Students test drive tools to enhance & amplify project work
When Stowe Middle Level educators met to plan for the upcoming student exhibitions of learning, they agreed on two critical ideas. One, that their learners benefit from multiple ways to tell the story of their learning.
And two, students are in the best position to test out tech tools to share that learning.
Lessons from an exhibition
These days, I’ve been thinking about the reasons we ask students to share their work. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the connection that a public exhibition provides for parents and community. But as I wrote that piece, some other ideas were percolating in my brain about what happens when we share our work with others.
And then I got to experience those ideas for myself.
Video reflection + social interaction
The role of feedback and reflection are key strategies in best middle level practice for students and educators alike. Finding engaging ways for this exchange to take place in meaningful and relevant ways is, for many of us, a challenge.
What do the Global Goals
look sound like in action?
The three Essex Middle School students who delivered the keynote address at the 2nd annual Cultivating Pathways to Sustainability conference spoke from the heart. They also spoke from experience, having spent the previous year using the #GlobalGoals to address hunger in their communities.
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Meet the Humans of Burke
So many schools operate in isolation from the very communities they are situated in. Do your students know community members? Does your community see your students as young community members?
One small school in Vermont’s remote Northeast Kingdom interpreted the popular “Humans of New York” project to foster connection between their 8th graders and the town’s community. Meet the Humans of Burke.
Who let the dogs in?
For some students, being ready to learn when they arrive at school is a big ask, and more than a few carry trauma or mental health burdens through their day. And that’s why more and more, schools in Vermont are adding therapy dogs to their staffing rosters.
And they’re seeing some pretty pawsitive benefits to the arrangement.
Local connections with worldwide implications
In our current study of heat transfer, our class decided to connect science concepts to the UN Sustainable Development Goals — specifically, Goal 13, which looks to combat climate change. The challenge was to model a place where students had experienced Urban Heat Islands, then create a sustainable mitigation plan for that place.
Starting with paper blueprints, then moving to Google Maps, students fabricated models of these urban heat islands and calculated how to measure the mitigation.
Providing an arena for powerful family feedback
School exhibitions take work. They take work to organize, schedule, promote and pull off, and they can feel overwhelming from the teacher side. But they also provide a very specific opportunity for students to stand proudly next to the results of all their hard work and say, “Yes. I did this.”
And that can be the best time and place for families to hear the pride in their student’s voice.
TED Talks are short, personal powerful storytelling. Now: how can students use this medium as motivation to learn, to explore their purpose, extend their perspectives and understandings, and develop strong storytelling and presentation skills?
Let’s find out.
The transformation of Team Quest
Educators never feel like they have enough time to do all the things they want to do with students. But for Team Quest at Crossett Brook Middle School in Duxbury, Vermont, the constraints of traditional subject area, schedule and process had become unbearable. So this two-person grade 5-6 team decided to opt for radical transformation.
They changed the who, what, and when of their teaching.
And. They. Love it. Continue reading