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Issue 17, Spring 2017
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An Edu-Nerd’s Heaven,
   Celeste Kirsh
Thou Talk’st of Nothing,
   Jen McConnel and Erin Zamborsky
What Does It Take To Teach For Deeper Learning And Equity?,
   Meg Riordan and Emily Klein
Why Dewey Needs Freire,
   Sarah Fine
Building Empathy Through Action,
   Ariana Campos
Deconstructing Myths And Clarifying Truths,
   Rachel Otty
Educational Video Games And Transdisciplinary Problem-Based Learning,
   Heather McCreery-Kellert and Sheli O. Smith


1: Call Sign: Courage
2: Destruction and Restoration: A History of Sausal Creek
3: Give Me Shelter
4: Here Now, Gone Tomorrow
5: Living North County
6: Matter That Matters
7: One Drop at a Time
8: Wise Kids Traditions
9: Plant and Insect Life Cycles
10: Design Challenge: Beekeeping in Doha, Qatar



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HTH GSE » UnBoxed » Issue 17 » Welcome

Welcome to another issue of UnBoxed! We hope you will enjoy this collection of essays, reflections and reports about passion, purpose and practice in education.

How do we create meaningful, equitable, deeper learning...for our teachers? This is the question that two of our contributors tackle. Celeste Kirsh shares how a specific approach to professional learning has supported and influenced her teaching. Meg Riordan and Emily Klein look at two schools to see how professional development strategies and mindset are transferred into the classroom, and how important it is for teachers to still be learners. As this article observes, although we all want our students to be deeply engaged, resilient, persistent and inquisitive, we sometimes forget that “teachers need help in learning how to do this as well, we forget that ‘better teaching’ is not instinctive.”

Sarah Fine challenges us to break out of our “silos”—those echo chambers that we create for ourselves which work to reinforce our existing beliefs but leave little room for other ideas. Sarah sees much in common and much to be learned between the Dewey and Friere “camps” of educational philosophy. As she says, “there are many things worth learning, and many ways to learn them.”

Three of our contributors share their experiences in the classroom. Jen McConnel and Erin Zamborsky share their Romeo and Juliet Project, which involves an updated application of the story, as well as opportunities for students to develop their causal analysis thinking skills in order to “impact students in their lives beyond the classroom.” Rachel Otty reflects on the challenge of breaking through misinformation in order to teach religious literacy. And Heather McCreery-Kellert and Sheli O. Smith offer a compelling argument for the use of video games, specifically Minecraft, to create collaborative, engaging, and challenging transdisciplinary problem-based learning experiences for students.

We often talk about student voice and its importance in creating meaningful experiences for our students, and in this issue we are thrilled to include a reflection by high school student Ariana Campos, who shares how the San Diego Sanctuary Project has impacted her and her classmates.

The UnBoxed cards in this issue offer glimpses of projects and practices that we find inspiring. These cards are freely available on our UnBoxed website in a printer-ready format. Simply print, fold, share and discuss. Each card refers the reader to a web address for further information.

We wish to thank the K-12, university and other educators who have reviewed our submissions for this issue and offered invaluable counsel. We invite all of our readers to join us in conversations about teaching, learning, design and leadership by submitting your thoughts for publication or serving as a peer reviewer. To learn more, visit

Our next submissions deadline is Monday, October 9, 2017

Read, enjoy, and participate!

—The Editors