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What Does Good Work Look Like?

This video is excerpted from the video: The Good Project -- Developing Responsible, Caring, and Balanced Youth from A GoodWork Conference. Teachers attending a course led by Ron Berger identify features that make student work good.

Video credits:
Erin Preston and Melissa Rivard


- I want you to browse for 10 minutes, and look at anything, and if you’re an elementary teacher from Sheyboygan, I still want you to look at high school work, and if you’re a high school teacher, I still want you to look at elementary work. After nine minutes, I’m going to ask you to for some reason go back and choose a piece or two that really struck you, and we’re going to ask you to bring it to your table, and we’re going to do a protocol to talk about that, why it struck you. So, I read the introduction and I found out it was actually done by high school kids, and it was done by high school kids for younger kids, that are in Hawaiian Immersion Charter Schools, and are trying to learn Hawaiian. So, they took an Hawaiian myth, and did all the artwork for it, and retold the myth, but what really grabbed me about this product was not just the illustration, but the fact that you get to the middle of the book, and it ends, and you flip it over, and it’s the identical book in Hawaiian, and then you can read the same thing in the Hawaiian language, and so, students that are, learning Hawaiian can keep flipping back and forth from english to Hawaiian, and it turns out that, they are producing curriculum for the Hawaiian Immersion Charter Schools throughout the state of Hawaii, because there isn’t much of it, and so why not have older kids create for younger kids, because they learn how to write, and draw, and do book publishing, and they’re also contributing a service of spreading their culture. That’s the way I’d like you to share, show pictures, read aloud, tell people why you picked this one up, what interested you about it.

- I was thinking about our newest science, lesson which is electricity, and this is questions that kids came up with, questions about space that people asked, and then they drew the illustrations, and they wrote a short piece about it, and I thought what a great way to assess what they know, and they can pick the topic that they want to answer, I mean look at those illustrations, they’re gorgeous, so that’s, that’s what this book is about.

- I have a real interesting in architecture, and I think this is, for children, it’s a very symbolic practice, with architecture, and it goes right to the, to the core of a sense of safety, and family, and community, buildings that are sort of cared for.

- Here is the Mayor of Greenfield, and they have the assistant of the school that they’re from, so it’s like valuing the work that’s being done around them, and they have to go out to the community and do interviews, of these people, and they had a really great introduction, about like, how they had never interviewed anyone before, and it was awkward, that they were shy, and I love this secondcommunity cultivators, and sort of going on with what we were talking about before, of that’s a concept to be aware of that, we as a community, cultivate what makes it a community. No matter how different people may appear, whether we are White, African American, Spanish, Asian, short and tall, fat and skinny, our intentions in striving for true happiness are all the same, like wow, for kids to grow up with that concept, and to get to know people in their community, and teach the people about those people, and so they went through, and they took pictures, beautiful pictures, also, and then wrote about them, and they look really professional, with a good quote from each person, and they summarize what they do, and then a little summary of who they are.

- [Voice] It’s a great photograph.

- [Voice] Such a civics curriculum isn’t it?

- I know, it was just really, and I’m like, who, this person lives in my community, and they’re teaching nonviolence, I was like, I wanna go find out what they’re doing, yeah.

- My father worked in a chemical plant, he worked in the same plant for 43 years, same job, and he retired at age 68, he died at age 69, but in the one year that he was retired, he and my mother went to Europe, and it was so exciting for them, and they did 14 countries in 12 days, and they were excited, but they couldn’t remember what, country ‘cause it was through the train window, and I thought, that was my entire education, as a kid, was going through textbooks like that, and I kept thinking if they had stopped in Barcelona, for example, for three days, and met you, and visited your school, and had dinner with you, and seen the culture, they would have come back and said, “Oh Spain, it’s so amazing, the culture is so beautiful.”, they couldn’t say that, because they actually never got off long enough in any one country, to do it, and I think we put our kids on that train, where we’re racing, racing, racing to cover standards, and we don’t stop in Barcelona for a few days, in a way that they’ll remember it years later. So, standards are fine, but you can’t go equally deep in each one, otherwise you’re always in a rush, you take a survey mode some of the time, and you go deep other times.

- It’s amazing, those projects are so impressive, to be another kid in the classroom, like I could never do that, but it makes it possible for every kid to do it.

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