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Archive for January, 2013

MOOCs, Books and Friends

January 28, 2013 Leave a comment

reading togetherHave you ever taken an online course?  I am willing to try one someday.  But I worry that it would be a lonely expereince. I like being around people to inspire me, to help me refine my ideas, and to offer counter arguments and reality checks.  When Thomas Friedman wrote about exciting new initiatives to bring higher education around the world through massive open online courses (MOOCs) in an article in Sunday’s NYTimes, I wondered if these courses are better than free libraries that offer the same knowledge in a cloth binding.

One of my favorite education writers, Alfie Cohen says in his book The Schools our Children Deserve, “Any number of theorists have argued that learning at its root is a social rather than solitary act. Some have even suggested that the very idea of intelligence is best applied to what goes on among people rather than what happens in each person’s head.”  That is why it is so important to develop classroom cultures where children work to help each other learn.  For us, the fundamental dynamic is support of one another, not competition.  There is such overwhelming evidence that teachers who coerce students are the least successful.

Its nice to work among people who inspire me to understand how, when and why the best kind of learning happens.  We had a wonderful faculty meeting this afternoon. Thank you, Evergreen teachers.

Reflection on President Obama’s Second Inauguration

January 22, 2013 Leave a comment

obama inaugurationPerhaps, like me, you were stoked with optimism by President Obama’s address yesterday.  Even 40 minutes of Diane Rehm’s post-speech analysis didn’t damper my enthusiasm. President Obama’s words made me think of our children at Evergreen when he said, “America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive, diversity and openness, of endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention.”

And as he reminded us of our obligations to our children and future generations, I thought of the great responsibilities upon us: to educate them, to nourish them and protect the natural environment. So to paraphrase (if not plagiarize) the President’s words– at Evergreen, with common effort and purpose, passion and dedication, we carry into an uncertain future that precious light of learning for each of our children.

We owe you, and all Evergreen parents, a debt of gratitude for all the support, help and volunteerism that enables us to provide the best experiences for our students and their limitless futures and endless capacity. Thank you.

Regards,
John

Celebrate Peace!

January 17, 2013 Leave a comment
Peace Assembly at Evergreen School

Little Friends for Peace

Evergreen welcomed MJ and Jerry Park from Little Friends for Peace today.  The Parks led two energetic assemblies to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King and his work promoting peace.

During the assemblies, children sang about conflict resolution, rode a Peace Train and learned how peace starts inside us all.  Mrs. Park even brought the “gift of peace.”  Children saw their own reflection inside the gift.

The Park’s mission  is to teach peace skills to children and their adult leaders to counter systemic violence. Through an open and responsive approach to our participants’ goals and by fostering connections among participants and partner organizations, we seek to empower a community of peacemakers with the knowledge and strategies for improved intrapersonal, interpersonal, and communal lives.”

According tot he Little Friends for Peace website, the organization was “named for the disarming nature of peacemaking and the little part we can all play in spreading peace, LFFP was founded in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1981 by MJ and Jerry Park. A teacher and social worker/nurse (respectively) by profession and together parents of six, this dynamic duo decided to teach peace skills part-time to live out their personal convictions. In 1988 they relocated to Mount Rainier, MD, continuing LFFP’s operation in the DC metro area while maintaining national programmatic partnerships with organizations based in Minnesota and El Salvador as well as several other national networks.”

Read more about MJ and Jerry Park and the Little Friends for Peace here.

Winter Bulletin Board

January 15, 2013 1 comment
Winter Bulletin Board

Cora Michael creates a Winter Bulletin Board

Cheers to Cora Michael and our wonderful new bulletin board.  Our Primary hallway is bright and cheery– perfect for these cold and rainy Washington winter days.

Cora’s creations are more than just about color and form.  They highlight textures, 3-D materials and mixed media.  Yes, those are real scarves! And the marshmallows are styrofoam peanuts!

Catching a Double Agent

January 10, 2013 Leave a comment
Jefferson Monument

Jefferson Monument

What would cause a respected FBI agent to commit treason?  Money? Power? Pride?

Robert Hanssen is the notorious FBI agent who was charged with selling American secrets to Russia for more than 1.4 million dollars and diamonds. Hanssen had been selling US secrets to the Russians for over 22 years. His arrest in 2001 in Vienna is one of the most intriguing episodes in FBI history.

Do you know the inside story?

A 2007 movie called Breach tells the story of Hanssen and the young FBI employee, Eric O’Neill, who was assigned to spy on his boss.  It is a story of duplicity, greed, friendship and faith.  The award-winning movie shows how O’Neill uses lessons from his mentor Hanssen to ultimately bring down the greatest double agent of our time.  The film, directed by Billy Ray, stars Ryan Phillippe as O’Neill. Chris Cooper plays Hanssen.

Later this month, Evergreen School and Eric O’Neill are hosting a screening of the film. Eric will be on hand to tell the story beyond the movie and how his experience bringing Hanssen down changed his life forever.

For more information about the event please see www.evergreenschool.com.

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