Two weeks before the launch of the 2016-17 school year, new teachers circled up together for the first time on our campus for an intensive introduction to Expeditionary Learning Education at The Franklin School of Innovation. Anne Vilen, Franklin’s EL Education School Coach and I had the great pleasure of working alongside these spirited and inspiring educators in Franklin’s EL 101 Bootcamp, designed to immerse teachers in experiential learning with these Learning Targets:
I can describe how we teach and learn at an EL Education school
I can explain how a positive culture supports achievement in EL classrooms
I can describe the purpose of Crew for students, teachers, and classrooms
I can name and commit to consistencies for instruction and assessment at FSI
I can balance self-compassion and growth mindset.
This training required that we all wear both teacher and student hats. As students, we engaged in inquiry, dug deeply into content & methodology, and experienced EL as a learner. As adult learners/teachers, we grappled with how to transfer and apply the processes, practices, strategies that we were experiencing in our own classrooms and administrative roles at FSI. We reflected on our learning and set professional goals for the year ahead, realizing that we all must practice FSI’s Habits of Scholarship as teachers!
I’m very honored to be Director of Curriculum and Coaching at Franklin and to collaborate with our Faculty Crew, new and old, as we strive to fulfill FSI’s Mission and, as an Affiliate, the Mission of EL Education: “To create classrooms where teachers can fulfill their highest aspirations, and students achieve more than they think possible, becoming active contributors to building a better world.”
“EL Education’s core work is building the capacity of teachers and schools through professional development, professional resources, and curriculum. When students and teachers are engaged in work that is challenging, adventurous and meaningful, learning and achievement flourish.” Read more here: http://eleducation.org/
From the pinnacle of Mt. Mitchell, which I recently hiked one crisp sunny November day with family and friends from The Franklin School of Innovation, you can spot Table Rock and Hawksbill on the rim of the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area. Mt. Mitchell has long been a special place for me, both as a favorite family hike when I was a child, and as a teacher, having been the destination for hiking and camping with my students to start and end the year at the highest point east of the Mississippi River.
“I regard it as the foremost task of education to insure the survival of these qualities: an enterprising curiosity, an indefatigable spirit, tenacity in the pursuit, readiness for sensible self-denial, and above all, compassion.” -Kurt Hahn, Founder of Outward Bound
Now that I’ve had the opportunity to experience an Outward Bound Educator Initiative wilderness training, on that very Table Rock you can spy from Mt. Mitchell, I’m even more keen to take students into the wilderness, both literally and figuratively!
The power of experiential learning is simply this:
–challenging students to take risks, collaborate, think and act responsibly, creatively and critically, and as their best selves–
whether in the wilderness (navigating new territory with a compass and out-dated map, climbing, kayaking, tying knots, cooking for your crew…)
…or in the classroom (working in teams to solve problems, collecting and analyzing water quality data, drafting and redrafting historical fiction based upon a slave narrative recorded in the archives of the National Library of Congress…).
The key is for each individual to be “Crew, not Passenger,” to be present and truly engaged, self-reflective, and able to set authentic goals for personal and collective growth. In the classroom, as on an Outward Bound adventure,“By conquering their own challenges, participants discover their true potential and realize they are capable of more than they ever imagined.” (See: http://www.ncobs.org/about)
Expeditions, planned and carried out this year at each grade level, are vital to this self-discovery and authentic learning.
“There is more in us than we know. If we can be made to see it, perhaps for the rest of our lives we will be unwilling to settle for less.“
– Kurt Hahn, Founder of Outward Bound
Outward Bound Heritage informs our FSI Habits of Scholarship
I am especially excited to be part of the Franklin School of Innovation, an EL Education school that honors and holds true the heritage of Outward Bound, a commitment to these values,
Physical Fitness: Building the physical and emotional stamina to meet challenges.
Craftsmanship: Modeling quality and intention in one’s actions.
Self-Reliance:Being resourceful, recognizing and applying personal strengths.
Compassion: Selflessly engaging in the welfare and dignity of others.
Diversity: Embracing people’s differences as sources of learning and growth.
Safety: Managing risk for physical and emotional safety in everything we do.
Service: – Acting selflessly to meet the needs of others and our environment.
Leadership: – Utilizing collaborative relationships to initiate collective action.
