Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sea Turtles, Robotics and Art!?

"When Dr. Reagan Flowers, Founder and CEO of CSTEM, steps to
the microphone, a wild cheer goes up. Close to 1,000 people have
gathered to celebrate the kick-off of the annual Sea Turtle Robotics
Challenge, an opportunity for children to experience hands-on
problem-solving and project-based learning.

"Many of the children have never stepped foot on a college campus.
On this day university deans welcome them and announce that they
are the future of science, mathematics, technology,
communication, and art. They explain to the audience that the
young people standing right here—the ones with backpacks and
baseball caps—will help to solve the problems of the world and
usher us into a new era of innovation, creativity, and possibility."

If you want to see your students excited, and making incredible achievments in CSTEM - Computer, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics - please join this wonderful project organized by Dr. Rae Flowers, Founder and President of in Houston!

The Sea Turtle Challenge Professional Development Training counts towards 27 G/T Contact Hours and schools participating will receive a scholarship of $7,500.00 that covers the competition fees.

Read more about it at and watch the video!

From The Sea Turtle Robotics Challenge: CSTEM’S Answer to Hands-on, Project-Based
by Marcia Chamberlain (in print)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

No Child Left Inside

"One night, a nine-year-old woke me up. She had to go to the bathroom. We stepped outside the tent and she looked up. She gasped and grabbed my leg. She had never seen the stars before. That night, I saw the power of nature on a child. She was a changed person. From that moment on, she saw everything, the camouflaged lizard that everyone else skipped by. She used her senses. She was awake."

This story, from Last Child in the Woods - Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, by Richard Louv, was shared by a woman as she described an experience from her first counseling job in which she took children with AIDS to the mountains who had never been out of their urban neighborhoods.

Richard Louv is the recipient of the 2008 Audubon Medal. He is credited with sparking the No Child Left Inside movement, which is growing in momentum. The book includes cutting-edge studies that point to direct exposure to nature as essential for a child's healthy physical and emotional development. It cites a growing body of evidence linking the lack of nature in children's lives to the rise in obesity, attention disorders and depression. His message has galvanized an international back-to-nature campaign. The book also includes 35 Discussion Points for book groups, classrooms and communities, as well as 100 Actions We Can Take - for parents, schools, businesses and governments.

Educators and parents will find wonderful examples of place-based education programs with evidence demonstrating that these programs not only are highly motivational for students, they increase parent and community involvement, increase student learning and result in incredible increases in standardized test scores.

It contains wonderful resources for environmental education programs as well as wonderful activities for parents and their children!

See Richard Louv's article, No Child Left Inside.

Two educators who work with 21st Century Schools have made major contributions to education in their communities by creating environmental, place-based education programs and implementing a schools sustainability plan.

Matt Schlein founded the Willowell Foundation and runs the Walden Project in Vermont (see video).

Ian Smith, as the Executive Director for Youth and Children's Services for Tameside Metropolitan Borough schools in Manchester, England, has organized and implemented a district-wide (100 schools) intensive sustainability program! All 100 schools joined our Global Johnny Appleseed Project this year! (Be sure to view the PPT here.) These two educators will be presenting our newest workshop, Green Education.

Other resources:

The Edible Schoolyard and a video of one of the projects featured at the George Lucas Education Foundation web site.
The Center for Ecoliteracy
Orion Magazine
Photo by Kate Anderson

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hurricane Ike

This is what Pensacola Beach usually looks like. Today is different.

It is Friday, September 12. Hurricane Ike is about to landfall on Galveston Island.

I live in Pensacola, FL. Ike is so huge (it covered nearly the entire Gulf of Mexico) that it is impacting us here in Pensacola. In addition to tropical storm force winds we are experiencing very high surf. We went to Pensacola Beach today to take a look at the surf; it was incredible.

I took a short video with a cell phone so that I could share it with you. The waves are about 15-20 feet tall. The sounds you hear are the wind and the waves breaking on the sand bars and the beach. It was a spectacular experience.

Unfortunately, the weather forecasters are making predictions similar to those for Hurricane Katrina, and I know that there will be a great deal of suffering for many through property loss and damage, as well as personal injury and death. I do not mean to make light of the suffering when I state that the sights and sounds are beautiful - they really are.

Nature can be both destructive and beautiful at once.

