Tag Archives: Community

Love the final photo project my 8th graders made to represent Diversity at @The_School! #artsed #edchat

The 8th graders at The School at Columbia University engage in an amazing multi-month unit where they choose, research, and design a Social Action Project. Two of my favorite girls asked me to help them produce a mural to showcase the incredible diversity (and cuteness) of our school community. I sheparded them to every classroom (K-8) in the building and supervised their photo shoots. We had the kids pose with both “yearbook smiles” and goofy faces. After, the 8th graders chose the best images from their files and used iPhoto to crop and print 3″x3″ prints. They arranged them on a row of poster boards and placed a border declaring “We are One!” around the perimeter.

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Playing with the #SketchpadExplorer app. Download it for free until 11/1/11 via @keypress

Daniel Scher is a principal investigator for The Dynamic Number Project. He works to create the iPad-compatible constructions for the Sketchpad Explorer app. Sketchpad Explorer is the iPad companion to Geometer’s Sketchpad software program – both are published by Key Curriculum Press (@keypress on Twitter).

Daniel will be coming to The School at Columbia University to help me help the 5th grade teachers integrate Sketchpad Explorer into their math curriculum. He’s psyched to watch/evalutate how kids learn with the app versus the software versus without either, and I’m excited to get a full grade of teachers to use a tool that I consider to be an industry standard for math educators. I love Geometer’s Sketchpad, and I recently gushed about Sketchpad Explorer on Scholastic’s Best in Tech Today.

Upon opening the Sketchpad Explorer app, there is an animated proof of the Pythagorian Theorem.


On the bottom right corner is a book icon. This takes you to many options, one of which is to visit the Sketch Exchange community site. From here, you can click Sketch Exchange sketches tagged with ipad, and then you can choose dynamic numberin the tag cloud. These sketches open up with the full Geometer’s Sketchpad software program as well.


There are four pages of sketches to choose from. I initially chose Balance Scale: Solving for Unknowns Part 1. When you choose a sketch, further down the page you’ll find links to download activity notes, worksheets, and the actual sketch with the .gsp suffix. I was super excited to note the CreativeCommons license (!) of Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivativeswhich translates to: Give me credit, don’t make money off it, and don’t alter it. I love Creative Commons almost as much as Geometer’s Sketchpad. 🙂


I had a bit of fun playing with this screen trying to figure out the value of the star and other shapes using the fulcrum, and yes, I think I’m smarter than a 5th grader.


Download the Sketchpad Explorer app here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sketchpad-explorer/id452811793?mt=8

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Videos from TEDxYouth@TheSchool on YouTube


Scroll left and right in the embedded video player to watch the 16 videos of our TEDxYouth@School speakers. Or just click a specific talk from the list below:

Adam Seidel

Allegra Califano

Carson Chodos

Cecelia Nealon-Shapiro

Christina Gelsone

Hunter Johansson

Juan Villar-Ojito

Leave it Better

Maura Milles

Michelle Cheung

Neal Taparia and Darshan Somashekar

Stacey Murphy

Steve Bergen

The Columbia Clefhangers

The Flying Karamazov Brothers

The Manhattan Country School students


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I am so amazed and proud about TEDxYouth@TheSchool today!

I am so honored and lucky to work at The School at Columbia University, especially on days like today. I planned with a small, dedicated group of faculty to organize TEDxYouth@TheSchool, and now that it is over, I am sitting in awe over what we accomplished. TEDxYouth@TheSchool was one of 60 events happening worldwide as part of TEDxYouthDay on November 20th, 2010 (also known as Universal Children’s Day). It was a day dedicated to inspiring and empowering youth all over the world to know that they can be The One, they can make a difference, and they can change the world, both locally and globally.

