Since 1995, Community Works Institute has worked with thousands of educators and schools, across the U.S. and internationally, providing ON SITE customized workshops and professional development. learn more
on Place, Service, and Sustainability
Lessons from an Activist Intellectual
by Jose Zapata Calderon
This book provides examples of how an academician can combine the roles of teacher, researcher, and activist with a community-based critical pedagogy for democracy and empowerment.
This book discusses the interconnections made between José Calderón’s pedagogy and his history as an immigrant, student, social movement leader, researcher, professor, and community organizer. At the same time, it provides examples of an interactive, intercultural, and interdisciplinary pedagogy that involves both students and community participants as both teachers and learners in social change projects. This style of pedagogy has a particular salience for historically excluded individuals from diverse racial, class, gender, and sexual orientation backgrounds, for whom the educational experience can be both an alienating and empowering experience.
By Stuart Grauer
Fearless Teaching is a stirring and audacious jaunt around the world that peeks—with the eyes of one of America’s most seasoned educators–into places you will surely never see on your own. Some are disappearing. It is a bit like playing hooky from school. You will travel to the Swiss Alps, Korea, Navajo, an abandoned factory in Missouri, the Holy Land, the Great Rift Valley, the schools of Cuba, the ocean waves, and the human subconscious—oh, and Disneyland. There you will find colorful stories for the encouragement, inspiration, and courage needed by educators and parents. Fearless Teaching is not a fix-it book—it is more a way of seeing the world and the school so that you can stay in your work and focus on what matters most to you.
"Stuart Grauer is rapidly becoming one of America's most important and popular educational story-tellers. With Fearless Teaching, Grauer makes an invaluable contribution to the urgent conversation that we all must have if we are to successfully change the direction and substance of formal education. In Grauer's hands the 'story telling' directs us to crucial and well researched truths about education."
Joe Brooks, Executive Director,
Community Works Institute (CWI)
Stuart Grauer is the founder of The Grauer School and The Small Schools Coalition, and a regular essayist for Community Works Journal. He has taught all grades, elementary school through graduate and his awards include the Fulbright and the University of San Diego Career Achievement. Grauer’s work has been covered by Discovery Channel and The New York Times. His previous book, Real Teachers: True Stories of Renegade Educators (2013), brings joy, courage and imagination to the dialogue on education” order Fearless Teaching l Stuart's Journal articles
Tomorrow’s Change Makers
By Dr. Marilyn Price-Mitchell
Youth volunteerism and civic engagement has changed in America. While the numbers of young people who volunteer have risen substantially, recent studies show that very few find meaning and purpose through serving their communities. For many, volunteerism has become just another school requirement that bolsters a good college resume.
Dr. Marilyn Price-Mitchell suggests that in order for democracy to flourish, we must reverse these trends. Through real stories from civically-engaged youth, Tomorrow’s Change Makers illustrates the types of relationships and experiences that propel today’s young people to work toward the betterment of society. These narratives, combined with research in child and adolescent development, show why meaningful service should be at the heart of educating and raising American children. Introducing The Compass Advantage™ framework for understanding and applying core principles of positive youth development, Price-Mitchell demonstrates how families, schools, and communities not only play vital roles in raising tomorrow's citizens, but also foster the conditions that help youth chart their own self-fulfilling pathways through life. learn more
Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD, is a developmental psychologist and fellow at the Institute for Social Innovation at Fielding Graduate University where she studies how young people become caring family members, innovative workers, ethical leaders, and engaged citizens in an increasingly complex society.
No More Robot: Building Kids' Character, Competence, and Sense of Place
By Bob Coulter
Place-based education offers a compelling opportunity to engage students in the life of their community. More than just taking a field trip, participants in a place-based project make sustained efforts to make a difference and learn basic skills along the way. Academic concepts come to life as real-world problems are investigated from a local angle. Even global issues can be connected to the community, such as the high school in Missouri that linked local land-use choices to the "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico. For teachers, place-based projects offer a chance for professional revitalization as they orchestrate complex and meaningful learning environments that go well beyond scripted curriculum mandates.