Environmental Stewardship: Preserving our natural world for posterity.
which are aligned with our Habits of Scholarship.The traits of FSI scholars:
Press Release for FSI’s 8th Grade “Water is Life!” Expedition Celebration of Learning
Friday, May 27, 8:15 am – 2pm, at 21 Innovation Dr, off Sardis Rd.
For Immediate Release: On Friday, May 27, Franklin School of Innovation 8th Grade Students will partner with Asheville GreenWorks to clean a 2-mile portion of Hominy Creek during FSI’s Celebration of Learning! The stream clean is the culmination of a six-week study, in which students studied the impact of water on the history of Buncombe County and the lives of its residents. During the “Water Is Life!” Celebration of Learning, students will share science projects, math data, their collective website project, and skits. We invite interested members of the community to share in this celebration of learning and participate in the stream-clean up.
This year, all Franklin students have participated in a Learning Expedition, an in-depth study through which students study big questions from multiple perspectives. FSI Learning Expeditions have also encourage students to take action towards sustainability through service-learning. The 8th Grade Expedition focused on water, which plays a crucial role in the development of communities throughout history. Students investigated the meaning of the phrase “Water is Life” from historical, literary, and scientific perspectives. Guiding questions and culminating projects for each core subject:
In ELA: How do different cultural narratives about water inform our human story? Students have created skits to adapt the folklore from the cultures that called the French Broad River home during the 17th and 18th centuries.
In Science: How can an understanding of the hydrosphere, watersheds, and human uses of water in history and today impact our stewardship of water resources? Students created a water quality index to evaluate the health of Hominy Creek
In Math: How can data be converted into visual formats that are easily understood and compelling? Students analyzed the data collected from Hominy Creek
In Social Studies: How have groups in history and today competed for, cooperated, and conflicted over water resources in North Carolina? Students researched the history of the cultures of the people living near the French Broad River during the 17th and 18th centuries and presented their findings on a student-designed website.
Please join us for an inspiring morning of Expeditionary Learning!
Agenda for Celebration of Learning:
8:15- 8:30- Welcoming and agenda for the day is presented.
8:30- 9:45- Gallery walk presentation of Lab Reports and SS work and ELA performances.
FSI 8th graders, on this “Water is Life!” expedition have been collecting data on pH, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, nitrates, and phosphates in Hominy Creek, investigating whether the creek can support aquatic life and the safety and potability of creek water. Data will be shared with environmental groups working to improve water quality throughout our region. In support of this Water Quality Index Project, Peggy Altman, 8th Grade math teacher, and I applied for and were awarded a Burrough’s Welcome PRISM grant to purchase $3,000 of LabQuest Probes. These tools enable our students to do the work of real scientists, both in the Water Quality Index and in other inquiry based science projects across all grade levels at FSI.
Getting out into the real world to take action
Earlier this spring, students collaborated with GreenWorks to plant a 100-tree “live stakes” nursery at Franklin. The native trees will provide a source for stakes that will be planted along Hominy Creek as part of creek restoration efforts. Collectively, Franklin students have planted nearly 1,000 trees this year! We are grateful for having the support of our community: Greenworks, Eric Bradford, Mountain True, Friends of Hominy Creek, RiverLink, and an amazing crew of 8th grade teachers and students to be leaders in taking learning into positive action on behalf of a more sustainable planet.
Having recently investigated the cultural and environmental history of Asheville and its environment, with a focus on the consequences and impacts of migration, FSI high school students have been guided by the question: “What is the value of diversity?”
Student-directed inquiry over the course of this 9th-10th grade Learning Expedition, “On the Move,” has identified a consequence of movement and change: the current shortage of affordable housing in the Asheville area.
Seeking to make a positive difference, through Asheville’s Habitat for Humanity service learning project: Student Build #3, Franklin School of Innovation has joined forces with Christ School, Carolina Day, and ACA .
The Student Leadership teams from each school met on April 20, 2016 at Asheville’s Habitat for Humanity to learn more about fundraising and house-building, and to visit the Shiloh neighborhood, where we’ll be constructing our Student Build #3 home. We were greeted in the Shiloh Community Garden by Anita White, a retired UNCA librarian and expert historian, who welcomed and inspired us with stories of the Shiloh neighborhood history.
Off to a great start, the Student Build Leadership Team submitted a grant to State Farm and was awarded $3,000!
