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I'm building a grades 4-12 curriculum series (for public & home school) - SUBMIT REQUESTS

 
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I'm cruising through writing the middle school adaptation of Bill Mollison's, and it occurred to me that your feedback would make it better. I have pieces of the high school already fleshed out (the workbook), but the middle school textbook is flowing really well and the format is really clear. I just want to have more ideas, perspectives & needs than my own bouncing around in there. Please write what you want in an elementary, middle or high school textbook & workbook series.

My current focuses:

Glossary of Terms - Clear & Simple Definitions with Pictures
Workbook teaches design step by step with students using their own sites
Textbook and workbook align perfectly, providing explanation & context
Textbook has How To for things like: Compost Tea Brewer, BioFertilizer, Worm Juice Compost, Sheet Mulching, 18 Day Berkley Compost, etc.
Middle School focus is more on learning while doing: activity-based, hands-on
High school will have a larger textbook, more in-depth natural science, with a focus on microscopy, BRIX testing, professional design drafting & hands-on science application

What would you like to see?

Thanks!

MP
twitter.com/permaculture123
facebook.com/permaculture123
 
Matt Powers
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Oh, & my credentials:

Homeschool Parent/Teacher/Administrator

Public School Teacher that doesn't assign homework or teach to the test yet standardized scores of my students keeps going higher each year. I serve a menu of options 80% of the time.

I've also been a student in nearly every context: public, private, 1 on 1, small classroom, large classroom, lecture halls with hundreds of peers, urban, suburban & rural.

BA in British & American Literature, NYU.

Single Subject Teaching Credential & Masters in Best Practices (the psychology and research behind how people learn), NU.

Regular Speaker for CVCUE and other conferences, teaching teachers

Author of The Matt Powers Guitar Method, a visual music theory method for guitar

In addition, I have a burning passion for permaculture & effective education. It's a shame that our students are not excited by science. We need to fix that. Permaculture is that fix. It will liberate teachers & students simultaneously.

 
Matt Powers
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Oh & my Permaculture Credentials:

I'm 99.9% complete with my Geoff Lawton OPDC certification with every intent of applying for my diploma in 2 years from them.

I've taken Elaine Ingham's free soil course with hopes of taking the full course and getting certified as a soil food web expert in the near future.

I've read Mollison's Permaculture: a Designer's Manual, Sepp Holzer's Permaculture, Carol Deppe's Resilient Gardener & Breeding Your Own Vegetables, & Fukuoka's One Straw Revolution. I've avidly watched all Paul's videos, listened to nearly all Paul's podcasts & read miles of Permies forums. I'm also finding I'm delving into much more depth as I'm writing the book and creating formatting design that will create more clarity.

Needless to say I'm having fun
 
Matt Powers
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All my current progress on my own property can be seen here (but I'm currently redoing a lot after Lawton's OPDC and I'll be doing a farm tour video asap):

http://www.facebook.com/PowersPermakultur
http://www.twitter.com/Permaculture123

Thanks again!

Educating our kids with Permaculture is the best way to protect our future.
 
Matt Powers
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Here's an excerpt from the middle school textbook:



 
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I would love to see more science showing the link between the rocks, soil and vegetation (native or productive farm/gardens).

I have some of the basic information building in my blog on Rocks and Soils (http://www.almostafarmer.com/rocks-make-soils-primer-geology-affects-farm/) ...but this could be added to with soil testing, rock ID etc

Gaz
www.almostafarmer.com
 
Matt Powers
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Thank you! I'll check out the link and go over the soil testing section.
 
Matt Powers
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I keep changing it, but here's a snippet of the opener:


What is Permaculture?


Permaculture began simply as permanent agriculture, an ethical, sustainable food system, but it has expanded to be an ethical design science. It focuses on using energy in the ways that nature already does but by design to capture & utilize all potential energy. Permaculture works with, benefits and extends the patterns of nature.
 
pollinator
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And where are the fungi?

No discussion of the cycling of nutrients and energy through the biome is complete without noting that which breaks everything down, the Kingdom of Fungi. This would be yet another opportunity for me to link to the Stamets video "6 ways mushrooms can save the world", maybe it belongs in your curriculum as well.
 
Matt Powers
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There's a section for fungi! I'll add mushroom pegging, etc. to the activity sections Thank you for the reminder!!
 
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Hey Matt,

Great stuff!

I'm in the process of writing an MSc dissertation on using Permaculture principles as the framework for a Project Based Learning (PBL) approach in High Schools (Focusing on 9-12 in Israel). So I recommend for space in your curriculum to allow students to choose and develop their own projects, with Permaculture principles as the framework.

