Danny Glover on Leadership and Math


Danny Glover on Leadership and Math

TAF Academy students and staff got the opportunity to spend time with one of America’s leading actors, and as it turns out, education advocates–Danny Glover. Danny was here to promote education and leadership among students and also to prepare himself for a new role as a professor working with gifted students in the FOX TV drama series “Touch,” which will begin production in the fall. Ruby Love from Washington STEM arranged the visit.

For nearly two hours, there was a great exchange of knowledge. Students taught Danny about the many ways they use technology, what they are learning and how they feel about attending a school like TAF Academy. Danny imparted wisdom about leadership and citizenship.

The visit started in the high school math classroom where students were broken out into different stations to solve problems in groups.  Danny took his turn at using the smartboard in a team math problem solving exercise.  He took time to understand how working in small groups and discussing math problems really benefited English language learners.  He spent a fair amount of time discussing how math and reading are tied to citizenship–very fascinating conversation that I wish could have gone on a bit longer.

Next he spent about 20 minutes talking to our TAF Academy Ambassadors about leadership, citizenship and the importance of education.  It was a very organic and authentic dialog that we hope to share via video sometime soon.

Next he visited the 6th grade Humanities classroom.  One of the most fun moments for me was watching him work with the 6th graders on a “trust” exercise he used to do in his early days training as an actor. He lead a student (whose eyes were closed) around the classroom, then she did the same to him. He really drove home what he learned from the student ambassadors earlier in the day–TAF Academy is a safe place where students support each other.

I personally found him engaging and totally focused on hearing from the students. Of course he was polite to the adults, but it was really clear that the students really held his attention.  In fact, right about when it was time to leave it was evident that the word had spread that  Danny Glover was on campus and the kids couldn’t contain themselves any longer–they surround him like he was one of those current day music stars.

The biggest and most important message Danny left with the students: “the better learning you have the better citizen in a democracy you are.” He really put an emphasis on math education because that was his specialty as a student. He had challenges reading, but through his gift in understanding math, he was able to tackle reading using more of a problem solving approach. He believes in Bob Moses’ (The Algebra Project) approach to math–it’s part of what we do and who we are and it’s not something we can escape, so we can and should master it.

The most exciting thing about his visit from my viewpoint: He thought all the kids were part of a gifted program. He was very impressed when he found out TAF Academy is a neighborhood school with all kinds of kids throughout the learning spectrum doing work that pushes them to levels they never thought they could reach.

Take a look at the photo gallery.  Listen to the coverage on KPLU

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