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Showing posts from April, 2018

On Strike

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The public supports us.

Being on strike makes me proud. To see and hear the support of the public every morning on the picket line, I am further convinced L.A. teachers made the right choice to leave the classroom. It is not an easy choice for many single income teachers, but it is one of the reasons we are striking. Teachers should not have to live paycheck to paycheck when educating society's children.



But our strike is about more than that, and it seems the public is aware of what we have been concerned about for years. In the middle of one morning's picket session I realized that the education reformers had been so very wrong in what they were telling us. The public knows and understands that we know what's best for children in schools. They place their precious children in our hands to educate, and want us to do our job unencumbered by district edicts and structures that get in the way.

The public supports us.


Being on strike is not what I thought it would be. It is be…

Supporting Nature in Schools, Part 2

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When I first signed up to visit Villa Elba Youth Center and Nature School, I was under the impression that this was a school that incorporated outdoor education as a part of their theme. However, the nature school network operates outside of the traditional school system but in support of it. Nature education is expressly addressed in the National Core Curriculum.
For example, at age 7-16 the goal is “…to raise environmentally conscious citizens who are committed to a sustainable way of life. The schools must teach future-oriented thinking and building the future on ecologically, economically, socially, and culturally sustainable premises.” (NCC, 2004, 39)
For older students, the theme is Sustainable Development. Students are encouraged to pursue a sustainable lifestyle, to take action for sustainable development, and to examine the challenges of SD (NCC, 2003, 28–29).
There are several major nature schools in Finland and it is customary for many students, to attend Camp School, whic…

Supporting Nature in Schools, Part 1

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One of the goals of my Fulbright project was not only to examine how Finnish schools incorporate break time into their schedules, but how much of that time is spent outdoors.

How do kids know what to do outdoors?

Do the teachers follow them around?

Do kids have to be strictly supervised?

Is there a difference between the activities of boys vs. girls?


To that end, my goal here in Finland has been not only to observe schools, but also nature organizations that might support outdoor learning and experiences.

I hit the lottery with the help of nature school teacher Maria Svens, who I reached out to before I even arrived in the country. Her article about the Finnish Outdoor Classroom gave me an overview of how organizations can support schools in teaching students about nature. Maria then connected me with Sara Kall from the Villa Elba Youth Center in Kokkola, Finland where I was fortunate to be able to spend two days shadowing this incredible nature school teacher.

The enthusiasm with wh…