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The Magic of SOLE Grannies

What makes SOLE Grannies wonderful is the attitude they have with children. If you’ve had the pleasure of seeing a SOLE in action, when working with the children, the Grannies are genuinely interested in the children and are always showing appreciation for them and trying to understand the children for who they are. Which is how the self organized learning environment often differs from traditional schools. SOLEs have been criticized by many for trying to take the teacher out of the equation when it comes to learning. It’s quite the opposite actually. That Grannies and their interactions are vital. Just because they are not systematically and constantly tracking and assessing children d

"Kids can be so cruel."

Recently in class I witnessed children trying to help another child who was off task on the projects we were working on. Instead of doing the writing and research, she was looking at YouTube fail compilations. What shocked me was not that this child wanted to look at amusing videos (who doesn’t?), it was how the children tried to deal with the problem. They scolded her and tried to coerce her. “You better get back to work.” “You’re gonna get a bad grade.” “You better turn that off or Mr. Delpome is gonna yell.” Everything they tried took the form of a threat, well intentioned as they were. Most of us write this type of behavior off as just how kids are. “Kids can be so cruel” after all.

Why do we have such awful choices?

A lot of hullabaloo is being made in the teaching community about how we as teachers must give students choices in class. A worthwhile goal. But at a closer look there is something very very wrong with this idea. “Give” If we, as the authority figures in class are in a constant habit of giving students choice, we are preparing children for a future of accepting the choices they are given as the only acceptable ones. The obvious danger in this can be seen today in our presidential election process. We have been trained to accept that the choices that are presented to us are the only ones we have and we argue over them with vigor. But our arguments reveal that we already know there is a pr

Checking spellcheck (aka: what'll b da most controvershal post on dis site)

Have we teachers worsened children's spelling by warning them of the dangers of spellcheck? We were well intentioned of course. Making sure to remind children that spellcheck doesn't know everything and that it's good to check your own spelling. But is it possible that we've unintentionally taken away a valuable resource that children could use to improve their spelling and grammar? As a child, I want to please my teacher and do as they say because they know best. I'm told that spellcheck cannot be trusted. It makes sense then that I will ignore the little red squigglies that appear under the words. "Teacher says I should ignore spellcheck. So I will." Ah, teacher argues: "But I also

A Saturday Morning SOLE

Two Saturday’s ago I woke up and logged on to Facebook to this post from Sugata Mitra: (If you wish to try this yourself, you don’t want to scroll much further) I recognized this immediately as a fun attempt at starting a spontaneous SOLE by Professor Mitra. I was curious, so I jumped in. Seeing the initial comments that had been posted was inevitable. First instinct after reading these was to try Google’s photo recognition search, and I found out that the writing was an ancient form of Bengali called Bangla. (you can do this at images.google.com should you wish to try) However, there was no translation on the web. My next instinct was to try Google Translate. I searched the languages av