4 ways to make math more relevant

Banish the stigma: you are not bad at math. Math is bad at you.

real world project-based learningWe 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.

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Courage lives on

 

#everydaycourageThis 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.

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Diverse books for conversations around identity

The birth of a YA teacher’s book club

#everydaycourage“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

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Laying the groundwork for effective teaching teams

Or, What to Bring to the First Staff Potluck

#everydaycourageOpening 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.

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#everydaycourage

It’s time we celebrated it in our schools.

#everydaycourageWhen 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.

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Take Project-Based Learning to the next level

3 ways to plan for PBL 2.0

take project-based learning to the next levelYou’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.

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8 year-end reflection tools and activities

Reflect, celebrate and plan

year-end reflection tools and activitiesOh, 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.

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8 ideas for outdoor learning

Expand your classroom and keep kids engaged

flexible classroomsThe weather is getting nicer. The sun is finally out. And you are in charge of keeping your class engaged, focused and ...inside? Ha!

Any teacher who has experienced spring in Vermont knows that students get a little wiggly this time of year. What’s a great way to harness that energy and keep students engaged with school to the very end of the year?

Get. OUT.

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4 ideas for using a makerspace to support PBL

How do project-based learning and makerspaces fit together?

makerspaces and project-based learningMaking and PBL may look like two completely different educational movements, but in reality they work well together and each strengthens the other.

That’s because they share a common fundamental underpinning: they honor students’ innate curiosity about the world.

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4 ways to use Virtual Reality in project-based learning

VR’s real world impact on students

Real World PBLVirtual reality is exciting and many of our students are already using this technology in gaming (as some were quick to tell me). So why aren’t we using it more in education?

Maybe we just need some ideas on how to use VR in education. So let’s start by looking at virtual reality in project-based learning (PBL).

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