Why and how to teach education for sustainability

Teaching to heal the world

place-based learning“How can we improve the systems we’re a part of?”

That’s the question my team posed to our 4th- through 6th-grade students last spring at The Cornwall School, in Cornwall VT. It was the start of a deep dive into education for sustainability.

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Evolving student roles in a big (BIG) PBL project

As Dorset’s coop dreams became a reality, students gathered new skills

real world project-based learningWhat does it look like to break one enormous project into several project-based learning units?

For Dorset students to go from dreaming about fresh eggs to actually building a chicken coop required two strategies: breaking the PBL into phases, and asking students to assume different roles along the way.

Let’s break down just how Dorset’s chicken coop project stayed true to its PBL roots and manageable for students and educators.

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How to create empathy with your community

Meet the Compassionate Faces of the Shires

community-based learning the humans of burkeHow do your students recognize compassion? Do they recognize it in the faces of your community?

In Manchester VT, one educator set about teaching her students to recognize and honor compassion in community members.
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The power of documentation in meaningful learning

Exercises for an LMS

year-end reflection tools and activitiesThis past spring, a small group of Stowe Middle School students gathered to help their teachers and peers solve a problem. As students worked on independent interest projects, they periodically reflected on their learning. All were interested in finding ways to make this reflection meaningful, for both students and teachers.

But what does meaningful reflection look like? And how can we scaffold exercises that create meaningful reflection?

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Welcome to your in-school internship

What work looks like at St. Albans City School

a model for service learningStudents at St Albans City School, in St. Albans VT,  have the ability to apply for in-school intern positions such as Financial Officer, Chief Executive Officer, Director of Communication and a whole lot more. What would it look like if your students could do an internship right there in school?

Here’s what it would look like.

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How to build up STEAM

Making time for making at Ottauquechee

makerspaces and project-based learningSTEAM — Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics — gives students the opportunity to create. To make. Maybe to fail. To try again! And to make something that improves a condition, solves a problem, or makes the world a better place. But if your school currently doesn’t offer a STEAM time, it can be daunting to figure out where to begin. And that’s where we pick up our story of Ottauquechee School, in Quechee VT, where we used Design Thinking, a portable makerspace and one amazing library space to figure out how STEAM Time could work at this school.

Welcome to Ottauquechee STEAM Time.

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The Importance of Eating Earnest

What food education looks like in Cornwall VT

The 21st Century Classroom podcastIntegrating food studies into schools leads to thinking about interconnectedness in other ares of study. But don’t take my word for it: meet some amazing students from The Cornwall School, in Cornwall VT, who definitely won’t be surviving on Pop Tarts, ramen or mac and cheese when they grow up.

“My favorite root vegetable is probably the beet because you can do so many fun things with it. In a beet salad, you usually have thinly sliced beets with some Feta cheese on it, and sometimes, you’ll add some brussels sprouts or something, like maybe a hard-boiled egg or two on top. Another great thing to do with beets is to put it on a pizza, so pizza crust with a little Maple syrup on top with beets, Feta cheese on it.”

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Phys ed 2.0: More learning, less suffering

Personalizing PE

peer PLP collaborationIn this era of personalized learning, it’s not just the jocks that find P.E. enjoyable.

At Crossett Brook Middle School and Shelburne Community School, students employ cool technology, develop creative projects, and pursue personal interests and goals while developing autonomy, healthy habits, and deep understandings.

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Turning passion projects into real world change

Public displays of learning are not always the end.

How do you know when meaningful, relevant, personalized and authentic learning has really occurred? Is the charge and scaffolding strong enough to continue the learning after the in-school time has expired?

One measure is looking at what happens after the project ends.

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“Who are we as West Rutland?”

Community exploration builds connection

community-based learning the humans of burkeWhat happens when you ask your students what they want to learn about and how they like to learn, then you turn them loose on a three-day self-directed series of projects generated from their ideas? Teachers at West Rutland School recently found out.

(Spoiler alert: it’s harder, fun, and more engaging than regular school days!)

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