My committee gathered speakers from all over the city:

The Flying Karamazov Brothers performed and spoke of their interest in community service (Twitter: @fkbjugglers)

Leave it Better spoke of their efforts to transform public spaces for the next generation, working with children to create urban gardens in abandoned lots. Graham Meriwether is also a producer of the documentary “American Meat” (Twitter: @leaveitbetter)

Hunter Johansson spoke of his work as a campaign president for Barack Obama in Jefferson County, Colorado

Stacey Murphy of BK Farmyards spoke of her amazing mission to create, sustain, and nourish through urban farming and community agriculture initiatives (Twitter: @bkfarmyards)

Juan Villar-Ojito, a junior in high school, spoke of his passion for acting and his experience being in a production of The Laramie Project

Christina Gelsone, clown/actress/acrobat/performer/traveler/peacemaker, spoke of bringing laughter and performance art to people all over the world with The Bond Street Theatre (Twitter: @Bond_St_Theatre)

Steve Bergen wowed the audience with his props, musical sylings, and dedication to helping other. I volunteer with him at Tech Saturdays. (Twitter: @SteveBergen)

Neal Taparia and Darshan Somashekar shared their experience creating EasyBib as high schoolers! (Twitter: @EasyBib)

7th and 8th graders from  The Manhattan Country School, Vaughn, Isaiah, and Mayo talked about their impressive activism projects that took them to Washington D.C. to represent a variety of causes.

Adam Seidel of Common Cents spoke of his uncommon work bridging schools and community organizations and supervising the Penny Harvest. (Twitter: @commoncentsNY)

The Columbia Clefhangers gave an amazing performance! Their diverse group literally demonstrated how people can come together in harmony.

Carson Chodos is a social studies teacher at The School and spoke about education versus schooling and how “lliteracy should be redefined to include what you’re doing with it.”

Michelle Cheung, an advocate at iMentor and ESL teacher talked about how volunteering is a lifestyle. I love that!

Maura Milles of Hand in Hand talked about bilingual schools where Israeli and Arab children live and learn peacefully (Twitter: @hand_in_hand)

Ceceia Nealon-Shapiro is a high school junior and spoke of her service work in Africa, Israel, and here in New York City.

Allegra Califano is a sophomore and is an active member of her school’s Red Cross Club. She thrives on opportunities to contribute and learn.

As per TEDx guidelines, we also watched two TED Talk videos:

Josh Silver’s TED Talk demos adjustable liquid-filled eyeglasses


Josh Klein’s TED Talk of the amazing intelligence of crows

The hard work was all worth it. The day went swimmingly and would not have been possible without:

The School at Columbia University and our head of school, Annette Raphel – for hosting, providing security, funding what was needed, ensuring our space was safe and clean, and being a place where I am inspired every day

Flik Independent School Dining – for nourishing our bodies at breakfast and lunch between sessions where our speakers fed our minds

Gina Marcel – she (wo)manned the assortment of cameras for the livestream and the archival footage and assisted as needed for weeks (Twitter: @fpgina)

Andrew Gardner – who rallied to gather speakers (including his brother-in-law, Hunter), helped design the program, generously gave his time for setup/cleanup, and asked many a question to keep me on track and focused so I didn’t have to wallow in anxiety (Twitter: @agardnahh)

Zoe Paraskevopoulos – who brought in The Flying Karamazov Brothers, Christina Gelsone of Bond Street Theatre, and Michelle Cheung, chose our TED Talks for the day, live tweeted the entire day from our @TEDxYouthTSCU Twitter account after 2 minutes of instruction on how to use Twitter, set up our livestream lab where students could watch other TEDxYouthDay events happening around the world, and made me want to learn how to spell her last name out of respect for how awesome she is (Twitter: @zparaske)

Kathryn Kaiser – who probably could have managed to put on TEDxYouth@TheSchool singlehandedly, but luckily had lots of other responsibilities as a parent and principal at The School, thus allowing the rest of us to work equally hard

Kate Berten – she designed our program, liaised with speakers, and managed our stage design (Twitter: @k8berten)

Julia Alexander – created the lovely signage throughout the building and managed speaker prep for many of our talks

Sabrina Goldberg – who brought in two of our our alumni speakers and helped communicate with parents

Cristina Martinez – who set up and taught me how to manage our website created with DrupalGardens (Twitter: @finlaycm)

Don Buckley – my boss and mentor who inspired me to build a day that would impress him 🙂 (Twitter: @donbuckley)

The Parents Association who advertised TEDxYouth@TheSchool every week in our school newsletter, “The Lion’s Share,” and communicated with the parent body to reinforce the value of our event

Kiersten Chou – for photographing the event and for hooking me up with Graham Meriwether of Leave It Better and Stacey Murphy of BK Farmyards (Twitter: @choutofu)

Please enjoy the photos below and in the TEDxYouth@TheSchool Flickr group pool:


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