Teachers Teaching Teachers #231 - What does passionate inquiry look like at a charter school in rural Oregon? 1.12.11

Post-Show description: 

We are delighted to introduce you to Travis Powell on this episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers. Travis is a member of the Oregon Writing Project, and he teaches at a unique school that he \co-founded, the Child’s Way Charter School in Oregon.

We met Travis at a gaming workshop at the National Writing Project’s annual meeting in November and at a NWP Maker workshop.

We are delighted to introduce you to Travis Powell on this episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers. Travis is a member of the Oregon Writing Project, and he teaches at a unique school that he Photoon20100901at12.473_2.jpg?width=183&height=183&crop=1%3A1co-founded, the Child’s Way Charter School in Oregon.

We met Travis at a gaming workshop at the National Writing Project’s annual meeting in November and at a NWP Maker workshop.

Here’s what Travis says about his school and his work there:

The charter is in its fifth year of operation. The charter's mission is to create environments that allow the students to explore and discover their strengths and weaknesses in their educational development. We have an emphasis on the implementation of technology. I am a co-founder of the charter and my role was and is the implementation of some of the theories on education put forth by Gardner, Glasser, Dewy, Maslow & Payne ... I serve a low SES population of 24 students ranging in grades from 9th -12th. Each student has a laptop with internet access along with ipad touches on loan form CATE, center for advanced technology in education, out of the University of Oregon.

The class has done some short videos on our ning.


The ning showcases some of their individual and group projects. In "Problems have Solutions" the students learned what it takes to solve the Cube and then construct a machine to solve the cube. Another project is "Solar Hydrogen" part II.

My goal is to get the students to realize the potential. Be able to read, write, think abstractly (mathematics), apply the scientific method, and communicate effectively at a college level by the time they leave the charter. In tandem, develop a four year plan post high school (two-year, four-year college, vocational, ...) with clear objectives with feedback on accomplishing those steps....


Click Read more to see a copy of the chat that was happening during the webcast.