This is just the beginning of a long term service-learning project. Please stay tuned as our FSI Student Build Leadership Team members, Sydney Freeman, Emma McDowell, and Meredith Bordeaux, finalize and share fundraising initiatives. FSI is proud to be the first public charter school to participate in an Asheville Habitat for Humanity Student Build project.
ON THE MOVE! In this expedition, students looked at different populations of people, plants, and animals migrating throughout Asheville. We explored the diversity of these groups and how they have changed over time. In Civics, students completed a case-study of a neighborhood in Asheville, digging into demographics and census data to paint a picture of how the neighborhood has changed; in ELA, students crafted a spoken word poem to reflect the consequences of those changes in their studied neighborhood; in Science, students collected and analyzed data on plant, bird, and tree species, examining a question of biodiversity through a scientific research paper; in Math, students created data displays from their science and social students research using graphs and statistics.
If you had visited The Franklin School of Innovation 7th grade this month, you would have definitely seen and heard students leading their own learning, through: inquiry, innovation, and design-thinking, as they practiced the work of scientists, historians, writers, artists, and mathematicians. I recently visited a class Sarah Gold had dedicated to independent work time. Here’s what she was facilitating, as students engaged in the work of the day:
Complete work on each of the following sections of your infographic:
Who is Rube Goldberg? What is a Rube Goldberg machine? Why did we build Rube Goldberg machines in science? How does this relate to the expedition?
Sketch & Description
See student folder in g-drive for scanned-in sketch
Write a step-by-step account of how your Rube Goldberg machine works, including how each of the simple machines are involved. (See rubric attached for details.)
Machines and Mechanical Advantage
What is mechanical advantage? How do the simple machines in your Rube Goldberg create mechanical advantage? How does this help you do work on the marble? (See rubric attached for details.)
Work and energy are basically the same thing. What types of energy does your Rube Goldberg machine use to work? How is energy transferred throughout your Rube Goldberg? How is potential energy transformed to kinetic energy or vice versa in your RG machine? (See rubric attached for details.)
Palpable to all present were the purpose and intensity of this 7th grade science classroom circle! Seventh graders held silent attention to instructions for the moment of truth: demonstration of Rube Goldberg machines that work. All the Habits of Scholarship and the Academic Standards were magically merged into the practical demonstration of each RG design machine tested in a group of peers. Feedback was kind, timely, and meaningful. Design tweaks were made, based upon this supportive feedback, and most were successful. When they weren’t it was GROWTH MINDSET, that kicked in. Each student was supported and inspired to problem-solve and redesign for success.
This is Expeditionary Learning at its best.
7th graders started their exploration of Simple Machines by creating and assessing the effectiveness of human machines in the Expedition Kickoff:
Just in case you were curious, these are NC State Standards for Science covered in this Expediton:
7.P.1.1 Explain how the motion of an object can be described by its position, direction of motion, and speed with respect to some other object.
7.P.1.2 Explain the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces acting on an object (including friction, gravity and magnets).
7.P.2.1 Explain how kinetic and potential energy contribute to the mechanical energy of an object.
7.P.2.2 Explain how energy can be transformed from one form to another (specifically potential energy and kinetic energy) using a model or diagram of a moving object (roller coaster, pendulum, or cars on ramps as examples).
7.P.2.3 Recognize that energy can be transferred from one system to another when two objects push or pull on each other over a distance (work)…
7.P.2.4 Explain how simple machines such as inclined planes, pulleys, levers and wheel and axles are used to create mechanical advantage and increase efficiency.
How do machines work?
How did machines change working conditions as countries industrialized?
How does technological change shape Asheville’s workplace today?
Long-term learning targets:
I can explain the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces acting on an object.
I can explain how energy is transferred and transformed in mechanical systems.
I can model energy transfer from one system to another when work is done.
I can explain how simple machines increase the efficiency of work.
Daily learning targets:
I can design and build a Rube Goldberg machine that does work on a marble.
I can demonstrate how energy is transferred and transformed in mechanical systems and how simple machines increase the efficiency of work.
I can present my design and analysis using accurate scale drawings, data, calculations, and text in an infographic using Piktochart.
In this lesson, students will apply their knowledge of complex and simple machines to design a Rube Goldberg Machine. Students will calculate the mechanical advantage of 1, 2, 3, or more simple machines in their design. Students should also relate Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion to their machine.