By the way, if you have experience with project+permaculture based programs in High schools, I'd love to speak to you about it.

I also think you should include for High schools and/or Middle schools the topics of passive design and Carbon Footprint (the students could do a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) - Check out Daniel Golman's book 'Ecological Intelligence')

If you want some presentations or papers about PBL, Passive Design or LCA, let me know.

Ilan Yahav
MSc in Theory and Practice of Sustainable Design
Welsh School of Architecture
ilanyahav@yahoo.com

 
Matt Powers
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I teach at a PBL high school!! It's SO GREAT to hear from a similar educator!! I wrote about the conditions of success for 1-1 laptop immersion educational environment. In my classroom I focus on heuristic learning Paths that use collaboration, research & public presentation. Check out my teacher twitter for samples of that: Teacher Powers on Twitter

To address your concerns: YES, I have included choice, PBL frameworks, & a workbook that is completely choice-based. I'm so glad that there are people out there looking for that!! SO COOL!!

Thank you!!

MP
 
Matt Powers
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Just had a meeting with the main artist & I'm really excited!! She works with children the exact ranges I'm focusing on to start with 6-8th grade. I'm her introduction to permaculture, so she will be learning & critiquing my work as we go. Today she pointed out a few things that really helped (Embedded Glossary - NO BACK OF THE BOOK GLOSSARY!), and we decided upon a style which I think is going to be superb.

Can't wait to show off some samples!!

P.S. I'm exploring working with a close friend who has been featured in the Museum of Modern Art for the cover! He makes art with what he finds on the shore of the San Francisco Bay (sometimes ranging up towards Pt Reyes). Check him out here: Brenton Bostwick's Art Website

Here's an example:


For the cover we're thinking of a representation of the Web of Life which is a great representation for what Permaculture is patterned after. It will be vibrant, very colorful, to show the synergy of the relationships.

Here's hoping that it works out!!

MP
 
Matt Powers
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THANK YOU PAUL FOR MENTIONING THIS THREAD!!

I created a site for all our permaculture educational publications on facebook:

Permaculture123 on Facebook

Thank you for checking us out! Feel free to suggest anything
 
Matt Powers
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Here's more of the rough draft I'm writing and rewriting currently. I have all the "parts"; I just have to flesh them out and finish organizing and labeling sections in the Nature part of the book. I'm planning on finishing my part and sending it on to the artists by the end of this next week. That might be a bit ambitious but I think it can be done!

 
Matt Powers
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I'm always rewriting, so don't be surprised if it gets better
 
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I would include something with a bit of a carrot at the end of the tunnel. Maybe a business analysis, at a fairly high level of course. That would allow a more in-depth look at a system, ways to improve it and a demonstration of the potential income as a motivator.
 
Matt Powers
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That's great! I think bringing in local Mentorships from permies in each area is also great. They can put realistic figures and a face to that and maybe even ASSESS THEIR DESIGNS!!

I work with a few farms currently in the area. The central valley's organic farmers are very generous. They donate food to my classes and activities all the time.

JOSH: I think a Self-Assessment might be a great way to capture your idea at the end of the Workbook (which is basically done already just not designed to look nice yet); it would include a business assessment of some sort. I think an Energy Accounting would include all that, or no? Can you post some suggestions as to what you mean by business analysis? It could easily be overwhelming for a 11th-12th grade context unless you use exactly the right thing which I'm sure you have a picture for in your head that I lack. Send me anything you can! THANKS!!
 
Matt Powers
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BTW what do you all think of the title The Permaculture Student?
 
pollinator
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Hi Matt. This all and looks like a fabulous project. I just noticed a typo on your sample page...last line above the colored box. I presume you mean 'locally and globally'. All the best with the project.
 
Matt Powers
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OH & THE PLAN IS FOR THE WORKBOOK TO BE FOR ANYONE TO USE!!! That way the Kickstarter will be appealing to more than just homeschooling parents. Anyone starting out planning their own design for their homestead or just to prepare or assess while looking for land will appreciate the workbook. I'll have all the equations & info on how to find all the information for each section in each section and not spread out or just in the textbook. It will be similar to the design requirements for Geoff Lawton's Online Permaculture Design Course but with a How-To included with each step that is simple enough for a middle school child to follow.

Can't wait!!
 
Matt Powers
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Sue Rine wrote: I presume you mean 'locally and globally'.



Thanks!
 
