Tell Me Something Good

Martha McCormickArt for Life1 Comment

I’ve worked with Des Moines kids since 1980. Sometimes it’s hard to be optimistic when the challenges seem to multiply each year. But this article and the statistics it uses to illustrate its points provides some tangible examples of progress. This morning I taught art to half a dozen boys who attend a group home for various problems they’ve had … Read

Remember Evelyn Davis?

Martha McCormickSocial JusticeLeave a Comment

I started working in Des Moines in 1980 when I was fresh out of graduate school. Iowa State University Extension hired two urban 4-H professionals to fill one position. The Polk County Extension Director’s reaction was not warm. “There’s no such thing as a free puppy” was his frequent response to our requests. Extension negotiated with Evelyn Davis for free … Read

Clean and Green Your Second Grade Class

Martha McCormickOutdoors1 Comment

With this Clean and Green Second Grade Program Guide, the first phase of the Keep Iowa Beautiful service learning, litter-free schools, environmental education, character building program is officially ready for piloting! With help from the Waste Commission of Scott County, Character Counts! in Iowa, Davenport Public Schools, we are ready to send teachers and kids out to the playground and community to find ways … Read

Clean and Green Your Kindergarten Class

Martha McCormickOutdoors1 Comment

I am excited to present the Clean and Green Kindergarten Program Guide. Thanks to Keep Iowa Beautiful, the Waste Commission of Scott County and Character Counts! in Iowa, we are ready to pilot it in Davenport Public Schools. The guide is flexible; it has engaging activities for the classroom, afterschool and summer programs. Each of the activities can stand on its … Read

Keep Iowa Beautiful

Martha McCormickOutdoorsLeave a Comment

Kids at Krakow Castle

I’m working with Keep Iowa Beautiful and the Waste Commission of Scott County to provide educators with a program guide and resources for teaching… Service learning Litter free schools Character Environmental education …all organized around the Iowa Core and Common Core Standards. I’m using this post to run things by the Steering Committee, get reactions and involve them in pulling … Read

Learn through Service

Martha McCormickSocial Justice1 Comment

Iowa Outdoor Summit

Service learning is more than picking up litter and cutting down trees. Kids and adults can have fun and learn a lot from doing such activities together. But to have a bigger impact, service learning must be well planned and provide opportunities for reflection and feedback. Experiences with the best outcomes include youth voice and choice, varied processing opportunities and reflection that … Read

See the iJAG Survey

Martha McCormickSocial Justice1 Comment


I am working with iJAG (Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates) to assess longterm outcomes for graduates of the program. iJAG is working hard to increase the high school graduation rate in Iowa and have staff and programs in high schools from Sioux City to Keokuk and Dubuque to Council Bluffs. This survey is designed to get an idea of how … Read

Engineer Your World

Martha McCormickCoaching for Growth2 Comments

When I was growing up and even until I went on college visits with my nephew Wil, I had no idea how much engineering is a part of all aspects of life–travel, energy, safe water, medicine, almost everything. Wil is a junior now at ISU’s College of Engineering. He’s having a great time (maybe a greater time than his parents … Read

Web the Group’s Words

Martha McCormickTeam BuildingLeave a Comment

This planning technique is a group version of mind mapping; I use this system of visual note taking all the time to capture memories and ideas. Tony Buzan developed mind mapping in Britain a number of years ago; it’s used a lot more in Europe, but a good friend of mine used it in graduate school for everything from  notetaking … Read