Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Obama in Denver area today

Bill Scanlon, who's worked for this crusty ol' scabtown's papers since about 1862, liveblogs Barack Obama's visit to the pompously named but allegedly successful Mapleton Expeditionary School of the Arts (MESA) in Thornton. Sample:
2:45 p.m. Evie Hudak, a member of the Colorado State Board of Education, said she’d been waiting all her life to hear a speech by a presidential candidate that zeroed in on what is most important about education.

“It was inspiring,” said Hudak, who is running for state Senate. “At times it brought tears to my eyes.

“To hear a presidential candidate talk about the importance of teachers, and their needing to be paid like the professionals they are ...I’ve been waiting to hear a speech like that.”
Update: Wisdom from children during Obama's tour of the school:

John Karger, 14, an eighth-grader at MESA, gave Obama a tour of the black experience in America beginning in Africa.

"Resilience is really how they bounced back ... and how they created a new black community," Karger said as he pointed to posters on the walls he and the other eighth-graders had made in class.

He showed Obama a map of West Africa. "It helps you visually see what's going on," Karger said.

Obama nods in agreement.

Krager then explains the Middle Passage. "It was horrible," he tells Obama. "It was so inhumane that a lot of them preferred death because it was that bad."

He then explained the Civil War and the Harlem Renaissance, including the students' versions of their own Jacob Lawrence paintings.

Well, somebody's got to teach the man history.

Update II: Abstract of the Week!
This paper introduces an integrated teacher education model based on the Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound Project model. It integrates early childhood, elementary, and special education and uses inquiry-oriented and social constructive approaches. It models a team approach, with all teachers unified in their mutually shared philosophy of education. The Expeditionary Learning model challenges future teachers to learn core concepts, develop divergent thinking approaches, see issues from multiple perspectives, appreciate collaborative learning processes, and apply what they learn to solve real problems in teaching. The model includes five blocks, each featuring unique, theme-based experiences (diversity of human experiences, tools for literacy and communication, going on a treasure hunt, critical analysis of teaching and learning, and reflection and integration). Data from students' notes posted on the course Web site, weekly faculty meeting notes, and e-mail messages suggest that students had to work hard to adjust to very different kinds of learning experiences that were highly socially constructive but, in the end, they appreciated the shared responsibility, collaboration, technology infusion, use of community-based resources, integrated curriculum, and diversity. Faculty believed the workload was tremendous, and the experience was demanding but rewarding.

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