts of a school, and REAL learning experiences. …

I have been diving deep into systems thinking for the past couple weeks, as this is the topic of inquiry for this part of the school year. It is both hard and really fun to explore an super complex, but beautifully applicable tool that we carry our whole lives. As part of this process, I have applied for a microcredential using my classroom experience as evidence of understanding. These are the prompts from Digital Promise, a non-profit focused on creating better education around the world.

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Overview of Project

How do you know your students increased their proficiency by engaging in the systems thinking…

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

By Lili Popper

Climate change is an issue our kids will, unfortunately, have to battle within their lifetimes, and as such, it is important to prepare them properly. However laying out the plain facts for them might not be the greatest idea, unless you want your offspring to fill your living room with an ocean of tears. The increase in ocean salinity levels is bad enough already, thank you. So in an attempt to save your kids from years of anxiety, here are some tips on how to do it more delicately.

Credit for the tips in this blog post…

Noan Fesnoux

Noan is an overall green fellow, with lots of expertise in how to best live sustainably, teach sustainability to our future generations, and love nature

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