Burlington Phenology Guild gathers for first meeting

Partners of the Burlington Phenology Guild and over 20 participants gathered this past Saturday at Rock Point School to commence their year of monthly meetings, Naturalists, observers…budding phenologists will gather on the second Saturday of each month to observe the seasonal changes at Rock Point. RP is an amazing site just to hand out at—and a rich and wonderful site to observe the changing natural world. There is large acreage of woods, open fields and some interesting old buildings….and as if that wasn’t enough–it is on the shores of Lake Champlain!

We spent some time indoors hearing from Teage about how we can find the stories of places by making observations and finding evidence of patterns in the landscape. We went outside and he shared with us the special place in the woods where he holds Crows Path–an amazing after school program for young folks.

Participants share their EVIDENCE of changes in the landscape!


It was great to be outside and learn from and with each other!


We look forward to gathering again in February. Attached are the phenology resources posted in January!

Phenology Resources

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Summer’s ending…. Tomatoes are ripe…. Energy is gathering for a new school year, and as thoughts turn to school I am grateful for the learning time I had with teachers this summer. In the river—on the mountaintop–exploring the cityscape—–very fun!

As a curriculum coach who loves working with teachers when they have time to dream and scheme—the summer time provides unique opportunities for teachers to explore new sites, collaborate and plan a new year. Just for the record—I believe that this focused work and reflection should come with plenty of UNSCHEDULED time to play and be at home with no agendas—time to renew, hang out with families, friends….

I feel inspired and enriched by the experiences I had this summer with teachers as we explored nearby places. It started off with an evening presentation at the Middle Grades Institute that I co-presented with Katey Wyndorf. Downtown Randolph was an amazing place to explore–the architecture and commerce of downtown and the river that runs alongside the town—a river place that has visible memory of last summer’s Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene.

We explored the BLOCK–a lovely stretch of buildings where we examined what students could learn in this setting from the perspective of different subjects. See the attached outline of questions

Randolph BLOCKAnd went to the river where Katey led us in a poetic “Andrew Goldsworthyish” reflection on our learning.

It was a lovely evening and we thought the teachers left with new ideas and a refreshed feeling about learning outside with their students. Katey and I are looking forward to offering a strand at the 2013 session of Middle Grades Institutes. Information to come at http://middlegradescollaborative.org/news/ 

Watershed for Every Classroom 2012-2013

The Watershed For Every Classroom met in July during one of the hottest weeks on record. We have a wonderful crew and will meet throughout the year until May.

Keep in touch with this group on our website http://www.lcbp.org/watershedmatters/ 

Design Summit

I was also lucky to be invited to a Design Summit that Walter Poleman (UVM PLACE program — http://www.uvm.edu/place/—and Burlington Geographic http://www.uvm.edu/place/burlingtongeographic/) hosted at the University of Vermont. The purpose of the gathering was to meet with educators from South Carolina and Puerto Rico—places where Walter has been working for a few years planting the seeds of place-based education. We shared ideas, toured special places in Burlington and made plans for future collaboration.


Vito Perrone dies–champion of all things good and true

This obituary appeared in the NYT this week although he passed in August. He was behind many great educational movements—one of which was the Annenberg study that profiled place-based education early on. He also wrote a wonderful book about Leonard Covello who was a principal in Harlem in the 30s–its a bold view of school leadership.

Perrone NYT obituary

This is one of my favorite quotes:

“Students see homelessness and poverty in the streets around them, they know about immigration as they hear so many languages spoken, they are aware of community violence, drugs, war and the threat of war. That schools don’t explore such issues deeply, for the most part even ignoring them, reinforces for students that the schools are about something other than the realities of the world. Further, the content of schools seldom relates to what people in a particular community care deeply about. Schools don’t often make the local community architecture or its historical and cultural roots a focus of study. The community’s storytellers and craftspeople are not common visitors. The literature that is read is seldom selected because it illuminates the life that students see day in and day out outside the school. This disconnectedness trivializes much of what students learn.”

Vito Perrone 1991 (p. 39)

Everyone should read Dina Strasser’s poem THE QUESTION!

Dina’s poem titled The Question says it all. It IS a spatial issue! How much room will your question take up? How much time and attention will you give to it? How much space will it have to grow and bear fruit? What are the hidden questions that sometimes escape us–and then make us gasp in despair that we missed it….. This is a wonderful inspiration to begin the school year. Thank you Dina!



Linda Darling-Hammond gets it right again!

I love this woman’s commentary. She always gets it right. I think the thing I appreciate most about her is that she sees the big picture–especially in regards to preparing teachers and how good teachers make the whole system work—and she totally gets the details of what a teacher’s life is like. The big picture of the educational system and the minute level of the classroom. A view of an eagle and a mouse! Check it out.  http://www.forumforeducation.org/blog/global-appreciation-teachers

Teens in Harlem sing Gospel Music

What a sensational story about kids singing Gospel music. And it wasn’t an “everything is amazing and wonderful” story. Leslie Stahl did a brilliant job tracking down the personal stories of some of these kids in what I thought was a sensitive and respectful way. And it is one more example of what beautiful, transformational things can happen when someone believes in kids. Check it out: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/03/31/60minutes/main20049243.shtml