Dynamic Landscapes 2017: the power of authentic #vted student voice

Student keynotes, presentations, panels & partners

All with a side order of tech.

Dynamic Landscapes 2017Dynamic Landscapes 2017 is in the bag, and it was easily the best one yet.

Why? Because not only were there a ton of great tech-rich, innovative sessions for attendees to choose from, this year also featured authentic student voice.

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What we can learn from brand new educators

What advice would your 7th grade self give you about teaching?

what we can learn from brand new educatorsRemember when you were first starting out as an educator? The ink on your certification barely dried, and there you were, standing in front of your first class, 30-some pairs of eyeballs staring back at you, waiting for you to lead.

We hear from six amazing middle level educators graduating this spring from the University of Vermont. We ask them about their hopes, their fears, and… what their middle school selves would come back to tell them.

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8 year-end reflection tools and activities

Reflect, celebrate and plan

year-end reflection tools and activitiesOh, the spring. Such a busy time for teachers.

There are all those transition meetings, already getting ready for the next year. Then there are placement meetings, figuring out who will be in what class, core or group. And of course, all those ceremonies, exhibitions, and spring events.

It’s easy to forget all of the progress you have made with your students and as a school during these times. And it’s easy to get frustrated and to focus only on what you have to do next.

Your class, your community and the progress your school has made matters. And they should be celebrated.

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What are the benefits of taking Genius Hour school-wide?

It’s a movement, not a moment

taking Genius Hour school-wideEvery teacher should consider making time for Genius Hour (sometimes called 20% time or Passion Projects). We know that when students are given the opportunity to explore their own topics, they gain skills in self-direction.

But I’ve come to believe that the ideal Genius Hour involves as much of the school as possible. Here’s what it could look like.

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The student-centered art classroom

Structures to support student artists

student-directed learning at The Dorset SchoolArt is “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination”. To teach children that expression or application sounds like a lofty endeavor. But that is exactly what art teachers do in our schools every day.

If art is the expression of creativity and imagination, then we need new models. Because art is about voice and originality. There is no right and wrong way to express your vision and creation.

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8 ideas for outdoor learning

Expand your classroom and keep kids engaged

flexible classroomsThe weather is getting nicer. The sun is finally out. And you are in charge of keeping your class engaged, focused and ...inside? Ha!

Any teacher who has experienced spring in Vermont knows that students get a little wiggly this time of year. What’s a great way to harness that energy and keep students engaged with school to the very end of the year?

Get. OUT.

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Scheduling and student choice

Meet “iLearn”

an action research module examining scheduling and student choiceThe middle school team at Rutland Town School in Rutland, VT have been working on a more fully integrated implementation of personal learning plans (PLPs) at their school.

They’re also passionate believers in student choice and learner-centered classrooms. Given some flexibility to change the school schedule, they came up with iLearn, a model of student self-direction and choice in tackling PLPs.

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4 ideas for using a makerspace to support PBL

How do project-based learning and makerspaces fit together?

makerspaces and project-based learningMaking and PBL may look like two completely different educational movements, but in reality they work well together and each strengthens the other.

That’s because they share a common fundamental underpinning: they honor students’ innate curiosity about the world.

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4 Project-Based Learning resources for parents

How do you explain PBL to families?

project-based learning resources for parentsThe popularity of Project-Based Learning (PBL) has grown significantly with teachers and students, but what about parents? When students walk out of school, do they communicate their excitement about PBL to their families?

Let’s look at some resources for helping parents understand why PBL is so engaging for students.

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Restorative Justice at Randolph Union

A student-centered approach to school discipline

Real World PBLEditor’s note: The students in Randolph Union’s PBL class have created a restorative justice system for their school. The students wrote this post as a way to share their story and encourage other schools to give restorative justice a try.

A lot of people are afraid to start implementing restorative justice in schools because of how intensive the work is. Although it certainly has been difficult to do it at Randolph Union High School (RUHS), we have found that it is well worth our efforts. Students have found that the working in setting up and running Restorative Justice has made subtle but important changes in their learning.
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