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    #184974 - 03/15/14 01:46 PM Ideal educational setting
    psychland Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/27/14
    Posts: 69
    I am asking for parents to brainstorm. If you could create the ideal educational environment where your child was academically challenged and getting appropriate social interaction for their age what would that look like? I am hoping to get some ideas and find common threads among the ideas so please be specific and don't try to be reasonable:)!

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    #184976 - 03/15/14 02:27 PM Re: Ideal educational setting [Re: psychland]
    Sweetie Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/05/11
    Posts: 669
    The whole school (my setting would be a school) would have reading/literature at the same exact time and would be multi aged classes based on reading level.

    Same with math and science, to a certain extent, multi aged based on level but I don't think would need to be scheduled at the same exact time.

    Our elementary school is 1100 kids projected to get bigger and bigger with more portables. I think that is obnoxiously big. My ideal school would never be that big.

    There would be a period every day for the children to explore own interests. Long before the whole genius hour trend I read about a teacher who had "work time" and she walked around conferencing individuals and groups working on all sorts of things during work time...from skits, to learning about rocks and minerals, to just reading for pleasure, to researching artists. The kids used post it notes to collect information and then would share what they were doing with the whole group.

    My ideal school would have no homework other than a general pleasant request to read each day.

    My ideal school would make science fair optional and if my child actually wanted to do it he would do every stinking part of it in a separate science fair class with an adult and other kids who actually like science fair. I would pay good money for that.

    My ideal school....this sounds silly...but because I have multi aged kids for various classes...the kids would change classes like middle and high school kids and the kids would rarely "line up". I mean maybe that wouldn't work but dang so much time is spent on " you are not in line and quiet" that I would just eliminate it for the most part.

    Oh!!!!

    There would be recess for every child! My 9 year old son has no recess...I think it is a crime! The grounds would be beautiful too...my son's school has no shade trees...any shade is from a shade tarp thing that cost thousands of dollars.


    And finally I don't know how this would work unless it was a private school but there would be (maybe MAP) testing at the beginning of the year and testing at the end of the year. Mid year testing would only be for kids that you actually need more information on...maybe if you think they could move up a level or having a bit of a struggle. My son is tested to Death! He spends tons of time testing, testing, testing and then the state test. Everything revolves around the testing. And the information they get for him isn't even used to make adjustments...for the lower students yes but they tell me his instructional reading level is now 9th grade (not G.E.) and it doesn't change a thing. Wow he is doing great, don't need to worry about him on "the test".

    He is going to finish elementary school next year there and then I guess the ideal environment IMO for him will be homeschool.
    _________________________
    ...reading is pleasure, not just something teachers make you do in school.~B. Cleary

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    #184978 - 03/15/14 03:36 PM Re: Ideal educational setting [Re: Sweetie]
    binip Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/10/14
    Posts: 96
    Aside from the multi-age my kids actually go to schools very similar to what you (Sweetie) want.

    Actually my first daughter did do multi-age K but she didn't like it because when the "big boys" (8-y-o boys) did not line up, instead they would race around, roughhouse and unintentionally intimidate the girls, from K - 2. They weren't being naughty. It was a natural consequence of the system and their ages. It was her number one complaint about the school. She likes the discipline of her school now because she doesn't have to worry about the big boys.

    Other than that it was great.

    I agree that no recess is a crime. That is insanity. EVERYONE needs breaks! frown

    What state are you in? Those conditions sound awful.


    Edited by binip (03/15/14 03:51 PM)

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    #184980 - 03/15/14 03:44 PM Re: Ideal educational setting [Re: psychland]
    binip Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/10/14
    Posts: 96
    I want no more than 150 children, spanning grades 1 - 12, starting no earlier than 7 years old, in the same classroom. Said kids all get three free hours of instruction at state preschools, which bus them from daycare centers and integrate children from all backgrounds.

    So they're all ready to start running at age seven.

    All learning is leveled but children are encouraged to jump from group to group as their learning accelerates in certain areas. Teachers expect that little Johnny has good and hard years, and work hard to make sure that every child is in the advanced group in SOMETHING. There are no labels without a medical diagnosis, you just know on average what group your child is in, from the 1 - 5.

    All students help take care of a school garden and tree nursery.

    IT support shadow is on the rotation for tasks the children perform for the school, as is attendance bookkeeping, principal's assistance duty, nurse's assistance duty, and library helper duty.

    And of course, trial by a jury of your peers (if necessary making sure that socio-economic and language is controlled for so that children are truly with peers).

    All schools are within walking distance for populations with an urban or suburban density population. Obviously that is not realistic for many small school districts, many of which span hundreds of square miles particularly here in the west.

    I would make the day shorter and more condensed, but keep after-school pick-up outsourced to a variety of non-profit and for-profits like chess clubs, drama clubs, sports clubs, art clubs, etc. (At our schools a kid can do a different activity each day of the week with parent pick-up at 5 p.m., and I like that a lot. My daughter is in two clubs and she loves them.)

    Project based-homework and homework support, so parents and kids can come together on weekends or parents can drop kids off on weekends, to get projects done. Parents are encouraged to come learn the project-based homework with the kids, particularly if they are English-language learners.


    Edited by binip (03/15/14 03:49 PM)

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    #184985 - 03/15/14 05:05 PM Re: Ideal educational setting [Re: Sweetie]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4225
    Originally Posted By: Sweetie
    The whole school (my setting would be a school) would have reading/literature at the same exact time and would be multi aged classes based on reading level.

    Same with math and science, to a certain extent, multi aged based on level
    Ditto.

    Quote:
    There would be a period every day for the children to explore own interests.
    Ditto.

