How Do We Know They're Getting Better? Assessment for 21st Century Minds, K-8


John Barell

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    I deeply appreciate the help of all teachers who have so generously shared their classrooms with me. Their intelligent and creative experiences demonstrate how much our students can achieve if we engage them in inquiring about meaningful problematic situations. In this day and age, with educational issues often at the forefront of our daily news, you will find it a most rewarding and enriching experience to share in some of these teachers' marvelous challenges to all their students. I am deeply indebted to all whose stories appear herein.

    I am especially thankful to those visionary leaders who have pioneered educating our students for the 21st century. Their extensive stories are told in Chapters 7 through 10:

    Kerry Faber

    Lorraine Radford

    Mary Darr

    Pat Burrows

    Everybody is indebted to you all for the passion you bring to this, the noblest profession, and for disclosing how we can observe students' growth over time.

    Thank you all very much.

    Bravo Zulu!

    About the Author

    John Barell became an explorer at age thirteen when he first read Admiral Richard E. Byrd's book Little America. From this story of intrepid adventurers camped out on the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica in 1928, Barell developed so many questions. He wrote Admiral Byrd, who not only answered with four letters but also invited him to visit at his home in Boston and urged him to explore Antarctica. Barell sailed to Antarctica on board Admiral Byrd's flagship, USS Glacier, and served as her operations officer during Operation DeepFreeze '63 and '64.

    Subsequently, Barell became an educator attempting to explore the many possibilities for educating young people in nontraditional settings in New York City and at Montclair State University (New Jersey). His published writings reflect an attempt to challenge students and their teachers to take risks by adventuring into complex problematic situations to inquire, solve problems, and think critically. Antarctica, once a dream for a young reader, has become a metaphor for all educational inquiry, adventure, and discovery.

    Now professor emeritus at Montclair State University, Barell worked from 2000 to 2007 as a consultant to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, helping teachers and students become inquisitive about the wonders of earth and space.

    As a national consultant, Barell works with schools in the United States and Canada to foster and assess those 21st century capacities needed for success and well-being in this new century.

    John Barell's recent publications include Why Are School Buses Always Yellow? Teaching Inquiry, PreK–5 (2007), Problem-Based Learning: An Inquiry Approach (2007), Developing More Curious Minds (2003), Quest for Antarctica: A Journey of Wonder and Discovery (2011, a memoir), and Surviving Erebus: An Antarctic Adventure (2008, a novel).

    He lives in New York City with his wife Nancy.

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