Call for Nominations for the 2015 Jack London Award for Educational Innovation

Posted by Pamela Van Halsema on January 13, 2015 8:59 AM

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"He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars."
Jack London, The Call of the Wild

Inspired by London

Local hero Jack London was a brilliant writer who pursued life with a sense of adventure much like the characters in his books. He took a non-traditional approach to living and learning, and embraced risk to spur his imagination.Tapping into those experiences, he was able to spin classic tales like The Call of the Wild, White Fang and dozens if not hundreds of other stories, novels, poems and plays.

Here at Sonoma State it is London's rogue ambition and creative fervor that we memorialize in the Jack London Award for Educational Innovation program.  For 28 years, the award has celebrated exceptional programs and the creative people who took risks, energy and time to make them successful for the children of Sonoma County public schools. 

Call for Nominations

We now invite nominations for the 2015 Jack London Award.  Representatives from throughout Sonoma County are invited to nominate innovative programs for this honor. Nominated programs may serve early childhood, elementary or secondary education populations either as part of the school day or as an extra-curricular program. 

Think about  what creative risk-taking is happening in the classrooms, labs, art rooms, playgrounds, gymnasiums and auditoriums at your schools. Have you launched any new and innovative  programs that build student engagement and advance learning? Tell us about them! Our advisory committee reviews all the applications and selects a few finalist programs for a team of judges to visit and evaluate in person.

Nominations Due February 12

Apply by Thursday, February 12, 2015; application is posted on our website at www.sonoma.edu/education/jack-london

Direct questions about the Jack London Award for Educational Innovation to Pamela Van Halsema at 707-664-2132.

Mary Collins School to Host 13th Annual Symposium: What Does it Mean to be Literate in the 21st Century

Posted by Pamela Van Halsema on January 12, 2015 10:57 AM

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What does it mean to be 'literate in the 21st Century?  Teacher educators, Dr. Jennifer Roswell and Awele Makeba will consider this question at the 13th Annual Mary Collins School Symposium on Saturday, January 24, 2015 from 9:00-3:00 PM.  These two engaging presenters will share their work in language arts through authentic contexts, student discourses and multiple viewpoints.  

About the Speakers

Jennifer Roswell is the Canada Research Chair in Multiliteracies, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario.Her research explores the ways of broadening literacy education, policy and theory so that it meets the challenges of multi-modal, digital and trans-cultural environments.

Awele Makeba is an award-winning and internationally known storyteller, teacher, recording artist and performer. She is an artist for social change. She currently serves as a Literacy Specialist in Oakland Unified School District.

The full day of professional development will involve presentations Dr. Rowsell and Ms. Makeba, teacher-facilitated break-out sessions, and a final "rocking chair" session in which the two presenters have a dialogue and address our most pressing questions.  A local, organic lunch is also included.*

Mary Collins a Partner with SSU for Teacher Preparation

Mary Collins School partners with the Multiple Subject Credential Program in the training of new elementary school teachers. As a CORE site pre-service teachers observe and ain field experience in the classroom, working closely with expert elementary school mentor teachers for the two semesters they are working toward a Multiple Subject teaching credential.  

Mary Collins is known for their Constructivist approach to learning and offer specialized learning in the arts and enviornmental education. In Constructivism the emphasis is placed on the learner or the student, rather than the teacher or the instructor. Learning is also affected by the context and the beliefs and attitudes of the learner. Learners are encouraged to invent their own solutions and to try out ideas and hypotheses. They are given the opportunity to build on prior knowledge. 

***Bring a friend (2 or more) and receive $5 off each ticket.  Please email us at marycollinsschoolsymposium@gmail.com and we'll send you the discount code!***

Webinars Explore Making in Schools, Features Panel of Maker-Educators

Posted by Pamela Van Halsema on December 2, 2014 10:38 AM

Making in K-12 Schools Webinars: Part 1, Wednesday, December 3 and Part 2, Wednesday, December 10, noon PST

To join the webinars, go to http://educatorinnovator.org/webinars/

2 webinars december 3 and 10 for Making in K-12 Settings

Join School of Education Assoc. Professor Jessica Parker, along with several Bay Area maker-educators as they discuss the role of "Making" in schools.  Set up as a forum, these teachers will share stories from their own experiences in the classroom--from elementary up to high school--incorporating making into the curriculum and both creating and maintaining a culture of creativity

In Part 1 of the two part series, on December 3, the panel will focus on how to set things up to foster hands-on, interdisciplinary maker projects and events which successfully support student learning.

In Part 2, on December 10, they will discuss the kind of professional development that they themselves need as educators to implement these programs and adopt a 'maker mindset' as a teacher.

The Maker Movement

Making emphasizes learning-through-doing In a social environment. Maker culture emphasizes informal, networked, peer-led, and shared learning motivated by fun and self-fulfillment. Makers encourage taking risks and experimentation with materials from simple to high tech equipment, they set up opportunities to build and tinker and create. Robotics, woodworking, crafting, 3D printing, and machining are just a few examples of projects used in Maker Spaces all over the world top inspire through project-based learning.