20:51:45 Paul Allison: Hi friends!
20:51:59 Paul Allison: http://paulallison.tumblr.com/post/2705548418/you-didnt-miss-travis-join...
20:53:21 Camilla Elliott: Hello Paul,  I'm logging from Melbourne Australia.  Can't help thinking that we could use some of your ideas from the Voices on the Gulf project to deal with our flood crisis in Queensland.
20:53:58 Chris Sloan: How's the flooding affecting you and your school, Camilla?
20:54:19 SusanEttenheim: Hi Camilla welcome!
20:55:17 Paul Allison: Thanks for being here Camilla. Where do you teach these days?
20:55:26 rachael: Hi everyone I'm loggin in from Adelaide australia and have been thinking the same as you Camilla. Our locals did a great effort last night at the cricket raising almost $25000. a great effort but I am thinking about those kids about tostart school in about 3 weeks
20:55:56 Bill O'Neal: Hi everyone.
20:56:05 Chris Sloan: Hi Bill
20:56:08 Camilla Elliott: I'm at Mazenod College, Mulgrave (Melbourne) 1250 boys Yr 7-12
20:56:20 Chris Sloan: That's a lot of boys Camilla
20:57:14 Camilla Elliott: I agree Chris but they're beautiful boys.  Represent 85 nationalities so you could call us multicultural!
20:57:53 Chris Sloan: Is that normal for Australia?  We don't have a lot of nationalities here in Utah.
20:58:12 rachael: does anyone have sound or do we just have the chatroom at the momnet?
20:58:31 SusanEttenheim: Hi everyone - you should be hearing us now
20:58:36 SusanEttenheim: how's the sound?
20:58:45 Chris Sloan: 85 nationalities makes for some unique challenges Camilla.
20:58:47 SusanEttenheim: Hi Bill!
20:58:48 Camilla Elliott: Like the weather.  Nationality density in Australia is very varied.
20:58:56 SusanEttenheim: Hi Rachael welcome!
20:59:05 SusanEttenheim: oh and bernard_70 welcome
20:59:16 SusanEttenheim: please introduce yourself everyone!
20:59:21 rachael: Hi Susan, I don't have any sound
20:59:23 SusanEttenheim: Welcome, I'm at a high school in NYC
20:59:37 SusanEttenheim: rachael - what platform are you on?
20:59:42 Chris Sloan: I'm at a high school in Salt Lake City, Utah
21:00:14 Camilla Elliott: Hi Chris, challenges with the number of nationalities, yes. We have very strong ed support team.  You need to be constantly conscious of differing perspectives but others would be familiar with that.
21:00:33 rachael: I am using windows 7
21:00:36 bernard_70: hello everyone, my name is Bernardo and I teach English as a foreign language in Mexico mainly to teenagers and young adults
21:00:38 SusanEttenheim: rachael can you hear now?
21:00:54 SusanEttenheim: welcome Bernardo! How did you find us?
21:00:58 rachael: Hi everyone I am a teacher of 10 years and moving into education technology specialist in 2011
21:01:06 bernard_70: tweeter
21:01:22 SusanEttenheim: great! welcome everyone
21:01:25 bernard_70: twitter, sorry
21:01:44 rachael: no sound???
21:01:46 Chris Sloan: Hola Bernard. Hablo espanol un poquito, but necessito practicar.
21:01:50 SusanEttenheim: rachael do you see the little volume icon?
21:02:02 Bill O'Neal: I'm running Windows 7 Ultimate and can hear using Real Player, not Media Player.
21:02:04 rachael: yes it is on
21:02:20 SusanEttenheim: no I mean at edtechtalk.com on the right
21:02:37 Paul Allison: http://paulallison.tumblr.com/post/2705548418/you-didnt-miss-travis-join...
21:03:31 bernard_70: hola Chris!! I know what you mean, practice makes perfect, and that's why I am here to see if I can learn some new ideas from you guys to improve my teaching and share
21:03:57 SusanEttenheim: Bernardo - what do you teach? what ages?
21:04:00 Chris Sloan: Great. I think we're all trying to improve our teaching through collaboration.
21:04:04 rachael:  Yes I get the welcome when new members join the group but no conversation
21:04:11 SusanEttenheim: rachael - how are you doing with the sound?
21:04:35 bernard_70: Thanks for the opportunity. I teach mainly teenagers and young adults at a language institute in Mexico City
21:05:37 SusanEttenheim: hi gcarboni - welcome!
21:05:48 rachael: got it thanks everyone
21:05:59 SusanEttenheim: oh great rachael! what did you change?
21:06:06 Chris Sloan: Bernard, are your students from Mexico or other countries?
21:06:12 gcarboni: good evening - first time here
21:06:13 rachael: used realplayer
21:06:18 SusanEttenheim: ah great!