"Place-based education offers teachers and kids a chance to really engage with, and learn from, their local community. Experience has shown, though, that good projects only happen when the teacher is able to go beyond the scripted curriculum. In this book, Bob Coulter shows how these teachers see their jobs—and childhood—differently, and the significant impact this point of view has on their students. Educators looking for a compelling alternative to standards-based classrooms will find inspired guidance here." David Sobel, Senior Faculty, Antioch University New England.
Both teachers and students benefit from a new level of agency as they take ownership of their work. Drawing on his own experience as a teacher and more than a decade of work supporting teachers in crafting their own projects, the author outlines the many benefits of place-based education and describes the challenges that must be overcome if we are to realize its potential.Bob Coulter, Ed.D., is currently the director of the Litzsinger Road Ecology Center, a field site managed by the Missouri Botanical Garden. Previously, he was an award-winning elementary grade teacher. Published by Peter Lang, ISBN 978-1-4331-2471-6 pb. (Softcover) www.peterlang.com
The Lawyer as Leader: How to Plant People and Grow Justice
By Artika R Tyner
The Lawyer as Leader is an inspiring roadmap designed to help lawyers become effective agents for social change. Based on author Dr. Artika R. Tyner’s leadership development and community engagement work, Planting People, Growing Justice™, the book shows how attorneys can use their legal skills to work for social change, contribute to communities that foster social justice, and empower and develop new leaders.
Planting people is an organic process, which starts from the ground up. By empowering people within social change collectives so that they can develop into future leaders, growing justice is the materialization of planting people. Like a Banyan tree which has a unique ability to grow upwards from new roots that are formed in branches, the collective grows when new community members utilize their voices to advocate for social change.
The Lawyer as Leader is beacon call for lawyers who wish to harness their skills and training to become leaders in the struggle for social and economic justice. how to order
Affluenza: How Overconsumption Is Killing Us--and How to Fight Back
By John de Graaf, David Wann, Thomas H Naylor
NEW EDITION, REVISED AND UPDATED
affluenza, n. a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.
“The authors have packed their book with stunning facts, searing insights—and they point out a path forward.” Fast Company
The 2008 economic collapse proved how resilient and dangerous affluenza can be. Now in its third edition, this book can safely be called prophetic in showing how problems ranging from loneliness, endless working hours, and family conflict to rising debt, environmental pollution, and rampant commercialism are all symptoms of this global plague.
“Affluenza has easily passed the test of time and become an American classic, the book that raised our crisis of consumption to national awareness. Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and founder, 350.org
The new edition traces the role overconsumption played in the Great Recession, discusses new ways to measure social health and success (such as the Gross Domestic Happiness index), and offers policy recommendations to make our society more simplicity-friendly. The underlying message isn’t to stop buying—it’s to remember, always, that the best things in life aren’t things. Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., ISBN-13: 9781609949273
Teaching in the Outdoors
Edited by Tim Grant and Gail Littlejohn
Green Teacher's first ebook, Teaching in the Outdoors is a phenomenal collection, (especially so at only $5.99) and features seven of the best articles on outdoor education ever published in Green Teacher Magazine. In this comprehensive collection you will find tips and tricks for leading amazing field trips, and dozens of engaging activities you can do once you're there. We hope this book will inspire grand plans but at the same time provide the direction and tools to begin the journey in small, manageable steps.
