Answer Garden, Flipgrid and Adobe Spark
“What are you grateful for?” We posed this question to 7th grade Stowe Middle School students, the Monday before the holiday break.
The activity may seem simple, but it allowed us to introduce the students to three easy tech tools: Answer Garden, Flipgrid and Adobe Spark. Stowe students will use these tools to reflect and to collect evidence for their PLPs.
Tech tools, tips & inspiration
The world is BIG. And overwhelming at times. Especially for our students, who hear bits and pieces of what is happening across the globe, and have questions, worries, and thoughts.
It makes sense that we move students beyond their geography, perspectives, and comfort zones. That way we can expand their world, and grow empathy, compassion, knowledge, and perspective.
But… how exactly do we do that?
We’re #vtgrateful for you
This Thanksgiving, we’re grateful for the entire community. For everyone working hard in supporting innovative school change in Vermont.
What are you #vtgrateful for?
How did an 8th grader turn his passion project into a summer job?
I found Connor in the tech ed room during the first session of Brainado, a school-wide Genius Hour at Crossett Brook Middle School in Duxbury, Vermont.
He was taking apart a lawn mower. When asked why, he shrugged and mumbled something about how another student might need an engine part for their project. His Brainado project was undefined. He didn’t seem to have much of a plan other than tinkering.
Fast-forward four months and Connor is getting paid to work part-time at the Waterbury Service Center garage. He knows his way around the shop, has learned about persistence and problem-solving, and gleaned plenty of life lessons from Albert Caron, the owner and lead mechanic. But how did Connor get from Point A to Point B?
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.