21:06:24 bernard_70: Mainly Mexican students, but also have some students from other countries, central and south america but most of them share Spanish as mother tongue
21:06:26 SusanEttenheim: and you're in Australia too?
21:07:02 SusanEttenheim: Bernardo, I have Spanish teachers at my school in NYC who would love to have their students corresponding with students in Mexico!
21:07:27 Chris Sloan: We've got some Spanish speaking students from other schools who blog in the Youth Voices community too.
21:09:05 Chris Sloan: I'd like to hear from one or both of the Australian teachers about the flooding situation at some point in the next hour.  And how that might impact their schools.
21:09:13 rachael: Yes I am in Adelaide. I am thinking about getting something like the Voices on the Gulf for our Queensland colleagues. our school year staarting in about 3 weeks. I have just completed my Masters at a university that I believe had been flooded in the current disaster
21:09:43 Chris Sloan: This sounds like fascinating work Rachael
21:09:44 SusanEttenheim: rachael was your program online?
21:09:47 bernard_70: Chris that would be great for involving students in real tasks and getting them interested in interacting with people from other countries using English
21:10:24 Camilla Elliott: Hi Rachael.  Where do you teach in Adelaide?
21:10:27 SusanEttenheim: maybe you (Bernardo) and Rachael could use the Voices on the Gulf and the Youth Voices site to connect without having to create new sites
21:10:35 rachael: 14 dead over 100000 houses and businesses flooded, over 4000 in evacuation centres across QLD the area covered in flood waters is about 5 x UK
21:10:41 Chris Sloan: I've got one student who's pretty much bilingual and very much wants to converse in Spanish.  He's an excellent speaker and writer of English. His Spanish is pretty good too
21:10:45 SusanEttenheim: We already have an active community so there would be people to share ideas and images!
21:11:31 Chris Sloan: @rachael. This is the worst flooding ever, right?
21:12:19 rachael: I think that would be great. I am not teaching at the moment (going for a job interview at the Childrens and Womens hosptal to be a manger of e-Learning)
21:12:43 SusanEttenheim: how interesting.. did you do any of your own studies online?
21:12:51 Chris Sloan: e-learning with medical professionals?
21:13:04 Chris Sloan: or e-learning with university students?
21:14:07 rachael: I believe so area wise but the levels were not as high as 1974 facebook page to get live info (Facebook.com/9news, use #QLDfloods on twiter is amazng)
21:14:55 rachael: Yes susan all of my studies online - I am hoping my supervisors and facilitators are all OK
21:15:14 Camilla Elliott: Qld flooding is usually associated with cyclones.  This event isn't, it's coming from the warming of the ocean.  The rain has just been constant for weeks.
21:15:15 rachael: E-learnign withthe medical staff
21:15:42 SusanEttenheim: I did a lot of my advanced work online too and loved it
21:16:01 Chris Sloan: Camilla and Rachael, forgive my ignorance of Australian geography, but how far apart are the two of you from each other?
21:16:42 rachael: back in anmoment have to just og for a minute
21:16:42 SusanEttenheim: hi Bill - are your students traditional age?
21:16:51 Chris Sloan: btw, I'm getting a doctorate in Ed Psych and Ed Studies currently from Michigan State University even though I live 1,000 miles away in Utah
21:17:06 Chris Sloan: Ed Psych and Ed Tech, I mean
21:17:13 Bill O'Neal: Oh yes. All 9th this year.
21:17:20 SusanEttenheim: ahh
21:17:32 SusanEttenheim: Chris do you have to go there once a year at all?
21:18:00 Chris Sloan: two weeks in the summer, the rest is online (videoconferencing, skype, etc)
21:18:12 Paul Allison: http://radar.oreilly.com/2010/12/teachers-as-makers.html
21:18:17 SusanEttenheim: ahh yes there's a library science degree at Syracuse like that too
21:18:23 SusanEttenheim: people love the program!
21:18:33 Camilla Elliott: @Chris - we are both in southern Australia.  Rachael in in Adelaide (South Australia) and I'm in Melbourne (Victoria)- The floods are in Queensland (north eastern state bigger than Texas)
21:20:24 SusanEttenheim: rachael, bernardo, and camilla - have you done technical writing with your students?
