Good Stress, Bad Stress

Joel HammonUncategorized

A girl reacting with surprise and angst

Our members often describe PLC as a low-stress environment compared to their previous schools. But are we “letting them off the hook”?

But My Child is Not Self-Directed

Scott GallagherUncategorized

A part of a Voronoi diagram (red) and Delaunay triangulation (black) of a finite point set (the black points), on a yellow background

When parents say, “my child is not self-directed,” they seem to be implying that self-direction is some trait that only a select group of people have. The truth is a little more complicated.

Common Sense Standard (CSS) #3

Katy BurkeUncategorized

Group of PLCers having fun together in the music room

Education should be shaped around the students, not the other way around. I deeply, firmly, believe that “everybody [has] their something,” at least one special something to offer.

Common Sense Standard (CSS) #2

Katy BurkeUncategorized

Image still from Ferris Buellers Day off, in front of Picasso exhibit

(See the first post in this series – Common Sense Learning.) Children want more autonomy as they grow…and that’s a good thing. One of the greatest struggles I felt as a public high school teacher was working with kids who didn’t want to do what I was asking them to do.  Often times, I couldn’t justify why my task list for … Read More

Self-Directed Education is a Really Good Idea: A TEDx Talk

Joel HammonUncategorized

Joel Hammon on stage at TEDxCarngieLake

There is a lot of talk about how traditional education is not always a good fit for every young person. What’s not talked about as much, but is absolutely true from my experience in the system, is that traditional education is not a good fit for many of the adults working there as well. Here’s the video of the TEDx … Read More

It’s Not a Mystery

Joel HammonUncategorized

teenager saying thank you to volunteers

Let me start with a simple fact: a lot of teenagers don’t like school. (Shocking, I know.) There are a lot of reasons for this, but one of the big ones is that many teens don’t feel like they have much say in their day-to-day lives — the work they do, who they interact with, their schedule. This lack of control … Read More

Well-Rounded?

Joel HammonUncategorized

Auroro studying a flower

In a blog post about misunderstandings, Seth Godin wrote this: And anyone who has been through high school has been reminded how important it is to be well-rounded. But Nobel Prize winners, successful NGO founders and just about everyone you admire didn’t get that way by being mediocre at a lot of things. It got me thinking. It’s nearly an … Read More

Bringing Joy to the Classroom

Eileen SmythUncategorized

I was on my way to work recently when it occurred to me I would be early again, and that I was in fact happy about it. Crossing over the bridge into Pennsylvania, I mused on how long it had been since I’d felt sad, pressured, daunted, ground down, or any of the tangle of difficult emotions I used to … Read More

Move Over, Rigor

Katy BurkeUncategorized

Vigor vs Rigor - sprout coming up out of crack in asphalt

Years ago, a good friend of mine said something that just stuck with me.  “I could care less about rigor”—surprising words from an honors-level high school teacher. “What I care about is vigor.” I realized that she had assumed a completely new intention for challenging students in their learning. Rather than trying to get them to work hard at hard … Read More

Freedom to Discover on MLK’s Holiday

Eileen SmythUncategorized

Teens at Bucks Learning Cooperative planning for MLK day program

Self-direction gives teens the chance to show they can make wise and loving choices, that they have a good sense of what’s important and what’s needed in the moment. It also lets them feel their effects on others, and understand both the joy and responsibility that comes with being in charge. This was on full display at Bucks Learning Cooperative … Read More