Student leadership and service in action
It all starts with an idea. Races Against Racism have taken place around the country, and last spring, a community member and organizer Henry Harris suggested that 15-year-old Hope Petraro organize an event in her community. He said she might be interested in having this event in Montpelier. That was just the spark she needed.
Since then, Hope, with the support of her teachers and community mentor, has created an important event to fight back against racism during a time when our country is seeing a resurgence of racial conflict.
Cornwall students think global, build local, share both
Last year the most amazing thing happened: my students at the Cornwall School designed and built a playground. They dreamed, planned, proposed, revised, fundraised — deep breath — organized, built and managed.
But then they taught themselves how to share their story: with social media, and with a whole world of educators, so that other students might have the same experience.
Goal global, act local
The United Nations has kicked off a movement for the future. They’ve identified 17 goals for sustainability world-wide, and they’ve given those goals to students around the world.
Here in Vermont, a cadre of passionate educators are scaffolding project-based learning around those goals. And #vted students are hard at work, changing the world, one community at a time.
Realizing the promise of micro-credentialing
As teachers and students grapple with how to implement proficiency-based assessment, flexible pathways and personalized learning, what can we learn from digital badge eco-systems? What’s been tried? What’s worked?
And what do we need to think about as we implement micro-credentialing to help us grapple, not just with the requirements of Vermont’s Act 77, but with this profound shift in education as we know it?
Making math real-world relevant
Would you tell the school board how to redesign your school? Students at Shelburne Community School, in Shelburne VT, did just that.
They were tasked with redesigning the school’s outdated “kiva” space. Using Google Sketch-Up, they created three different designs for renovating the space, and presented those designs to a panel of local architects, and their school board.
One way to make sure PLPs are student-driven: hand them the keys
At the end of last school year, the PLP Student Leadership Team at Crossett Brook Middle School presented to staff their recommendations for the future of PLPs at the school. And the staff unanimously supported all of the recommendations.
But it’s one thing to come up with a bunch of great ideas. It’s another thing to make sure they happen. For this group of students, follow through was not a problem. They met during the summer to keep the momentum going, convened daily during the first few weeks of school, then rolled out the new PLP process to their peers.
The virtual reality cure for wanderlust
Despite this gorgeous fall weather here in central Vermont, I’m suffering from a bad case of wanderlust. One antidote I’ve found to satisfy the daily craving to hit the high road is the 360Cities Tab Extension. Now that I’ve added it to my Chrome browser, every time I open a tab, it displays a new full screen photo of somewhere fabulous, curious, or surreal.
Another avenue for virtual adventure is to explore Google Earth, Choose Your Own Adventure-style. 6th grade students at Stowe Middle School, in Stowe VT, did just that, learning about latitude and longitude by creating their own Choose Your Own Adventure activities.
And your students can too.
What proficiency-based learning looks like
Winooski Middle and High School, in bustling Winooski, VT, has been quietly making the journey to proficiency-based learning and proficiency-based graduation requirements for the past six years.
And the resources they’ve constructed along the way — to support students, teachers and families — celebrate cultural and ethnic diversity and challenge inequity. They provide clear and solid guidelines around proficiencies.
When things get tough, the tough use tools.
Whether you’re actively trying to embed current events in your curriculum or helping your students respond to the headlines, here are five useful tools to help you wrangle news in the classroom.
Banish the stigma: you are not bad at math. Math is bad at you.
We can move math beyond worksheets and imaginary word problems. Let’s quit making math about sharing made-up apples, fishes or shoes.
Let’s tie math to the real world: real problems for students to solve, what’s going on around them, and how students learn. If you’re trying to save the world, you’re not gonna let a little math get in the way, are you?
Here’s 4 ways to make math more relevant for students and for teachers.