Death by elective

Posted by on Jul 3, 2012 in General | No Comments

Got a problem? There’s a course for that. That’s generally how we problem solve in education. Maybe that’s one reason why so little seems to change.

Last week I was lucky enough to spend three days at the Aspen Ideas Festival, talking with and learning from entrepreneurs, engineers, scientists, designers, activists, journalists, policy makers and of course other educators.

Oil Pans and Education

Posted by on Jul 2, 2012 in General | No Comments

In a previous post, Simon Hauger summed up the first year of the Sustainability Workshop by telling the story of his adventures of changing an oil pan on Michael Clapper’s 2001 Jetta Wagon.  The whole project ended up being anything but straightforward, as Micael and Simon struggled to remove the bolts and then, after learning that there was a special tool for this, ended up making their own tool to put the bolts back in.…

Problems scale, but so do solutions

Posted by on Jul 2, 2012 in General | No Comments

Whether talking about glaciers or cities or people or businesses, the big problems confronting the planet reproduce at ever smaller scale: our nations, our cities, our neighborhoods, our families, even ourselves. But the reverse is true too: the work we do on even the smallest scale can literally change the world.…

Thank you, CNN!

Posted by on Jul 1, 2012 in General | No Comments

A big thanks to CNN for profiling Simon and the Sustainability Workshop as part of its The Next List series!

This summer we’re working on a number of exciting projects, including running a pilot for Bright Ideas and retrofitting our garage into an energy neutral workshop space! To learn how you can support this exciting work, click here.…

Appreciating the Class of 2012

Posted by on Jun 26, 2012 in General | One Comment

I told myself a couple of years ago during some difficult times that one of my goals was to learn how to slow down happy moments. The rough ones seem to linger forever, but too often I feel like I rush through the good ones. Maybe it’s because good things make me more optimistic and thus more forward-looking, I don’t know.…

You are enjoying this too much

Posted by on Jun 21, 2012 in General | One Comment

We just completed our first year at the Sustainability Workshop and it was amazing. So what do you do the first week after the school year is over? The highlight of this week for me was the hours I spent over the past few days working on Michael’s car – we talked about the year, shared some ideas about next year, but mostly we just wrestled bolts out of his engine while changing the oil pan.…

Real Work

Posted by on May 19, 2012 in General | No Comments

It’s hard to believe we’re coming to the end of our first year at the Workshop. What an incredible year it has been. Engaging students in solving real problems – doing real work in this world – has been both exhilarating and exhausting. To do real work first requires the desire to do so and second, the skills to make it happen.…

“I can’t ______________”

Posted by on Mar 13, 2012 in General | No Comments

My 4-year old daughter can do anything.  She can fly, turn into a cat, sing, write a book, you name it she can do it.  Just ask her.  While she will admit to be working on a few things-she has put off poddy training until she is 5- she is quite forthcoming about being able to do just about everything.…

so many d— questions

Posted by on Mar 1, 2012 in General | No Comments

So this blog has some political content but I don’t really want to talk politics.  I want to talk about what it means to be educated, what it means to learn, and what it means to know what you know and know what you don’t know.   Garry Wills, whose writing and outlook I respect immensely, has a piece on one of the Republican candidates here.  Make what you will of the politics, I’m more interested in how he describes what education can do for teenagers:

At some point, late or early, children disengage themselves from the stories crafted for them.

It’s personal

Posted by on Feb 25, 2012 in General | No Comments

We do project based learning at the Workshop. The students come up with a problem. We sit with them and think about how to begin to solve the problem. Together we puzzle over different approaches. We think about different resources. We come up with two to four ways to demonstrate that they’ve effectively addressed the problem.…