Partnerships Expanding in Museum Park!

While the most visible example of our Museum District partnerships this week might have been the open house Wednesday night at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, it wasn't the only one.

Monday night, the Museum Park Super Neighborhood organization heard the story of Post Oak High School and the plans to partner with community organizations.  In addition, the MPSN group is a perfect example of a civic organization with which the high school students can connect.  Participation with the MPSN is a great way to see and join in adult service and citizenship in action.

Following the meeting, many organizations reached out to the high school to begin conversations.  These include: Miller Outdoor Theatre and the Hermann Park Conservancy.

We'll keep you updated on our growing list of partners!

Construction Update

Billboard finale:

A huge crane lowers the joined flat vertical surfaces of the billboard to the ground.  Then a crew dismantles it piece by piece with torches.  The tubular steel post is taken down in sections.

End of an era.  The billboard is completely down.  Enjoy the sky!


Teachers weigh in on 'friending' students

More on the Teacher-Facebook Friend-Student debate this week.

Here's the prompt from the moderator:

Most of today’s students spend a considerable amount of time using social-networking sites to clown around with friends, catch up with relatives who live far away, and even collaborate on homework and school projects. 
Social-networking tools like Facebook have also quickly become part of the fabric of many educators’ lives, and they have used the tools to connect with colleagues, parents, and students. But is it OK for educators and students to connect on social-networking sites like Facebook or Twitter? What does your district’s current policy say about such communication?

Teachers weigh in at EducationWeek.


Will Handwriting Survive? Do you care?

Monday, January 23 was National Handwriting Day!  Why?

It's John Hancock's birthday of course!

Do your children see you handwrite things?  What?  Do you still make a grocery list with pen and paper (or reused envelope) or have you found an app for that?

Taking notes?  Writing letters?  What are those pens still around for?  Is handwriting still relevant in the ever expanding digital age?

What will happen in 25 years if children never learn cursive writing?  Are there brain benefits for handwriting?

EducationWeek weighs in with this piece from Monday.


Tempe, AZ Contemplates Montessori High School

Keeping up with the thinking over in Tempe at their Montessori high school's website for exploratory information..

An article from last week's East Valley Tribune covering the status of the project gave this as their one paragraph description of Montessori:
Montessori classrooms provide a popular, hands-on approach to education. Students are often grouped in multi-age clusters. They are taught using the Socratic method - with long discussions about topics and teachers acting as facilitators. Students don't use textbooks, but rather read and research using literature and other sources. Being outdoors is another "key component" to the Montessori method, one reason the school-community group that started looking at this option visited a private Montessori school in the Midwest that operates a farm.
Yes, you read that right:
Montessori classrooms provide a popular, hands-on approach to education. 


It's coming down...

Say "adios" to the billboard along Highway 59 that is anchored on the corner lot at Autrey and Montrose.  Today began the dismantling.  In a couple days, it will be no more.

Open House this Wednesday!

Come on down!

Wednesday 25 January at 7 p.m.
Houston Museum of Natural Science

Bring a friend!

(The next open house is Tuesday 27 March.)


Partnerships Growing in Museum District

This past week included visits with the Asia Society and the Health Museum.  Continued warm welcomes and a flurry of creative thinking about how museums and cultural organizations can collaborate with schools to break new ground for teenagers.  In the end (and all throughout) it's about the student experience.

We also continued our work with HMNS, specifically in Anthropology and what I can only describe as an encounter over bagels with 'the venomous snake lady of Brazil'.  Clearly, more to come on that front!

Need more?  Come to our next open house on Wednesday, January 25th at HMNS!

Montessori: Find your Passion (Talk at TED)

Get to know Montessori alum, Majka Burhardt.  She's a climber, explorer, writer, and humanitarian.

Listen to the first three minutes of this interview:

In case you missed that first Q&A after her original "We Are The World" song:
"Where did this idealism come from at such a young age?" 
"I went to this great Montessori school where you did whatever inspired you.  Find that passion and then build the academics around it.  That kind of curiosity was encouraged and was fostered in my life."

You can catch up with her on Facebook.

Oh, the TED talk?  Here you go:



How do libraries evolve and stay relevant to teens?
On a recent afternoon, youth mentors circulated through the airy room, teaching teenagers how to make films and work with multimedia. A group of girls was shooting a talk show, using a laptop camera and external microphone. Others played guitar and keyboards, or shared poetry and songs. 
Matthew Bryd, a 16-year-old junior at Jones College Prep, a public high school in Chicago, was about to record a video-game podcast with a group of friends, as he says he does most days after school. “We sit down and talk about a bunch of topics related to video games,” he said. “It’s kind of like a radio show with commercials. We publish it on iTunes and on our website.”

School libraries have been at this for years of course.  Walk into one and see what teens are doing.  It's rarely checking out books.  So the library is being used, but in a different way.

Are books still relevant?  Yes:
The library won that battle, and now the books have their place. “Book circulation [of the teen collection] has gone up about 500 percent since the space opened,” Eshleman said. “You see teenagers browsing the stacks and often pulling books from a cart, or quietly reading on a big bean chair.”
The full article at Education Week is here.