Pre-requisite knowledge: Exposure to Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion. Experience with six simple machines. Practice working mechanical advantage problems and efficiency.
Meanwhile, in Mr. Clendenin’s 7th Grade Social Studies Classes: students have created Illustrated Mind Maps to share what they’ve learned on expedition about Technology and Work and social, ethical, environmental consequences:
Here are a few of the Social Science Learning Targets students have been tracking their mastery of in this expedition:
I can describe the changes in farming methods that created the “Agricultural Revolution.” I can explain how the Agricultural Revolution created an increase in industrialization. I can identify and explain specific inventions that sparked the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. I can explain how new inventions lead to the creation of the factory system in England. I can describe how the factory system changed the face of labor in England. I can explain how the Industrial Revolution sparked the rise of capitalism and the main characteristics of that economic system. I can explain how the economic conflict created by the rise of capitalism affected society.I can describe the environmental consequences of urbanization and industrialization. I can explain how society responded to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution. I can explain how industrialization changed political ideas in society.
(There are many more, but this list gives blog readers a “gist” of the deep thinking required for students and teachers on this expedition!)
Want to test your knowledge of simple machines and work?
In ELA: https://sites.google.com/a/thefsi.us/fsi-7th-grade-15-16/home/english-language-arts/weekof3-14-16
Living Portraits and interviews with members of our FSI community about technology in the workplace…
Thank you all who have participated in this invaluable opportunity for FSI students to apply knowledge in practicing authentic inquiry, leadership, research, and writing! We are looking forward to the final celebration of learning for the 7th grade expedition!
When a ship is flying Blue Peter, everyone knows that its voyage is about to begin!
FSI grade level crews have launched three expeditions in the past couple of weeks!
“On Expedition” are:
9th-10th Grades in “On the Move”
Throughout this expedition, students will look at different populations of people and animals migrating throughout Asheville. They will explore the diversity of these groups and how they have changed over time. In Civics, students will complete a case-study of a neighborhood in Asheville, digging into demographics and census data to paint a picture of how the neighborhood has changed over time; in ELA, students will craft a spoken word poem to reflect the consequences of those changes in their studied neighborhood; in Science, students will be collecting data on plant species, bird, and tree species, examining a question of biodiversity through a scientific research paper; in Math, students will create data displays from their science and social students research using graphs and statistics. Students’ elective courses will also supplement the expedition through song-writing and scientific drawings. Our celebrations of learning will take place on:
March 24th, on the FSI campus– Science fair-style with the FSI community
Saturday, April 23rd, at Grey Eagle–Habitat for Humanity FSI Student Build Kick-Off & Fundraiser!!! (More info on this event coming soon!)
Students will share science projects, math data, neighborhood projects, song lyrics, art classes, spoken word poems with the FSI and larger Asheville area communities. They will each select at least two pieces out of the work samples that answer the essential questions:
Why do people move?
What are the consequences of moving?
Why is diversity good? 1. Why don’t we stay in one place? Why do we move?
2. What is the impact of invasives on biodiversity on the FSI property?
3. How can data inform and influence our decision making?
4. What does the data tell us about migration and invasives? Civics-
5. What are the local, state, and federal political issues with immigration?
6. How is Asheville impacted through immigration?
7. How can I help create a more diverse population at FSI?
Water plays a crucial role in the development of communities throughout history. It is a source of conflict, cooperation, and competition between stakeholders in a community. Understanding the history and science of water–biologically and chemically–is key to maintaining water quality and explaining how a water source can serve multiple needs and uses. For this expedition, students will investigate the meaning of the phrase “Water is Life” from historical, literary, and scientific perspectives.
As a culminating task, students will create a Hominy Creek Festival on the FSI Campus to share what we’ve learned about water quality, what we can do to make a difference, and our our studies have inspired creative and critical thinking and doing. We’ll host a River Clean UP! (Stay tuned for more info.)