21:20:38 Chris Sloan: I'd like to hear more about your ideas for a Voices on the Gulf concept for Australia.
21:23:18 Paul Allison: http://cwcharter.ning.com/
21:23:56 Camilla Elliott: @Susan - my role is Head of Library and eLearning Coordinator.  I work closely with teachers introducing ideas and supporting.  The Qld Dept of Educ has a huge statewide learning platform.  I'm in touch with the President of International Assoc of School Libraries so I was planning to speak to her about looking at the concept as a mean of teacher-librarians supporting students but enabling them to express experiences and emotions.
21:24:25 rachael: I think the students need to have that outlet and many students from our southern states could provide support. I heard yesterday the area effected by cyclone Katrina is 250000square miles Queensland disaster area is 1000000 square miles
21:26:36 rachael: I have a 13 year old of my own who was making things on her computer yesterday in reflection of this disaster. an we don't have any family or friends directly involved.I think this is a reflection of all students needing to have somewhere to post thoughts and support
21:26:44 Camilla Elliott: That is a great ning site.
21:27:23 Chris Sloan: Rachael, very important process you daughter is doing.  It sounds like some of the processing that the Gulf students are doing
21:28:09 Chris Sloan: It's natural to try to express those thoughts via some media
21:28:19 Camilla Elliott: One hour a day 'tinker time'.  What a good idea.
21:28:56 SusanEttenheim: I wonder how you keep it moving ahead or how you deal with the person who isn't into it that day....
21:29:12 rachael: I would like to take some of these ideas to school when the students go back and support teachers to participate.
21:29:38 SusanEttenheim: rachael what ages will you be working with?
21:30:43 rachael: I dont have work yet If im not working at teh hospital I will volunteer to work with and junior or middle school  grades willing to listen
21:31:19 SusanEttenheim: I think volunteering is often a door into a place..
21:31:40 rachael: agreed
21:32:29 Camilla Elliott: I know what you're saying Susan.  Sometimes these projects are better not mandatory for the whole class.
21:33:04 SusanEttenheim: it's great if everyone finds a passion!
21:33:41 Camilla Elliott: I was interested to read about the role of charter schools in 'Disrupting Class' by Christensen.
21:34:03 Chris Sloan: I read Disrupting Class too.
21:34:38 Chris Sloan: If I recall, he talks about using them as laboratories so that mainstream schools can apply those lessons for all kids
21:35:27 Camilla Elliott: Yes.  He talks about these schools and the church schools as having more flexibility than some in the public system.
21:36:00 Chris Sloan: And that's true. I'm in a private school and have a lot of flexibility.  
21:36:20 Chris Sloan: Some of the charter schools around me don't seem to have the laboratory school philosophy though
21:36:41 SusanEttenheim: yes - great book!
21:36:44 rachael: I agree that just because the student is a cretain age they should be progressed into the next grade level. lets make sure all students achieve the learning outcomes, maybe through flexible learning and integrated online and face to face instruction
21:37:33 Camilla Elliott: Yes.  I'm in the Catholic system.  Australia has 3 educ systems - Government, Catholic and Independent.  Independents have more flexibility than either of the other two.
21:37:45 rachael: has anyone thought about using social meda for collaborative learning and learning conversations?
21:38:06 Chris Sloan: yes Rachael, that's what Youth Voices is all about
21:38:57 Chris Sloan: My students discuss their digital work with students far away from them.
21:40:15 Chris Sloan: My students use a number of other social media like FaceBook, VoiceThread, etc
21:40:34 Chris Sloan: but whatever the platform, it's about learning conversations
21:40:49 SusanEttenheim: and networking around a shared interest online!
21:40:57 Chris Sloan: and real collaboration, right Susan.
21:41:02 SusanEttenheim: :)
21:41:17 SusanEttenheim: student to student facilitated by classes but not the traditional class epals
21:41:40 Chris Sloan: Susan and my photo students are trying to collaborate in numerous ways
