Chapter 7 of "Classroom Confidential" focuses on getting out of the classroom and into the community. What we have discovered about community-based learning is that it is a highly effective strategy for engaging ALL students. It put's students in charge, they're academically and socially rigorous, it requires students to access and develop wide ways of knowing, it's active, it had meaning in the real world.
After reading this chapter, I am posed with the question "How will you use the community in your own classroom?" I find this hard to answer because it is so dependent on the classroom and community in which I will teach. That is why I found the section on "Tips for Exploring Your Community" on pages 144-146. I plan to take a field trip after the first month or so of school, having students make maps, scavenger hunt and journal about what they observe.
It is also terribly important to document epiphanies. I want my classroom to be a safe space for all questions and concerns. I love the idea of using photography, giving me insight into the things students are drawn to and observe. Schmidt says "Photos make great conversation starters or visuals for presentations. They can also be used as a starting point for drawings and murals (page 147)."
I want to try every single one of the ideas on pages 159-161. I think it is so important to let students share the information that they work so hard to learn. Schools are a part of the community and I think it is important for that to be made aware of by all. It makes are students lifelong learners, engaged in their community, and challenged in their learning. Community-based learning is one of the greatest tools of educators today and will be a vital agent in my future instruction.