    Quote:
    My ideal school would have no homework other than a general pleasant request to read each day.
    Maybe a bit of regular homework so kids could feel free to bring books home, siblings could see what each other are learning, and parents could stay in the loop.

    Quote:
    There would be recess for every child!
    Yes! And for PE, kiddos could have an option to focus on life-long fitness. For example, rather than being somewhat limited to exercise provided by participation in team sports during gym classes, students may be free to choose to dance (with possible course offerings in ballroom, tap, jazz, ballet, basic disco, 50's dances, 70's country line dances, square dances).

    Quote:
    The grounds would be beautiful too...my son's school has no shade trees...any shade is from a shade tarp thing that cost thousands of dollars.
    Yes, and maybe a small veggie garden patch, so interested kiddos can absorb information about the importance between caring for the earth, water, and soil... to the foods we eat... to ultimately our health.

    World languages.

    And daily optional "show and tell" which is actually practice for public speaking, an important skill.

    Hat tip to Sweetie, I piggybacked on your post. smile

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    #184988 - 03/15/14 05:26 PM Re: Ideal educational setting [Re: psychland]
    aquinas Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2277
    These ideas are biased toward an elementary setting, but they could easily be applied in upper years:

    - A Socratic method used in most/all classes.

    - All classes multi-age and ability linked. If students are several years accelerated in a subject, they can opt to take a sabbatical from standard coursework and pursue special interest topics or projects, or they can pursue dual enrollment.

    - All classes taught by subject experts, not necessarily teachers.

    - Students given personalized learning plans with individual-specific goals that are actually meaningful to the child's interests and development.

    - The school would have an extensive library and online periodical database on site, with a functional computer lab.

    - The school would have a rest space (ideally, a conservatory full of beautiful plants) with comfortable cots and couches. Any student would have the right to take a nap or read quietly as needed, even during class time, provided they are keeping up in course work.

    - Several breaks during the day for movement and refreshment, including a long lunch/recess (90 minutes) with a beautiful outdoor patio/solarium dining room.

    - A full service instructional kitchen where children could learn proper cooking technique. A small school community garden/greenhouse would be a terrific complement to both culinary instruction and biology.

    - Classes, particularly art and literature, held outside whenever the weather is nice. (I have such lovely memories of reading "A Midsummer Night's Dream" outside one May in the shade of some gorgeous trees. It was terrific!)

    - Multiple language options, without being limited to just taking a second language or modern languages.

    - Unconventional classes, depending on student interest: robotics, public speaking, rhetoric, programming, entrepreneurship, separate science classes from an early age rather than one amorphous "science" class, creative writing, music composition, architecture

    - A well equipped music class with high quality instruments that students can borrow

    - A maker studio, where students could carry out more complex projects, even auto mechanics projects or building a chopper!
    _________________________
    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

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    #185119 - 03/17/14 11:48 AM Re: Ideal educational setting [Re: psychland]
    GF2 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/13/14
    Posts: 74
    So many good ideas here. A few more:

    1. A leveled music program so that serious students can perform at a high level without waiting behind older, less-committed students.

    2. Plenty of quiet time and separate space for students and **serious** attention to the auditory/sensory overload of the typical school classroom and cafeteria.

    3. Serious (not nominal) mentoring options with college faculty in a range of subjects -- not just STEM. If a kid is ready to write about, say, the First Amendment and vaccine mandates, s/he should have access to an expert supervisor.

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    #185123 - 03/17/14 12:17 PM Re: Ideal educational setting [Re: psychland]
    Quantum2003 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/08/11
    Posts: 1425
    Well, an ideal educational setting would be private tutors tailored to meet an individual child's needs - think back to the aristocratic model of past centuries. Socialization would occur with children of family friends and relatives who presumably share similar values.

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    #197373 - 07/29/14 01:04 PM Re: Ideal educational setting [Re: psychland]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4225
    The ideal educational environment for challenging gifted children would not be limited to the curriculum and pacing of common core.

    Children would be encouraged to access curriculum which stretches their abilities including college-level material, based on interest and ability, regardless of their age.

    There would be no beheading of tall tulips or cutting of tall poppies to create an appearance of uniformity:
    Originally Posted By: M. Gross article
    A man is working in the gardens and I am intrigued by what he is doing. There is a bed of tulips, golden like sunlight, lifting their heads to the high Edinburgh sky and the man is tidying the bed, weeding between the plants, removing leaves that have blight. I feel a sense of pride that I understand this; my mother has explained it. But he is doing something else that I can't understand. Some of the tulips have grown faster than their peers so that they are taller their golden heads stand higher than the others and the man is cutting off these heads so that the stalks stand bare, denuded, but now the same size as the other plants in the bed. I ask my mother, in puzzlement, why he is cutting down the tall tulips, and when she answers there is a trace of sadness in her voice. "He wants to make them all the same size, darling, so that they'll look tidier. But I don't think that's what gardening is all about, do you?"

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    #197376 - 07/29/14 01:38 PM Re: Ideal educational setting [Re: psychland]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    Originally Posted By: psychland
    I am asking for parents to brainstorm. If you could create the ideal educational environment where your child was academically challenged and getting appropriate social interaction for their age what would that look like? I am hoping to get some ideas and find common threads among the ideas so please be specific and don't try to be reasonable:)!



    The Davidson Academy is pretty much doing this right, from what I can tell.

    I would not consider private tutoring at the student's own preferred pace to be entirely ideal. The reason that I feel that way is that child-led learning has a place, but there is also a time to learn patience, stamina, and work-ethic, and to have a realistic sense of one's own innate ability in a comparative sense.

    Being with classmates who are of similar readiness levels is helpful there. Note that I didn't say that AGE grouping in a cohort was useful, because I tend to think that it is not.
    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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