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Professional Development
for K-16 and Community
Based Educators

Summer Institute

CWI Summer Institutes 2014

Join with colleagues from across North America and beyond, working to embrace service-learning and sustainability. A week of support, inspiration, and collaboration.
Register Now, Space is Limited!
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“This was truly an example of people who love and understand learning. How special to have
been a part of it. Thank you!”
Erin Ruegg, Teacher
Colegio Jorge Washington
Columbia, South America

a selection of past issues
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Special Holiday Rates on Summer Institutes through Dec 31

Curriculum Planning, Teaching Tools, and Inspiring Collaboration
Place Based Service-Learning, and Sustainable Communities
—Los Angeles and Vermont
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Community Works Journal—Online Magazine for Educators

STEM In Action: A True Success Story

The job of educators is to prepare students to have a real impact on the world. Yet we rarely practice the necessary skills in school. The attributes of passion, problem solving, and perseverance are often absent. Often, our impact is not constrained by the students, but rather by educators and administration. What happens when students are posed with this assignment?: Complete a project that helps the school and community AND that project needs to have a true global impact. Amazing things happen. read more
Small Schools: The Real Story on the Economy of Getting Small

Small design schools have historically been presumed to be uneconomical. We now understand that small schools, defined by the Small Schools Coalition as schools with 399 students or fewer, are no more expensive than today’s large consolidated schools. In fact, research has shown that formulas for determining funding disguise tremendous non-cash costs associated closely with large schools; some of those costs are difficult to affix a price tag to, and some of them include terrible social costs. read more
The Little Things: Uncovering Identity on Campus through
Dress and Adornment

The class chose to tackle this topic by focusing on the student body, a constituency that the museum has struggled to engage over the years. Inspired by readings that explore the complex relationships that people form with objects, they wanted to ask their fellow students about what items of dress and adornment best encapsulate their identity. After a crash course in interview techniques and fieldwork ethics, each student set out to record conversations on this issue with at least five students by the next class. Each week they returned to the group with reports of their progress in recording new interviews and to ask for help. read more
Unique PD Opportunities Special Holiday Registration Rate thru Dec 31
Don't miss Community Works Institute's annual series of professional development events for 2015. Limited space exists for CWI's Summer EAST and WEST Institutes on Service-Learning. Join with educators from across the U.S. and around the world for a week of learning, exploration, and practical curriculum design. A perfect way for individual educators and teams to deepen their use of service-learning and sustainability, both in the classroom and program wide. These are best practice based events and appropriate for K-16 and community educators, and administrators. read more
Reflecting with Students
She approaches the subject wondering about the importance of Hunter boots because she took our classroom conversation about adaptation into the world and felt she could explore it safely, test it—and me. She's exploring trust. The classroom doesn't work if you can't see it in the world, place it in the palms of a community. If you can't see it, you can't trust it—not completely. Her classroom needs to live; it has to be real, something offering transcendence—as it is for so many others, all the kids that walk with me. read more
Visual Anthropology as a Road Into ExperienceLuci Fernandes, Ph.D. is a cultural anthropologist whose research focus is on documenting daily life through audio/visual mediums. She and her students are document life ways in Eastern North Carolina, where she lives and teaches anthropology courses for East Carolina University. Her aim in to highlight everyday people, their joys and struggles to connect people in their human experience. Luci will be sharing her work and K-16 applicable ideas regularly with Community Works Journal readers read more
Where Have All The Sharks Gone? A Teen Led Ecological
Literacy Project

On a warm humid afternoon in July, ten teenagers rollout of a white cargo van in front of an Enoch Pratt library branch in Baltimore City. Without being told, they unload a bag of costumes, several props, a backdrop, and a cooler of seawater and live animals and lug them inside the library’s air-conditioned auditorium. Like clockwork the teens set up the backdrop, arrange props, get into costumes and wait. Within a few minutes over 100 children, families and adults file in and take seats on chairs or crisscross applesauce-style on the floor. The play is about to begin. read more
What Wisdom Greater Than Curiosity: The Stranger Who Was Yourself

Congruence starts when we make intimate disclosures to ourselves. We risk being honest and being known. We confront the rules of rank and status, willing to let them go. Through this vulnerability, the façade of independence collapses and the space for humility opens up. In this space, we better sense how infinitely we are bound with those around us.  We can at last make peace with how very interdependent we are, how reciprocal everything is. With others. Our boundaries become permeable and our curiosity about those around us becomes humble and unhinged from our agendas and our public image. read more
Connecting Biology, Service-Learning and Youth Awareness

I do not think I will be able to tell this story without admitting that I am an absolute novice to service learning pedagogy and have no experience in any community service. It took more than a semester and numerous discussions with our service learning director, Dr. Reddix for me to decide that I will try using this pedagogy in teaching general biology II course. I searched for a pedagogy, which could help our students retain the information, attain meaningful learning, as well as relate to the material covered in this course. Thus, I decided to integrate Service-Learning into this course where students could learn the material and teach high school students, with the focus on how different organisms are involved in diseases process. read more
Digital Native, Meet Digital Immigrant

I anticipated that the project would help older adults improve their technology skills and younger adults reduce ageist attitudes. I did not realize the depth of relationship building that would occur between the groups. student shared in her journal: “Overall, I really enjoyed our experience at the Senior Center yesterday. I am really enjoying the patience and understanding that I am continuously gaining through my interactions with the senior citizens. They truly are a highlight of my week." read more
The Power and Wonder of Names: Where Nature and Language Coincide