Also, please watch these brief, excellent videos of Ike at Pensacola taken and posted by others; in some of the videos the sun is shining. In some it is cloudy, and the air is full of blowing sand and spray from the waves, making it difficult to see. You could stand away from the water and become soaked and encrusted with sand; it was like being sandblasted!

I would like to see your comments:

Hurricane Ike - 4 Wheel Surfing

Pensacola Beach during Hurricane Ike

Hurricane Ike waves at Pensacola

Hurricane Ike vs Cop (another video that shows what happened without breaks)

Hurricane Ike ATV (a third video, taken from above on the Pensacola Beach Pier)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

102 Minutes That Changed America

The History Channel has a new program called "102 Minutes That Changed America" It airs tonight at 8:00 PM central time.

There is a link that has unedited video from 9 different people taken from 10 different areas around the Trade Center. The link to the interactive map is below.

National PARK(ing) Day - September 19, 2008

I am passing along this information from an email I just received. It sounds like a very good project, although now there is very little time to prepare! But someone may be interested, or want to plan for next year.

"People for Parks is hosting a National Park(ing) Day event all day on Sept 19th, 2008.

On National Park(ing) in cities across the country folks are creating temporary parks in places normally used for parking cars. This event will demonstrate the value that green space adds to our quality of life and the health of our community."

For more information, including how to participate in National PARK(ing) Day, a how-to manual and license, photos and videos, and frequently asked questions, go to

Also the the Trust for Public Land web site has more information.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Regional workshops - professional development

We are asking for feedback from educators as to the type of professional staff development they need, and will be seeking, this school year. We have a wonderful curriculum design workshop, Designing the 21st Century Classroom, in which you will learn the strategies to design and deliver a unit of curriculum for a 21st century student. This workshop is being offered in Los Angeles in October, and in Seattle and New York City in November.

See our entire schedule of regional workshops online, and let us have some feedback from you on what you want this year!

Other workshops include:
  • Service Learning - Academics in Action
  • After School Programs for the 21st Century Student
  • Smaller Learning Communities
  • Want a Million Dollars for Your School? - Go Get It, Here's How! a workshop on how to fund your dream school or project
  • iKids - Multimedia and Technologies in the Classroom
  • The Global Classroom
  • Green Education
  • The Arts - Bringing Creativity Back into the Classroom
  • Classroom Management and Student Motivation
  • Social and Emotional Learning
  • Brain-Based Learning
  • Multiple Literacies - it's now just the 3 R's any more!
  • Teaching Students How to Think

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About this blog

Some visitors to this blog may have come across it by other means than our web site or newsletter. If this is your first visit, welcome, and please join our conversation.

We want to expand our discussions to include a comprehensive and integrated approach to education in the 21st century. Various threads in this blog will focus on various aspects of 21st century education: service learning, after school programs, curriculum design, multimedia and Web 2.0 tools in the classroom, the arts and creativity, the global classroom, and much more.

We will also post information from time to time regarding our regional workshop offerings and other forms of professional development: from on-site to online!

Visit us at, and please join our blog.

Anne Shaw
21st Century Schools
Phone 850-457-2946

Free iPhone for Principals?!

In case you did not see it on our web site or in our newsletter, I wanted to tell you about a fun promotion we are doing at 21st Century Schools. We are offering to give your principal a free, new iPhone for each team of 10 people they register for one of our two-day workshops. To qualify, paid registrations must be received in our office no later than September 20.

If you're interested, you may contact us at or by calling 850-457-2946.

View our Workshop Schedule online.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Web 2.0 discoveries

Thank you for visiting our new blog at 21st Century Schools. We assume you received the enewsletter we sent out today, and that you followed the link to this blog.

As you saw from the newsletter we've been discovering and exploring the tools of Web 2.0, and the possibilities for application in the classroom are astounding. I am very excited about designing new curriculum units and using these tools to take student learning and motivation to much higher levels!

I am absolutely positive that these technologies can be utilized effectively even with kindergarten children. At the age of 2 my grandson was whipping around online at and, and I was amazed at the way he seemed to intuitively know how to use the technologies. The same when I bought my new iPhone. I handed it to him and he used the touchscreen to slide it to the unlock position, and then began taking pictures.

There was so much more that I wanted to share with you in the newsletter, but as it was, it was very long and full. I know they should be quick to scan for the information you need, since we all receive so many emails every day. So I will be adding more on this blog and on other sites as together we explore the possibilities of new web 2.0 tools.

Welcome, and stay active.


Saturday, July 26, 2008