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I'm not sure if you're including it or not Matt but please don't forget Urban applications and social permaculture. I live and work in an urban area and have taught public school there for 7 years. I love the idea of a workbook which facilitates choice and context specific learning. There are some great exercises like mapping your purchases and transportation which would be especially relevant. And remember that if you expect the kids to understand something and you guide them there everyone is amazed to see what they can grasp. Also, I think you might get better recption in the mainstream if you consciously plan for tie-ins to more traditional curriculum and skills. Especially reading, writing and math skills as those seem to be most lacking in relevancy to real life, at least in the inner city. And that means a lack of motivation for students. I can see a workbook like this being used in schools to create cross curricular units.
 
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I am glad you are working on a curriculum. I understand that there are some (many?) from the PC community who will not want/need such a curriculum for their kids, but I think there will be a large enough market (particularly of those new to permaculture, of which there are more every year) who will.

My own two kids are in an alternative public-school program, where they are homeschooled 3-4 days a week and go to classes run by the school district 1-2 days a week. Since I have been part of this program for 5 years, I also volunteer as an advisor to parents new to schooling their children at home. For most of them, if a subject is not in a curriculum, the parents are not interested. They are too overwhelmed and too busy to grasp pulling something together on their own. I have also attended several at-PC-conference-roundtables about PC/education/children. The thing that has struck me over and over again is that no one really knows how to teach PC to kids in an ordered/understandable way that also engages the kids. I think there will always be those people who need an open-and-go book to guide their attempts. So I definitely think there is room for both the curriculum approach as well as the more organic/create-your-own approach.

My main question/concern about a curriculum is how one makes it engaging and meaningful to kids, versus just more words on a page that they don't really grasp and don't really have meaning for them (like too many textbooks that exist already). I think that will be the key to either success or failure in a curriculum. You may want to take a look at Tom Elpel's book Shanleya's Quest, as well as the SQ cards & games. I think he did a fabulous job of teaching kids about 8 common plant families with those materials, in a way that is creative & "in-a-book-but-not-textbooky".

I have some other thoughts but am out of time right now. Will post more later.

You


 
pollinator
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As I said in the other thread about children's permaculture education I am not really interested in a curriculum.

But we are planning on doing family friendly PDC - where kids go off with volunteers and do permaculture stuff (all voluntary participation) - and in those cases cool books to leave out in the playroom etc.

I would love to see some hard core science in there - some cloud formation explanation, mycelium, composting etc. I know my son would love that. Really good pictures for the visually minded and ideas for practical exercises that can be carried out in groups or alone. Animal husbandry - I'm thinking about the picture og the chicken and her needs and her outputs - stuff like that. Water harvesting - excercises in making swales (my kids love that).

To me hands on is definately the way to ho with kids - especially since it become intuitive if you observe nature. So a book/curriculum would be a support for the hands on experience - not the other way around. So really the best curricum you could do IMO would be a school garden (and kitchen).
 
Matt Powers
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A curriculum by definition is a body of information designed for transmission. If adults need a textbook, it's reasonable that a child would too.

I think you are right on most of the points you bring up: curriculum should be at times open ended, high level, visual, well-organized, engaging, relevant & clear. I think I have the organization down. That was the most difficult part, but I'm a teacher that teaches teachers about how systems work especially with groups of children.

Geoff Lawton has agreed to look it over for me for approval once I'm ready. I'm superbly honored that he agreed to do so. I expect to have it written completely by the end of the week. I'll send it on to the illustrator at that point. Working day & night this week between teaching a Permaculture class to 40 4th-8th graders and parents. Should be loads of fun!!

I think if we'd like Permaculture to be effective and even just recognized in our society, we need it taught in our schools. Parents are working, don't have time or $ for a PDC & know they want this information taught by a qualified individual, but most schools don't have that: that's why we need a curriculum that any adult can teach, that is clear & engaging.

I think the Permaculture Ethics are going to be absorbed into the way we teach in schools. I don't think Permaculture is just for homeschooling because many families have one working parent or both parents working. If an entire generation is educated in Permaculture, they will not demand change but transition smoothly from their childhood homes into a new sustainable ones by simply taking action, making ethical choices & working together.
 
Janet Dowell
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It would be wonderful for permaculture to be taught in schools, as it is in Australia (have you seen any of their materials?). However, as a former public school teacher myself, I have to say that you have to show how it meets "the standards" and will improve "testing outcomes" in order for just about any public school district to use it. And, even today, nearly 90% of all school-age children attend a public school, so having something a public school could use would be fantastic. Best of luck with that (sincerely).

Done by the end of the week? That's a very aggressive timeline.

How exciting that Geoff has agreed to look at it. I'll look forward to seeing samples (hopefully) of the end result.