Available for purchase in MOBI, EPUB and PDF format
To learn more visit greenteacher.com
What People Are Saying:
"Finally! Teachers have been looking for an accessible guide to outdoor teaching, one that identifies barriers and the bridges over those barriers – and this collection of clever, thoughtful, and well-written articles gives them what they need. Kudos to Green Teacher, yet again." - Gareth Thomson, Executive Director, Alberta Council for Environmental Education
“I have long wished for a clear and comprehensive resource to help give teachers confidence to carry their positive experiences in our district residential outdoor education program back to their own classroom teaching. Teaching in the Outdoors addresses both the fear and delight of teaching outdoors, and brings a variety of perspectives that will speak to a diversity of educators on what best practice outdoor learning looks, sounds and feels like and how to achieve it.” Margaret McKeon, Outdoor Education Coordinator, Newfoundland and Labrador English School District
"Green Teacher's Teaching in the Outdoors is a must read for classroom teachers, non/informal educators, preservice teachers and parents alike. This practical and down-to-earth guide will help both new and seasoned educators successfully turn the outdoors into an engaging and hands-on learning laboratory." Laura Downey, Executive Director, Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education
Real Teachers: True Stories of Renegade Educatorsorder now
by Stuart Grauer
Reviewed by Paula Cohen
—Paula Cohen is a classroom teacher in Los Angeles Unified District and is a faculty member of Community Works Institute.
Stories are sometimes the best teachers, acting as guides and helping us navigate the rough terrain of life. Stories are in our DNA , crucial to the human experience. They are like connective tissue. If you don’t believe so, then listen to a pin drop when you offer up a bit of your life to a classroom of students. That is exactly what educator and founder of The Grauer School and The Coalition for Small Preparatory Schools, Stuart Grauer does in his new book Real Teachers: True Stories of Renegade Educators. He offers up a bit of his rich life and educational experiences to readers in his eclectic collection of ten narratives, each story acting as a metaphor that parallels some of the most pressing issues facing education today. Woven into his tales are opportunities for thoughtful inquiry, coupled with research he has compiled over time on the subject of small schools, class size, regional and experiential learning.
For a new teachers, Real Teachers, is a must read, and with haste before the educational system wears you into their decided groove. For veteran teachers (especially those in the public school arena) this book will restore faith in what you know is “real teaching” over the consistent drone of data driven instruction and assessments that dominates most school led professional dialogue. It is a book for all stakeholders invested in education including parents, administration and even students. When Real Teachers landed in my hands, I felt that uncanny feeling of finally being understood. Education’s rich history is currently being condensed to a very narrow and constricted agenda. Grauer talks about how the educational system has succumbed to this rush for standardization in an effort to create equity in education, but in doing so much has been lost. I completely subscribe to his sentiment that it is time for “a slow education” movement.
Real Teachers bravely tackles the big questions, so often devoid in the public discourse. The 21st Century finds us all franticly clinging to a test driven agenda with punitive consequences. The drive for standardizations discounts all that makes us great as a nation: our local struggles and our regional diversity. Grauer shares examples of communities that are taking education back into their own hands. Both The Red Cloud Indian School of the Lakota Nation and the Nanwalek School on the Kanei Peninsula in Alaska present a model of “educational determinism”. They have found ways to integrate the eroded cultural learning back into lives of their communities. We are so much more than our math and literacy scores and yet most of the professional development at my school focuses on just this. Maybe the high drop rate in my school district is a result of how young people feel towards their institutions of learning. It is a result of their disengagement in a system that doesn’t provide any context for their learning. I would go further to say that testing focused mostly on literacy and math may lead to a future generation of unemployment. We are already seeing the rapid pace of industries being automated.
Another aspect of Grauer’s book that captivated me was how we organize as schools. The research that he provides around numbers of groupings could greatly inform school success. As a public school teacher that works with an average 35 students at a time, multiply that by the four other groups that come through my room daily and you have a recipe for impersonalization. Surely I am guilty of inducing that trance that Grauer mentions, “melting egos and needs away”. Throughout the book, Grauer emphasizes that teaching is a relationship. He coins this generation of students the “millenials” and looks at how technologically mediated their lives have become. This makes a strong case for why small class size and increased human interaction in education is essential.