The notion of tinkering and Making has become popular world-wide and is now truly a movement capturing the imagination of young and old, across cultures and disciplines. Maker Media, based here in Sonoma County, has been the hub and helped build this movement around the world with their publications and their Maker Faire events.

This global community consists of inventors, artists, engineers, and many other types of people with all kinds of backgrounds. This movement is taking many in the direction of successful independent creativity that is allowing for outside the box thinking and knowledge expansion and growth.

This kind of thinking is a great fit for project based learning and creative problem solving curriculum in schools, as well as creative and artistic development.

The Maker Educator Certificate Program

This webinar is hosted and produced by the National Writing Project's Educator Innovator initiative (educatorinnovator.org), and is affiliated with the Maker Educator Certificate Program offered by The Startup Classroom at Sonoma State University. The certificate program offers a selection of mini courses to help educators of all kinds (not just school teachers) learn how to start and maintain MakerSpaces in their own setting, and become part of a network of Maker Educators.  

To learn more about the Maker Educator Certificate Program visit www.thestartupclassroom.org/maker-course/ 

Education Graduate Research Fair Thursday Highlights Current Work by Master's Candidates

Posted by Pamela Van Halsema on November 17, 2014 4:45 PM

Grad-Research-PosterThe Master of Arts in Education Program at Sonoma State University is pleased to present the Fall Graduate Research Fair on Thursday, November 20, 2014 from 5:00-7:30 PM in Schulz 1121.  

In this poster session style event, sudents who have just completed the program will present their findings related to their thesis and cognate projects Programs represented range from Curriculum, Teaching and Learning to Special Education to Educational Leadership and more. The Fair provides these students an diverse audience of faculty, local educators and fellow students to share and discuss their ideas and research.  

For local people contemplating entering the Master's program, this a wonderful opportunity to get a closer look at the kind of in depth work that candidates pursue in the program. The School of Education is accepting applications now for admission to Master's programs to begin in Spring and Fall.  The application window for Spring closes on November 30.  To learn more see www.sonoma.edu/graduate/

The event is free and open to the public.  

Looking Through the Camera Lens: A Videographer's Nostalgic View of the Sonoma State's Global Cardboard Challenge

Posted by Casey Sears on October 27, 2014 2:38 PM

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Guest Blog Post by Russell Brackett, Sonoma State University Communications Major and Multimedia Communications Intern in the School of Education


When I saw the Caine's Arcade video for the first time, I couldn't help but smile uncontrollably. Flashbacks to my childhood washed over me as I watched this amazing kid use his imagination to build something incredible out of nothing. This video tells the story of a creative kid from East LA who built an incredible pretend arcade out of cardboard boxes. It was heartwarming to see especially in this world of video games and nonstop technology.

When I heard we were putting on our own Global Cardboard Challenge at Sonoma State, in response to the Caine's Arcade video, I instantly began thinking of ways to contribute to this movement to get kids to be creative and have fun in the process. I not only thought about ways to film this event, but also the things that I could build with cardboard! This was a great opportunity to help not only the kids, but myself as well by taking me back to my childhood days of imaginative play.

Growing up, I was the type of kid who had to be told multiple times by my parents to get in the house for dinner. I'd always yell back "Just a minute!", but one minute often turned into fifteen before they physically would come and get me. I was often wrapped up in some imaginative scenario using random objects to build forts, cars, or weapons to fight battles to save a damsel in distress. This is why I was so excited because I remember getting lost in play on a daily basis as a kid and always having a blast! I waited in anticipation for the day of the Cardboard Challenge as I was hoping to relive some of something from my childhood.

October 10th finally arrived and I woke up excited and ready. Our plan was to build a village out of cardboard. Once the first wave of children began pouring in with their amazing creations built out of old boxes, I again found myself smiling and feeling happy in the same way I did when I watched the Caine's Arcade video the first time. 

Our event included preschoolers, elementary kids and college students who built houses, hospitals, and even trees for the village, made colorful with the splash of poster paint. Sounds of laughter and happiness could be heard throughout the makeshift village all day as more and more people poured in with their projects. 

Rocket ships, hotels, buses, ice cream shops, and all kinds of imaginative ideas built by people of all ages filled the quad. I was focused on filming, but there were a couple moments where I had to step back, put the camera down, and just enjoy what was taking place.

As a videographer, I film all day in hopes of capturing those moments that not only look good on camera, but most importantly evoke emotion in my viewers. Those moments were not hard to find that day as everyone who participated seemed genuinely excited to be there, and it showed in their body language and finished projects. 

At the end of the day, I was exhausted but couldn't help smiling as I knew we had accomplished something great. That day will always serve as a reminder that no matter your age, it is important to step away and be creative just like when you were a kid.

To read more about the event visit The Startup Classroom website. Check out my finished video story here: Global Cardboard Challenge Video