High Tech High

UPDATE:  Thanks to Milwaukee County Zoo Director Charles Wikenhauser for sending me the link for this video.  (Remember, the zoo with iPads for Orangutans!?)

Just when you think he's said it all, there's another morsel that resonates.  We should all be looking for such inspirational words and teachers to work with teenagers.  An example that seems to demonstrate that it's not about working harder, it's truly about re-inventing school.

A great school and a great documentary piece.

From the Buck Institute for Education.


Happy Friday the 13th! (One of three this year.)

How will you be celebrating?

Try this list of facts from over at HuffPost.  A sample:
-- While both Friday (because Judas was thought to have been the 13th guest at the Last Supper) and 13 (because it is an uneven number following the even number 12 widely considered beneficial) had independently been considered unlucky for centuries, the dark nature of Friday The 13th appears to have only originated in the West in the 19th century, possibly with Henry Sutherland Edwards' 1869 biography of Gioachino Rossini wherein the date is termed unlucky!
-- Every calendar year has at least one Friday The 13th. The most Fridays The 13th that can occur in any given calendar year is three, such as in 2012 (January, April and July)!
-- The longest period that can occur without a Friday The 13th is 14 months, either from July through September of the following normal year, or from August through October of the following leap year!
Read them all...here.

If you love hockey masks, the Houston Aeros are playing tonight at Peoria against the Rivermen.  Tickets available.  Next home game is next Friday, January 20th against the San Antonio Rampage.

See you in April for the next Friday the 13th!  And be safe tomorrow, too!


Teachers and Students together online?

The debate continues (NYT) as to whether teachers and students connecting via social media sites like Twitter and Facebook is a revolution in education or the work of the devil.

As with all tools, "We shape our tools. And then our tools shape us." (Marshall McLuhan)


Parent Ambassadors Unite!

Could this high school literature be
in your office waiting room?  YES!
Are you a Post Oak parent excited about the High School?  Join the High School Ambassadors!

This group is dedicated to supporting the expansion by engaging in outreach activities like talking about the new division and putting up posters around town.

Do you have more ideas how you can help spread the word and share the inside scoop on all things high school?  Join us!

Contact Christina Kopanidis-Cantu for more information. 713.661.6688


Museum Educators Open House

Teachers should head on down to the HMD for the Educators' Open House on January 28th from 9-1:30.

From HMD:

• Home school educators
• School district administrators
• Student teachers

WHY ATTEND?• Free general admission to host museums before 1:00 p.m. and all participating museums after 1:00 p.m.
• Attend presentations and booths from 31 museums and cultural organizations.
• Learn about educational resources, trainings, programs, tools, and field trips.

Register here.

This event is separate from our High School Open House on January 25th.


OPEN HOUSE January 25th!

Join us for a High School Open House on Wednesday, January 25th at 7:00 p.m. in the Paleontology Hall at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

This is an informational event for all prospective students, their families, and the general public.  Come to learn about the school, meet faculty, and mingle with the dinosaurs!


The Elements

A little science for your Saturday!

Everyone loves Tom Leher, right?!


Grants to schools to do real science

"They will construct a model linear particle accelerator and investigate particle collisions similar to those under way at the Large Hadron Collider at Cern in Switzerland."
Enough said.  I'm glad we're not the only ones who recognize that high school students crave reality.

Read the full article from BBC News.  

If you love smashing things into each other at 99.999999% of the speed of light, read on here.

Construction Update

So we're well underway now!

You can see a lot happening just driving by Montrose at Autrey Street.

More to come!


Montessori and the Mac OS User Interface

Do you remember 1995?  C-SPAN does.  Enjoy this 4 hours and 48 minutes of committee hearings on technology in education!

If you don't have five hours, go for the four minutes below.

1. "The Macintosh user interface used Montessori's ideas..." - Alan Kay, Apple Computer
2. "It's not that the schools have failed to motivate them, it's that they have demotivated them." The traditional school model is only suited for a minority of learners and learning styles. -Seymour Papert (MIT)
3. Learning is social and technology can facilitate collaboration and communication. -Chris Dede (George Mason University)


Research confirms, "It's time to get past the lecture."

Happy New Year!

Let's start with connecting 2012 to 2009!

NPR picked it up yesterday (1/1/2012) and you can listen here.  You can also watch Harvard Professor Eric Mazur tell you the whole story here (11/12/2009).

Winning excerpts from the NPR story:
"Students have to be active in developing their knowledge," he says. "They can't passively assimilate it."
"It used to be just be the 'sage on the stage,' the source of knowledge and information," he says. "We now know that it's not good enough to have a source of information."
And from the video:
"I thought I was a good teacher until I discovered my students were just memorizing information rather than learning to understand the material. Who was to blame? The students? The material? ...I came to the agonizing conclusion that the culprit was neither of these. It was my teaching that caused students to fail!  I have adjusted my approach to teaching and how it has improved my students' performance significantly."
Read (NPR)
Listen (NPR)
Watch (University of Maryland, YouTube)