Black Friday Sale Starts Thursday

 MA Rejects Common Core
Sugata Mitra, Keynote Speaker from the 2015 AERO Conference
Conference info here. 
Click for Portland AERO 2016 Super Early Bird
Ends Nov. 27
Contact AERO

Phone: (516) 621-2195

417 Roslyn Road, Roslyn Heights, NY 11577

First AEROx a Big Success!

From November 20-22 we had the first AEROx regional conference in Petersham, Massachusetts, at Earthlands Retreat. It far exceeded our expectations and was a wonderful experience! We were worried about the lateness in the year and potential weather problems, the closeness to the Thanksgiving holiday, and the remoteness of the rural, off-grid site. We needn't have worried! We had over 30 participants from  Maine to southern New York State.
Some of the activities included a keynote by Chris Mercogliano, the showing of the documentary Class Dismissed, ten very interesting workshops, a bonfire, wonderful vegetarian and vegan meals, a school starters workshop, and lots of networking.
We had a good discussion about the criteria for others to do AEROx events in their communities and came up with some great ideas. Peter Berg, who was the prime organizer of this event, led the discussion. Sidney Morris started a  database of area participants and resources. Mark Jacobs brought 8 students and teachers from Longview School.  Already we have had over a half-dozen inquiries from a variety of locations to do an AEROx. 

Here is some early feedback from participants:

"This was an amazing event. The quality of the discussions and workshops far exceeded my expectations" .

"Not much I would change.  It was fabulous! " 

"I made so many amazing connections that I will definitely stay in touch with, and would love to work with" 

With the feedback from this event it is clear that a series of AERO regional events will compliment the national AERO conference and get more people involved with the AERO network. Also it will greatly help the development and awareness of local educational alternatives.

To see more pictures of the conference click here.

AERO staff members get together at AEROx
Play! by Stuart Grauer
Children and adults alike use play to make sense of the world. Here are some things we develop through play: creativity, imagination, problem solving, resiliency and the ability to handle the unexpected.

Back in 1999, after eight years of operating out of a shop front (and eventually several shop fronts), we moved The Grauer School onto our dream site: five, green, coastal acres in Encinitas, Calif. We could have a real playtime at last - a green recess. Running, chasing, throwing, falling. It was then that we made an unexpected finding about the typical California suburban kid: many did not know how to recreate or use unstructured time. They stood around, looked into their computer screens, hung out in corners of the field and slouched on couches in the lobby.

Since I grew up running pretty much all day long, and since my parents' primary form of discipline consisted of the demand, "Get outside!" this problem had never occurred to me. I assumed that there was something instinctual about play and that, if you let kids alone, they would just do it. However, in the case of many kids, play sometimes is drummed out of them through tightly-managed schedules, too much homework, too many digital devices, too little time in nature, too little sleep, and too much parenting and schooling. Eventually, we stationed teachers outside not so much as to supervise as to nudge the kids into games that they could learn to play together again. We even made a policy that middle schoolers were required to be outdoors during lunch and breaks. It took a couple of years before we finally felt we had established a culture of open space and free play in the out of doors. We still have to work at this regularly, which we do primarily through nudging, encouraging and telling kids: "Get outside!"

Read the rest here.
See below for more about Stuart Grauer's new book. 
Black Friday and Fearless Teaching
A special sale price for Fearless Teaching will be one of the features of AERO's Black Friday Sale which will actually start on Thursday. For this year's sale you will see many things you'll only see in this sale, including special deals for School Starting, Homeschooling and Learner-Centered Education kits. We'll have a half price sale for AERO membership and the Super Early Bird Rate for the Portland AERO next August ends on November 27th. All books will 25% off!

You can already get Fearless Teaching at the 40% off Black Friday price. We've already sold out of all of our copies but will be receiving more boxes tomorrow. 

AERO new book release, Stuart Grauer's glowingly reviewed Fearless Teaching, has quickly become one of our best selling books of all time-and it is still in pre-release!

You can read the original release by clicking on the book title above. 

Here is a short video by Grauer about the book. 

See Grauer's article about Play above. 

Buy the book here.

Massachusetts's Rejection of Common Core Test Signals Shift in U.S.

BOSTON - It has been one of the most stubborn problems in education: With 50 states, 50 standards and 50 tests, how could anyone really know what American students were learning, or how well?

At a dinner with colleagues in 2009, Mitchell Chester, Massachusetts's commissioner of education, hatched what seemed like an obvious answer - a national test based on the Common Core standards that almost every state had recently adopted.

Now Dr. Chester finds himself in the awkward position of walking away from the very test he helped create.

Read the rest here.
Links and Calendar
Thank you for your ongoing support. With  your help, we will make learner-centered alternatives available to everyone!


Jerry Mintz
Executive Director
Alternative Education Resource Organization