Use service learning to grow your community
What do you do when you’re a 5th-through-8th middle school housed in two separate buildings?
If your 7th-and-8th graders are with the high school, and 5th and 6th graders are off on their own, how can you provide an opportunity all middle graders to feel involved in the middle school? How do you promote leadership and engagement, and connect students to their communities?
For the Cabot School, service learning is the answer.
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?
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.
Banish the stigma: you are not bad at math. Math is bad at you.
We can move math beyond worksheets and imaginary word problems. Let’s quit making math about sharing made-up apples, fishes or shoes.
Let’s tie math to the real world: real problems for students to solve, what’s going on around them, and how students learn. If you’re trying to save the world, you’re not gonna let a little math get in the way, are you?
Here’s 4 ways to make math more relevant for students and for teachers.
This fall, we’ve been talking about everyday courage in schools. We’ve written about the courage it takes to start a new team, using technology to open up communication with students and to open up our practice.
We’ve shared examples about how teachers are showing up, engaging in hard conversations about race, their own practice, about getting negative feedback and sharing our work and selves with others. We’ve heard about how students are leading the way when given the support at school to do so: working for acceptance, equality and identity and systems that let every voice be heard. Here are three themes we’ve seen emerge.
The birth of a YA teacher’s book club
“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. You’ve just got to keep doing right.”
–Starr’s mom, in The Hate U Give by Angela Thomas
Or, What to Bring to the First Staff Potluck
Opening up to fellow educators can be hard. We all know we’re doing the best we can, but many of us also feel like we could be doing better for our students. We want to do the best we can and sometimes we get terrified that it’s not enough. What if none of the other teachers feel this way?
Except: they do.
And that’s why it’s important to be brave enough to connect with the other teachers on your team, to really get to know them as people — and to let them get to know you in return. They can be some of your most important resources during the school year.
It’s time we celebrated it in our schools.
When we walk into Vermont schools, we see it. It’s there, every time, when our eyes scan the hallways, the classrooms, and the shared spaces. It’s #everydaycourage, and it lies at the heart of innovative education.
3 ways to plan for PBL 2.0
You’ve dipped your toe into project based learning. You’ve planned an entry event, shared a high quality driving question, managed student teamwork, created scaffolds, and helped students finish a meaningful project to present to an authentic, engaged audience!
Whew! Well done.
But we know you. We know you’re a total rockstar and you and your students are already looking ahead to your next PBL cycle. So many problems to solve! So many ideas to toss around, and so much excitement from the feedback your community gave students on their work.
While your next PBL idea’s a-percolatin’, take time to reflect on these three key areas, and take project-based learning to the next level.
Reflect, celebrate and plan
Oh, the spring. Such a busy time for teachers.
There are all those transition meetings, already getting ready for the next year. Then there are placement meetings, figuring out who will be in what class, core or group. And of course, all those ceremonies, exhibitions, and spring events.
It’s easy to forget all of the progress you have made with your students and as a school during these times. And it’s easy to get frustrated and to focus only on what you have to do next.
Your class, your community and the progress your school has made matters. And they should be celebrated.