The Floating Classroom

by Dayna McRoberts

lying_on_a_dockThe Community Sailing Center (CSC) in Burlington has developed a multi-age, year-round environmental curriculum that works in conjunction with local schools to teach the opportunistic, seasonal lessons provided by Burlington’s landscape. Floating Classrooms engages students with their environment through ecology, science, and a medium the CSC holds dear: sailing.

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Creating a self-paced Spanish class

Experiment with flexibility: tech + assessment

creating a self-paced Spanish classAt Edmunds Middle School, in Burlington Vermont, Sarah Wright is rethinking assessment to create a self-paced Spanish class. Students can re-take exams as many times as possible, and work towards proficiency as it’s defined in the real world; the ability to communicate is what defines mastery of the subject. A stellar example of experimenting with schedule/assessment/instruction changes to meet proficiencies.

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4 educators reflect on personalized learning

Setting goals for summer learning and beyond

reflections by middle school educators

Welcome, Mill River Union! We are very curious as to what you guys are up to.

It’s Day 3 of the 2015 Middle Grades Institute, a gathering of more than 200 Vermont educators all passionately invested in technology-rich, student-centered educational change. And with the Act 77 deadline requiring a Personal Learning Plan for every student in Vermont grades 7-12 coming up in November, talk around personalizing learning and capturing evidence of personalized learning are at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

Let’s hear from four schools attending MGI about their engagement with the personalized learning process, as they spend their first week of summer planning for the coming year.

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Collaborative digital tools for faculty meetings

Go beyond back-channeling and unlock creative communication

collaborative digital tools for faculty meetingsThis summer, look for ways to liven up your faculty meetings and delve a little deeper with technology. Try something new or take a new look at a tool you’re already using. Here are 3 ways of using collaborative digital tools for faculty meetings.

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How to use MoveNote for screencasting

Embed yourself in your video lesson

how to use MovenoteMoveNote lets you create screencasts where you appear alongside the material, making how to screencast a lot more dynamic for students and educators. Flipped classroom? Blended learning? Student presentations? Gallery walks? Support for students with disabilities?

Let’s look at some of the possibilities, features and how to get up and running with Movenote.

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Making a difference with watershed science data

Students partner with local scientists in collecting, analyzing & disseminating water data

interpreting watershed science dataA group of 7th and 8th grade students took a trip through the full cycle of scientific study this past year. Edmunds Middle School students partnered with the UVM Watershed Alliance to study the Lake Champlain Direct and Grand Isles Basins, very specifically, the Potash Brook that runs close by the school.

At the conclusion of the project, they presented the outcome of their studies in a variety of different ways, leveraging online tools to maximize the impact of their dissemination.

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Making even more of “Beyond Bling”

Science Saturday, with Tarrant Institute research fellow Mark OlofsonA couple of weeks ago, Lucie deLaBruere of Learning with Lucie shared a post considering how we can embrace the emerging interest in Makerspace learning to move “Beyond Bling.” This post ignited my thinking about this type of learning in a number of different ways. I thought I’d take today to explore some of those thoughts in a commentary about the ideas in the post. If you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to go back and check it out. Once you have done that, I think you might be interested in further considerations of complex problems, project-based learning, and constructionism as a learning philosophy. Continue reading

4 ways to keep social media manageable

Be strategic with your time

4 ways to keep social media manageableSocial media gives you a number of different ways to meet great innovative educators, willing to share what they’re doing in their classroom, but it can quickly eat up your valuable free time. Plus it’s just so shiny that you only ever mean to sit down and give it a quick look, then BAM! You rub your aching eyes and it’s ten o’clock on a Sunday night again.

So how do you make the most of social media for professional development without letting it eat your life? Here’s 4 ways to keep social media manageable.

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Student-made geology games

Putting a human face on science storytelling

student-made geology gamesLava flows down the halls of Main Street Middle School, in Montpelier, Vermont, and you must choose whether you’ll go with the flow or try to cool off somewhere and become an igneous rock. In another portion of the school, you’re the new kid, getting a tour from one of your peers when a volcano erupts, and you have only your geology wits (and a science teacher with fabulous hair) to save you.

These are middle schoolers building mobile, place-based games with ARIS, taking advantage of the game editor’s powerful new re-design and one science educator’s trust in letting his students demonstrate what and how they learn.

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