Throughout the book, we experience Grauer with his students learning in different contexts as they travel to other locales, sharing experiences with students from Indian Reservations to working with communities building a house in Mexico. In his chapter, Digging a Hole, I was particularly struck by the personal inventory that students have to take stock of while on these journeys. Having certain abilities in the context of our own lives doesn’t always translate to another cultural experience. I think it is in this state of introspection and disequilibrium that students have the potential for the most growth. With a consistent lack of funding, classroom walls are closing in on students and that opportunity to learn in the field isn’t as readily available. This book would surely be a case for prioritizing experiential learning.
Not only did I lose myself in the eloquent narratives that Real Teachers provided, I felt a sense of affirmation that there is more to education than what my school and district focus on. I want to expand the dialogue with my colleagues who work tirelessly. It is time to reframe the context of our labor. I think this book is a great starting point. order now
Hitchhiking to Alaska
By Jim Burklo
Associate Dean of Religious Life, University of Southern California
Saint Johann Press, $18.95
“Jim Burklo’s HITCHHIKING TO ALASKA: The Way of Soulful Service is a must-read for those interested in exploring the intersection between service, learning and meaning-making. Through stories and thoughtful prose, Burklo offers a loving critique of our common preconceived notions about service and artfully presents a framework for engaging in ethical and meaningful action. I know of no other person who could better blend deep intellectual explorations with rich spiritual questions through such powerful story telling. Pick-up the book and begin hitchhiking to a more profound way of seeing service.” Kent Koth, Director, Center for Service and Community Engagement, Seattle University, and Director, Seattle University Youth Initiative
How can spiritual practice—whether or not it is formally religious—help me to help others better?
How can I go deeper in helping relationships? In this guide to service, Rev. Jim Burklo, associate dean of religious life at USC, incorporates stories, poetry and parables to illustrate the universal principles about the spirituality of helping relationships. Drawing from his own experience working with homeless people, leading service-learning programs for university students and pastoring churches, Burklo shatters facile assumptions about what it means to serve and strives to inspire people of all religions, or of no faith affiliation, to aim higher in their works of service.
” Written with raw heart energy fueled by years of disciplined reflection and practice. Whether you are Christian or not, read this book when you are close to burn-out and ready to quit your job in the good works department.” Dr. Ulrike Wiethaus, Professor of Religion and American Ethnic Studies, Wake Forest University
How Educators Are Cultivating Emotional, Social,
and Ecological Intelligence
by Lisa Bennett and Zenobia Barlow
Hopeful, eloquent, and bold, Ecoliterate: How Educators Are Cultivating Emotional, Social, and Ecological Intelligence offers inspiring stories, practical guidance, and an exciting new model of education that builds — in vitally important ways — on the success of social and emotional learning by addressing today’s most important ecological issues.