 
Matt Powers
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My wife and boys are at my grandmother's house swimming for a week while I work round the clock.

My point of view: if it wasn't easy for me, then I shouldn't be the one writing it.

Luckily, I'm having a blast writing it. I take breaks and walk around the emerging food forests, soak it in, watch a bit of Geoff's new Reading the Landscape course and dive back in.

If there's one thing I am, it's voluble. The challenge of this project is condensing and communicating complex ideas and organizing it in a way that is memorable and usable (both in the sense that they can move on towards Mollison's manual eventually and be aligned with that & be able to put Permaculture into Action right now).

Thank you for your support! I think there's a huge desire for Permaculture in schools and for the Design Ethics to be absorbed by mainstream courses (Ethical English? History through an ethical lens, the student's perspective as to what that is? Ethical Science? Ethical Rapid Prototyping & 3D printing, etc.)

 
Matt Powers
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68 pages in, so I'm on track to be done within that. I think with pictures it'll be 150-200 pages long. I'll keep you posted!!
 
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I just wanted to cheer you on. I think what you are doing is great.
 
Matt Powers
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As I'm fleshing out the subsections their groupings are revealing themselves. I'm on page 70 (had to do the animals, plants & eating routine, so I'm back on it).

I just had the Action section of the Permaculture Design section fall into place: Soil, Plants, Animals, Aquaculture, Earthworks.

As always everything is subject to change, but as with good design, things reveal themselves naturally.
 
Matt Powers
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This is the final section of the textbook. The next part I have to do is the workbook to accompany it. That has to be full range, so it is useful to anyone, easy to use & clear. I want it to be a designer's "check-list" workbook where you can fill out all your local information and analyze your site easily in an organized fashion. It will be a great way to quickly analyze a site, assist in a first time design or a complex design, or introduce anyone to how the design process works. The plan is to have it be useful to everyone, so people not interested in buying this level curriculum can still show their support.

Thank you everyone for submitting thoughts & suggestions!!
 
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How are you planning to sell/publish this? Can't wait to get one. I've got a 11 and 8 year old homeshoolers that love helping in our gardens
 
Matt Powers
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Thank you for asking!

I'm thinking Sept 15th is the due date.

We are selling it initially through Kickstarter: physical and digital version, textbook/workbook sets, individual books, & maybe more stuff that I haven't planned yet. I'm just focusing on writing it right now. I'll get my marketing hat on after I'm through writing and rewriting and send things on to the illustrators.

I want it to all be available for this fall.

MP
 
Matt Powers
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OK HELP ME NOW!!

METRIC ONLY?

IMPERIAL ONLY?

BOTH?

What do you want? I'm doing conversions and wondering if I have to continue.


Up to page 81 as of now... (planted 250 sq ft of polyculture this morning after adding 2 piles of 18 day berkley compost to the area and went to church). I'll catch up here in a minute ;^)
 
Meryt Helmer
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both would work for the most people, if not both then have instructions for how to convert one to the other?
 
Matt Powers
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At 89 pages... feeling like I've been on a plane for days. It actually reminds of writing my first books at NYU, sitting for weeks!! That's the real indicator of a writer, their ability to sit and sustain.

I'm very close to the end now, just 4 subsections left: Animals, Earthworks, Aquaculture & The Home.

 
Matt Powers
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Some proof that I'm making real progress. You can see how close I am to the end, how long it is. The rest is all setup, just needs to be fleshed out. Just Earthworks & The Home subsections. It's likely 20 pages once fleshed out though A day or two more.

I'm now going to get some rest and eat. I'm teaching a 4th-8th grade Permaculture class 8-1 as part of a free local summer camp at the high school I teach at. 40 kids + some parents.

Should be an amazing time! We're doing a sheet mulching vs bare soil experiment, watching some Geoff Lawton video excerpts, cooking organic food, designing our dream gardens, talking about our favorite foods and things to grow, and I'm going to introduce the ways of thinking that underpin Permaculture. Day 1!

Good Night & Thank You For Your Interactions!!
 
Dawn Hoff
pollinator
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Matt - I disagree in almost everything you said, but I will not discuss it here, because I think it is very political and I'll respect Paul's whish about not discussing politics outside the Cider Press. Also I think it would seriously derail your thread. My stance on curriculum you can read in the other thread.

Best of luck with your book - I hope it will be great
 
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On your bit about Energy, water isn't really a source of energy, flowing water is.

I would do everything in Metric, with a very occasional reference to imperial to give it connection with things kids already know (just as you would with non unit references).

Thank You Kindly,

Topher
 
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