Having the hard conversations in Southern Vermont

It takes a village to talk about substance abuse with students

The 21st Century Classroom podcastLondonderry, VT-based non-profit The Collaborative is in its 14th year of “Refuse to Use”, a substance abuse-prevention program that creates community conversations about alcohol, tobacco and drugs.

They base their curriculum off hyper-regional data and depend on community members — parents, educators and students — telling them what to talk about next.

Continue reading

Self-care for educators

4 ways to stay well and focused heading into the holidays

@ThisIsVTEDIt’s that time of the year again: you’re almost to the halfway point, almost to the big holiday break. This time of year can be demanding: everyone’s looking forward to vacation, and it’s hard to stay focused on the classroom.

More than that, you’ve been working incredibly hard for and with your students. You’re so very ready for that break. There’s just one more week to go. So let’s talk a little self-care for educators.

Continue reading

Happy Thanksgiving from the Tarrant Institute

We’re #vtgrateful for you

Tarrant InstituteThis Thanksgiving, we’re grateful for the entire community. For everyone working hard in supporting innovative school change in Vermont.

What are you #vtgrateful for?

Continue reading

Digital badges as evidence of flexible pathways

Realizing the promise of micro-credentialing

Tarrant Institute tool tutoriallsAs 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?

Continue reading

The student architects of Shelburne VT

Making math real-world relevant

real world project-based learningWould 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They were tasked with redesigning the school’s outdated “kiva” space.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.

Continue reading

How to start a difficult conversation

Conversations begin at home. And at the bus stop. Also the market. And–

#everydaycourageSo much of the change we need to see right now can be kicked off by starting conversations with members of your community.

It takes a certain amount of courage to address issues that affect your whole community — such as bullying, hate speech and equity — with people who you may never have spoken with before.

But it’s effective. And the more you do it, the easier it gets. Let’s look at 4 ways to start a difficult conversation in your community.

Continue reading

What it looks like when students teach

#everydaycourage“It really is nice being able to teach others. I know that I had an effect on them.”

The Essex STEM Academy, at Essex High School, lets students pursue their passion for tech and science with support from the Vermont STEM community. They also let the students teach.

We spoke with Ian, an Essex STEM Academy student who taught arduino programming, for an episode of our podcast. Find out what it’s like when students are given the freedom, support and authority to step into a teaching role.

Continue reading

How to use Google Docs so students talk to you

Using technology to help build relationships

#everydaycourageRemember when you were in middle school? How awkward did you feel, asking a teacher for help with everyone else watching?

Well #everydaycourage is a two-way street.

Laura Botte, 6th grade math educator at Edmunds Middle School, in Burlington VT, shared with us how she’s been using Google Docs to encourage her students to open up about what’s going on in their lives, and how that affects their ability to be present in the classroom. This is how you can use Google Docs so students talk to you.

Continue reading

Summer reading time!

Summertime, and the reading is easy

Or is it? We checked in with a few of the folks here at the Tarrant Institute to hear about what they’re reading this summer.

Continue reading

Checking in with Stowe & PAML’s peer PLP collaboration

peer PLP collaborationWhen last we left the students of these two plucky Vermont middle schools, they had managed to connect students and educators via Google Hangout. They’d gotten together to make pizzas and plot the future of personalized learning plans (PLPs). And they’d paired up students as PLP peer collaborators and spent some time reviewing PLPs in pairs.

So we wanted to ask: what’s next? How’s this peer PLP collaboration thing going?

Continue reading