“If there is one book on education that needs to be read by every teacher on the planet, Ecoliterate is that book.” Laurie Lane-Zucker, cofounder and former executive director, The Orion Society,
founder and CEO of Hotfrog
This book reveals how educators can advance academic achievement; protect the natural world on which we depend; and foster strength, hope, and resiliency. Ecoliterate is the result of an innovative collaboration between Daniel Goleman—bestselling author of Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence—and Lisa Bennett and Zenobia Barlow of the Center for Ecoliteracy. It tells stories of pioneering educators, students, and community leaders engaged in issues related to food, water, oil, and coal in communities from the mountains of Appalachia to a small village in the Arctic; the deserts of New Mexico to the coast of New Orleans; and the streets of Oakland, California to the bucolic hills of Spartanburg, South Carolina. Ecoliterate also presents five core practices of emotionally and socially engaged ecoliteracy and a professional development guide. Learn More
Schools That Change Communities
A film by documentary filmaker Bob Gliner
When we think about schools, it usually evokes images of places separated from the larger community, place where students go to learn. Occasionally during the school day students venture outside classroom walls to take field trips meant to enhance the academic rigor of their classroom experience, but the classroom as the primary vehicle for educational success remains largely unchallenged despite often questionable levels of achievement. Yet, a number of public schools across the country are trying a different approach to engaging students in the learning process, using the community and neighborhoods where students live as classrooms - creating not only a different type of learning environment, but a different kind of student. Schools That Change Communities focuses on a diverse range of K-12 public schools in five states: Massachusetts; Maryland; South Dakota; Oregon; and California, that have the potential to refocus the national debate around the direction educational reform should take. more information
Through the Schoolhouse Door: Folklore, Community, Curriculum
Paddy Bowman and Lynne Hamer, editors. Utah State University Press, 2011
The creative traditions and expressive culture of students’ families, neighborhoods, towns, religious communities, and peer groups provide opportunities to extend classrooms, sustain learning beyond school buildings, and better connect students and schools with their communities. Folklorists and educators have long worked together to expand curricula through engagement with local knowledge and informal cultural arts—folk arts in education is a familiar rubric for these programs—but the unrealized potential here, for both the folklore scholar and the teacher, is large. The value that folklorists place on the local, the vernacular, and the aesthetics of daily life does not reverberate throughout public education, even though, in the words of Paddy Bowman and Lynne Hamer, “connecting young people to family and community members and helping them to develop self-identity are vital to civic well-being and to school success.”
Through the Schoolhouse Door offers a collection of experiences from exemplary school programs and the analysis of an expert group of folklorists and educators who are dedicated not only to getting students out the door and into their communities to learn about the folk culture all around them but also to honoring the culture teachers and students bring in to the classroom.
Paddy Bowman directs Local Learning: The National Network for Folk Arts in Education and Lynne Hamer is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership at the University of Toledo.
Soul of a Citizen
Paul Rogat Loeb
In April 2010, St. Martin's released Paul Rogat Loeb's wholly updated exploration of citizen involvement, Soul Of a Citizen: Living With Conviction In Challenging Times. The new edition is already in its fourth printing. With over 100,000 copies in print, Soul's original version has become a classic handbook for budding social activists, veteran organizers, and anyone who wants to make a difference—large or small. An antidote to powerlessness and despair, it has inspired thousands of citizens to make their voices heard and actions count—and then stay involved for the long haul. Soul explores what leads some people to get involved in larger community issues while others feel overwhelmed or uncertain; what it takes to maintain commitment for the long haul; and how community involvement and citizen activism can give back a sense of connection and purpose rare in purely personal life. It speaks particularly to how citizens can remain engaged despite damped hopes from the euphoria of Obama's election.
The Impossible is being used in hundreds of classrooms throughout America to help students get involved in the critical issues of our time. It's sparking powerful responses in every conceivable discipline and in all-campus adoptions, like for all first-year students. Professors say it offers a range of powerful and eloquent voices to help their students reflect on their lives and commitments. Iit seems to offer a particularly useful framework for hope in a time when many of our most idealistic and engaged students feel politically demoralized or cynical. It's also a great complement to Soul in that it offers a kaleidascope of powerful voices compared to Soul's single narrative voice. Visit Paul Loeb's website for more information.
The Impossible Will Take a Little While
Paul Rogat Loeb
Paul's previous book is The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen's Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear (Basic Books, 2004), named by The History Channel and The American Book Association as their #3 political book of 2004. A global anthology on political hope, it creates a conversation among some of the most visionary and eloquent voices of our time: Think Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou, Arundhati Roy, Tony Kushner, Václav Havel, Pablo Neruda, and Howard Zinn. Alice Walker, Jonathan Kozol, Diane Ackerman, Susan Griffin, and Marian Wright Edelman. Cornel West, Terry Tempest Williams, Jim Hightower, and Desmond Tutu. With this book Loeb explores what it's like to go up against Goliath, whether South African apartheid, the iron fist of Eastern European dictatorship, or Mississippi segregation. The stories he collects don't sugarcoat the obstacles. But they inspire hope by showing what keeps us keeping on--even when the odds seem overwhelming. They replenish the wellsprings of our commitment. The Impossible is also a BookSense bestseller with 65,000 in print and won the Nautilus Award for the best social change book.