How can an understanding of the hydrosphere, watersheds, and human uses of water in history and today impact our stewardship of water resources? (Science)
How can data be converted into visual formats that are easily understood and compelling? (Math)
How have groups in history and today competed for, cooperated, and conflicted over water resources in North Carolina (Social Studies)
How do different cultural narratives about water inform our human story? (ELA)
In science, students are building Rube Goldberg machines in order to demonstrate Newton’s laws of force and motion, the law of energy conservation, and how the mechanical advantage provided by simple machines makes work more efficient. In social studies, students are creating “Illustrated Thinking Maps” that illustrate and prove how technological change created a multitude of effects for people, places, and regions when countries industrialize. In math, students are applying knowledge of measurement and geometric figures to create scale drawings, beginning with a drawing of a simple, three-dimensional skimmer and building up to an accurate scale drawing of their finished Rube Goldberg machines. Lastly, in ELA, students are preparing to interview professionals ranging from police officers and firefighters to doctors and graphic designers in an effort to determine how technological change has impacted these people’s professions as well as their daily lives. With this information, students will write “Living Portraits” and will create an artistic silhouette component, which will both be displayed during our “Celebration of Learning” at Warren Wilson College on April 7th.
How do machines work?
How did machines change working conditions as countries industrialized?
How does technological change shape Asheville’s workplace today?
Read more about this innovation project from Ms. Gold’s class: https://sites.google.com/a/thefsi.us/the-gold-standard/home/modules/4—work-matters/week05-february22
The 7th grade will be taking its expedition on the road next week! On Wednesday, March 9th and Thursday, March 10th, students will visit Thermo Fisher Scientific in Weaverville.
TFS Laboratories “help scientists meet the challenges they face in the lab or in the field every day. From routine analysis to new discoveries, [their] innovations help professionals do the science they need to do, the way they want to do it. [Thermo Fisher’s] high-end analytical instruments, laboratory equipment, software, services, consumables and reagents help our customers solve complex analytical challenges, improve patient diagnostics and increase laboratory productivity.”
More to come on all these Expeditions! Stay tuned. We look forward to inviting the larger community to all the celebrations of learning. There’s so much to celebrate at FSI.
Every year FSI faculty crew members participate in an EL Education Quality Work Protocol to gather and assess data representative of our growth towards meeting our school improvement Work Plan goals in these Dimensions of Achievement: Mastery of Knowledge and Skills Character High-Quality Student Work.
We collect and dig into a wide variety of data sets to measure growth and set new goals, from MAP testing scores to Habits of Scholarship. We survey students and go on schoolwide”culture walks,” hold student and parent focus groups, and conduct a QWP “gallery walk” of teacher assignments, rubrics, criteria and the resulting student products.
Why? Teachers, leaders, and students use this data to deepen our own practice in teaching and learning.
Teachers share analysis and synthesis of data with students to deepen their learning and to better understand the connections between HoS and Academic Achievement. We examine the relationship between classroom norms to strengthen a culture that celebrates and supports FSI students’ responsibility for learning. This data also helps directly focus our Professional Learning Crew work in differentiated curriculum planning that fosters Deeper Learning.
Following a deeper dive into the data by our Leadership Team, we brainstormed lots of ideas based on this feedback. Leadership Crew shared wonderful ideas for communicating assignments, expectations, rubrics, and high quality student work to parents in a more timely and effective way. We invite the community to celebrate learning, and growing, with us! There’s much to celebrate, and room to grow.
Students in Carolyn Warhaftig’s 7th grade ELA classes were challenged this month to choose a civil rights activist for in-depth research. FSI 7th graders were invited to choose a specific person or possibly a movement of people who they individually believe stood up for the rights of others.
Their assignment (in summary, from Carolyn’s Lesson Plan notes):
Research the activist you’re most curious to learn more about and prepare background information on their lives, their pursuits, and their achievements. From your research, you must create a brief biography, to be presented in approximately 5 minutes, and then you must be prepared to answer questions about your presentation/topic to an audience from another grade level at FSI.
You must also create a visual representation of your civil rights activist/group, which will accompany your presentation. Visually depict the life, times, and purpose of this individual or group of activists, and present a biographical synthesis of your learning to an authentic audience.
Research Complete – Friday, January 8th
In-class Work Time (Presentation and Visual) – Monday, January 11th – Wednesday, January 13th
Final Prep / Practice (In Class) – Thursday, January 14th
Final Presentation – Friday, January 15th
Blogger NOTE: Photos for this quick blog post only represent the small number of presentations I was able to zoom around to attend. I’m hoping that more photos will be sent my way to add to this post, and I invite comments from 7th grade Social Activists and FSI audience members of other grade levels, to share what they’ve learned in the comments section!