21:41:47 rachael: I know this is why I feelit is so important to replicat this for our current situation even though we are about 3000km from the disaster but in the medium term the flood waters will run almost past our door through the murry river system
21:42:00 SusanEttenheim: so we did have school today but my photo class didn't meet today
21:42:18 SusanEttenheim: that's amamzing rachael
21:42:22 SusanEttenheim: hi tim welcome!
21:42:32 SusanEttenheim: where and what do you teach? welcome back!
21:43:01 SusanEttenheim: what questions or comments do you all have for Travis or Paul or Chris?
21:43:52 Camilla Elliott: What Bill is doing is giving students the chance to discover their own technical skills.  Some students these days can't even use a screwdriver.
21:44:13 SusanEttenheim: one of my classes begged for home ec!
21:44:41 Chris Sloan: It sounds like John Dewey and his laboratory school
21:44:52 Chris Sloan: They built houses
21:46:04 rachael: I like the "no filters". the kids generally don't have filters at home so why restrict them at school?
21:46:27 Chris Sloan: I don't have a whole lot of filters in my media room either.
21:46:41 tim: hi
21:46:49 Camilla Elliott: Excuse me - should say Travis. This sounds like real incentive to learn.  I believe students get off track only when they have no power in the situation.  Boys love this type of discovery.
21:46:50 SusanEttenheim: hi tim - welcome!
21:46:56 tim: hi susan
21:47:09 tim: sorry - got a skype call just as I entered channel
21:47:30 SusanEttenheim: no prob!
21:47:33 rachael: its like only opening the door half way and asking the students to look through this to learn
21:47:47 SusanEttenheim: please introduce yourself - where do you teach and what do you teach?
21:47:50 tim: i teach in Wellington, NZ - 12-13 year olds
21:47:57 Chris Sloan: nice metaphor Rachael
21:47:59 tim: i teach the lot
21:48:09 Camilla Elliott: Sounds like there is a assumption that everyone is there to learn something.
21:48:12 SusanEttenheim: wow tonight's australia night!
21:48:13 rachael: thanks chris
21:48:20 Chris Sloan: and nz
21:48:25 SusanEttenheim: yes and nz!
21:48:33 Camilla Elliott: @susan - we're on school holidays.
21:48:44 tim: helps that we're on holidays - and it's 4pm here in nz
21:48:52 SusanEttenheim: ahh
21:48:58 Chris Sloan: any flooding in nz?
21:49:00 rachael: its 1:20pm in Adelaids
21:49:08 tim: nah
21:49:14 SusanEttenheim: well, we're pleased that joining us is what you choose to do when you're on vacation!!
21:50:08 Bill O'Neal: Gotta run. Good night everyone!
21:50:18 SusanEttenheim: night bill!
21:50:31 Camilla Elliott: 1.49 pm here in Victoria.  So often we are restricted through the time issue.  It's a real bonus to participate rather than just listen to the podcast.
21:50:53 SusanEttenheim: glad you can join us!
21:51:49 rachael: I agree Camilla, we moved over here in OCtober last year. my 10 years of teaching were in Shepparton, Echuca and surrounding this area
21:53:33 Camilla Elliott: @rachael - I was educated in Echuca.
21:53:53 rachael: What school?
21:54:23 Camilla Elliott: St Joseph's
21:54:29 rachael: Do you know Erica Elliot? I taught with her in 2009
21:56:15 tim: khanacademy is useful.
21:56:21 tim: esp. for specific knowledge
21:56:38 Camilla Elliott: Khanacademy.org   Also on Youtube
21:57:33 tim: imho - it needs to be used alongside teacher+group work.
21:59:47 rachael: LOVE IT
22:00:16 rachael: Camilla do you have a skype account I would love to collaborate with you in the "Voices" project.
22:01:18 Camilla Elliott: Place-based education - this is new term to me.  Just found this with a quick gsearch  www.promiseofplace.org
22:01:49 Camilla Elliott: @rachael - I'm on skype at cmelliott
22:01:56 Chris Sloan: I think what Rachael is talking about is place-based education
22:02:51 rachael: great i'm rachael.bath
22:05:33 Camilla Elliott: gamestarmechanic.com - thanks for that Travis.  You have been great to listen to.
22:06:49 SusanEttenheim: thanks for joining us everyone!
22:07:01 rachael: awesome work everyone thanks. Lets get the Aussie conversation started!
22:07:14 Chris Sloan: thanks and good luck with the flooding. Keep in touch
22:07:25 tim: Sweet. Happy New Year all
22:07:26 Camilla Elliott: Travis is the type of teacher who doesn't have the need to be the expert.  this is obviously good for the students.  Thanks