We spent a week exploring biomes. We wrapped ourselves in the language of names and natural history to guide us. We turned to field guides and leaf rubbings, we looked for similarities and distinguishing features. We started to open our eyes and really began to look. The names tumbled all around me, like droplets in a light summer rain. Some I caught, others whizzed by, but always I was comforted in the names. What is human in us is the ability to point and look and name. Language separates us, but ultimately joins us in that tight connection all around. read more
Taking the Classroom to the Forest

As academic expectations in schools become more demanding, some educators have turned to the outdoors as a means of providing meaningful, relevant, and tangible experiences for their students. The Forest Kindergarten movement, which has taken hold in Europe over the past 30 years, takes a very different approach towards early childhood education. Their conviction is that this real world experience will provide the confidence, resilience and perseverance that are the foundation for increased motivation and improved academic performance. read more
Creative Institutional Partnerships That Enhance Experiential
Learning in Times of Crisis

There is great untapped potential for international schools to develop dynamic experiential learning programs in partnerships with a variety of institutions, including lNGO’s, multinational corporations, and an often overlooked set of institutions: local or national governments. These partnerships provide students with valuable opportunities for experiential learning and have a very positive impact on partners and their constituents, enhancing the school’s image in the community, and reinforcing the value placed on such programs within the school—a self-reinforcing virtuous cycle. read more
Kale, Students, and Empathy: The Realities of Service-Learning

The realities of the project differed from the ideas I had in the beginning. Admittedly, I had a grandiose idea that everyone on the project would immediately be engaged, and families would leave the program inspired to start gardens and cook healthy and nutritious meals. The project did not follow those ideas exactly and required me to change my approach, assumptions, and measures of success. I am very aware of some media reports indicating that this generation is only out to serve themselves. I have read reports that describe this age group as being concerned only with their mobile devices and life in a very insular world. In my experience, this is not true. read more
An A for Effort? Grading Grades in the 21st Century

What we believe to be objective assessment often has more to do with how much a student has been able to retain for each test than what has been truly and indelibly learned. We don’t have to look any further than the functional illiterates who have “graduated” from high school in our current system to convince ourselves of that. Or we could look at a less harsh example, and ask ourselves how much high school Spanish we can actually use as adults. Or even more probingly, we can ask why, if we truly learn what we’re taught in high school, can’t every high school teacher teach every high school subject?  Maybe we don’t objectively learn the things that we have earned our “objective” good grades on. read more
T he GrEAU Project: A Student Run Hydroponics Business

GrEAU, which is French for water, is hydroponic based agricultural business founded and run by the students of Mecatina School, a small school located in La Tabatiere, a village on the Lower North Shore of Quebec. At Mecatina School in Tabatiere, students have built a hydroponic garden using cost and energy efficient methods, in order to supply the isolated community with fresh produce. “We started brain storming in early November,” said Christopher Wong, the Science and Technology teacher. It began when three of his students wanted to enter the Quebec Entrepreneurial Contest. Their goal was to create a business that applied the technology and science concepts they had learned in class with their desire to improve their community. read more
The Aerial Classroom: Views from Above

I worked recently with photographer Ken Abbott on a project called “Views From Above,” which teaches high school students in rural North Carolina, to observe their communities from a unique dual perspective: through interviews, photographic portraits, and landscapes completed in small towns and farms near their school; and also through aerial photographs taken with a balloon-and-camera rig the students put together. We have combined their work in a blog, as well as in presentations for the school and community. Following is an explanation by seniors Joshua Redwine and Hunter Powell, as well as sample aerial photography from the project. read more
Improving Test Scores Through a Community Focused Education

My life as a teacher began with a hidden agenda. Today, nearly forty years later, I am teaching social studies at a middle school and my agenda is still being followed, but no longer hidden thanks to the many teachers and organizations who have found that the community and the students need not be mutually exclusive. My students have been involved in countless other activities to educate and improve the conservation of resources. (with significantly improved test scores) read more

MORE! Essays l Articles l Institute Reflections l Resource Reviews l Literacy Corner l Upcoming Events

Special Holiday Rates on Summer Institutes through Dec.31

Curriculum Planning, Teaching Tools, and Inspiring Collaboration
Place Service-Learning, and Sustainable Communities
—Los Angeles and Vermont
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Community Works JournalOnline Magazine for Educators
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Community Works Journal's publication has been made possible, in part, through grants from The Corporation for National Service, The Thompson Trust, The Bay and Paul Foundations, and others, along with our other partners and sponsors. Community Works Journal also depends on the generous donations of our individual contributors. Community Works Journal is published by Community Works Institute (CWI). Find out how you can become a supporter of Community Works Institute.

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"Transformative work! I found myself becoming even more determined about the role that service-learning can have in our school. Thank you for taking a leadership role.”
Vernita Vallez, Principal
Inter-American Magnet School
Chicago, Illinois

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A Summer Institute Like No Other
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CWI's Summer EAST
Institute on Service-Learning
June 22-26, 2015
Burlington, Vermont
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CWI's Summer WEST
Institute on Service-Learning
July 6-10, 2015
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