“One of my students captured it best: 'The Impossible turns social heroes into real people.' The book's power is in letting us hear the voices of those who have struggled for change, how hard it was for them, and what kept them going. For young people working to make a difference, this kind of first-person inspiration is invaluable."
Jackie Schmidt Posner, Director of Public Service Education, Haas Center, Stanford University
"My first-year students love the readings. We've had great discussions and their written responses are powerful. They said the book challenged them from different perspectives and helped them figure out what they believe and feel most passionately about."
Joan Kopperud, Dept of English, Concordia College, Moorhead, MN
Organizing Schools for Improvement Lessons from Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR)
Researchers from the Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR) provide a detailed analysis of why students in 100 public elementary schools in Chicago were able to improve substantially in reading and math over a seven year period and students in another 100 schools were not. Using massive longitudinal evidence, the study yields a comprehensive set of school practices and school and community conditions that promote improvement, noting that the absence of these spells stagnation.
These five essential supports are: school leadership, professional capacity, parent-community ties, student-centered learning climate, and instructional guidance. In contrast to many current reform efforts that seek to spur progress through one or two of these elements, this book shows that substantial school improvement requires building the social organization within schools and orchestrating initiatives across multiple domains.
Moving beyond the schoolhouse, the authors analyze community context to discover the ways internal practices of improving schools are inexorably entwined with the social resources of local neighborhoods. They raise troublesome questions about our society’s capacity to improve schooling in its most neglected communities. For schools in these communities, the task of improvement is much more formidable than most have acknowledged to date.
These findings are particularly timely as school districts nationwide launch a new round of efforts to turn around their most troubled schools. Urban education professionals and policy makers alike will learn valuable knowledge from this pioneering undertaking in Chicago.
Professor Gail. L. Thompson, PhD, has two new books released which address effective methods for helping African American youth navigate through school and through life. In A Brighter Day: How Parents Can Help African American Youth and The Power of One: How You Can Help or Harm African American Students, Thompson offers a balanced perspective, grounded in research and personal anecdotes, that exposes the myths about educating African American youth and challenges teachers, parents, and other influential adults to incorporate successful strategies into their every day practices.
A Brighter Day includes stories, research and strategies that parents can use for raising African American youth. Geared toward mothers, the book stresses the importance of personal growth and emphasizes getting past the issues and baggage of being black in America. Two of the most powerful stories are about Thompson’s brothers, who died under tragic circumstances. Thompson explains why her life turned out so differently from theirs.
The book discusses ways to keep black youth from getting caught up in the prison pipeline, and using anecdotes and personal stories as reinforcement, talks to moms about what they can do if their kids are already caught up in the prison system. According to Thompson, there are many reasons why poor parenting decisions are made:· We may have had poor parental role models ourselves; We may have become parents when we were children and never developed good parenting skills; We may put our own needs before those of our children; We may fail to see the long-term consequences of our actions
The Power of One is a personal growth book that is designed to help teachers, school administrators, professional development providers, and teacher training faculty increase their efficacy with African American K-12 students. Each chapter contains unforgettable true stories, research, and practical exercises. It contains stories, practical advice, and research for African American parents, teachers, social workers, therapists, counselors, mentors, and anyone else who wants to help African American youth have the best life that they can have.
An in-depth study of more than 600 educators uncovered that 92% said teachers don’t know how to effectively work with black students. “Many teachers don’t do well because they don’t see a payoff,” Thompson said. “They ask, ‘Why am I knocking myself out for nothing?’ There are direct and indirect benefits to helping African American students.”
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