The Crucial Role of Practice in a Proficiency-Based Environment

Practice Makes Proficient

practice for proficiencyWhat’s special about a proficiency-based environment? Practice, that’s what.

I know, it sounded weird to me too. As a former math teacher, I thought of practice as the mind-numbing repetitive stuff that students had to do in order to attain fluency. Practice was for straightforward procedural skills.

But Sam Nelson, a social studies teacher at Shelburne Community School, has broadened my perspective on practice to encompass all formative assessment, including complex skills and concepts.

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Tracking proficiencies in Schoology

3 ways Schoology supports sustainable Proficiency-Based Learning

tracking proficiencies in schoologyA learning management system (LMS) can be used to manage classroom workflow, create self-paced differentiated units, and collaborate within or across classrooms and schools.

As teachers in Vermont and elsewhere grapple with how to create proficiency-based learning environments, they are looking for new strategies and routines. Let’s explore some of the features of the Schoology LMS particularly suited to proficiency-based learning.

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How to get started with action research

Strategies for starting a research project

getting started with action researchWhether the inspiring teacher examples from my last post roused your inner researcher, or you’re just one of those continuous improvement people (as most teachers are), it’s exciting to think that we could have some potential new knowledge creators out there.

So let’s take a look at how to make this work.

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Why do action research?

5 benefits of doing action research in the classroom

getting started with action research

Teachers are constantly tinkering, creating, learning, and growing. Action research is a slightly formalized version of what skilled teachers do every day.

By honoring action research as systematic professional inquiry, we empower teachers to improve their practice. It’s easy to get started undertaking a small, powerful action research project in your classroom. Let’s see what it can look like.

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4 shifts for student-led conferences in a proficiency-based environment

Student-led conferences are for students

student-led conferences and engagement in PLPsStudent-led conferences are a key strategy in personalized, student-centered educational practices.

And they’re even more important and potentially powerful in a proficiency-based system.

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4 ways to begin using scales for assessment

Getting started assessing proficiency

proficiency-based teaching and learning in VermontSchool systems in Vermont and elsewhere are in the midst of a shift to proficiency-based learning. At the early stages, this transformation can feel overwhelming even for educators, even if they’re excited by the idea.

Where to start?

Start with scales for assessment.

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4 ways to partner with students around Genius Hour

1% teacher inspiration & 99% student-led

#ready2launchGenius Hour is a leap of faith in which educators set aside their most precious resource, time, for students to pursue their passions. It doesn’t get much more student-centered than that.

But there are actually several aspects of Genius Hour where students can be involved as partners to amp up the genius quotient.

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5 ways to partner with students in a makerspace

Whose Makerspace is it, anyway?

#ready2launchA Makerspace can take many forms, but fundamentally it should be a locus of student engagement and creativity.

So engage them from the start by turning over as much of the design and operation of your Makerspace as possible. Continue reading

Brainado!

An experiment in student-directed, open-ended project-based learning

real-world problems and project-based learningWhat if an entire school set out to maximize student engagement?

What if there were a school-wide commitment to loosening control and trusting students to do great things?

What if students were told that they could work for an hour a week on whatever they want with one simple rule: you must share something?

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Telling the PLP story

Student reflection with Adobe Voice and Explain Everything

providing support for goal-setting in a PLPStudents at Fayston Elementary School worked hard this year with their team of teachers, not just to implement personal learning plans (PLPs), but to understand them to such a level that they could tell their stories. Using the digital tools Adobe Voice and Explain Everything, students crafted video explanations of their individual PLP projects to share with their families at student-led conferences.

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