4 end-of-year activities for advisory

Acknowledge, share, recognize

end-of-year activities for advisoryThe end of the school year is every bit as happy and joyous as it is chaotic and stressful. Make sure that you slow down the hands on the clock to bring closure to your advisory. Acknowledge the successes and challenges of the year. Share the positive things you’ve all learned about each other, and recognize individual students and their stories.

Let’s see how it works in action.

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The student-centered art classroom

Structures to support student artists

student-directed learning at The Dorset SchoolArt is “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination”. To teach children that expression or application sounds like a lofty endeavor. But that is exactly what art teachers do in our schools every day.

If art is the expression of creativity and imagination, then we need new models. Because art is about voice and originality. There is no right and wrong way to express your vision and creation.

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Can virtual reality teach empathy?

Google Expedition aims to connect students with refugee experience

can virtual reality teach empathy?Teaching empathy to our future citizens of the world may be the most important work that we can do as educators. And it’s not something we can force. It has to be an organic outgrowth of the other lessons we build.

Let’s look at how we might make it happen with virtual reality.

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5 Google Chrome apps and extensions for learner support

Support for visual, attention & motor control challenges

Chrome apps and extensions for differentiationRemember training Dragon Dictation to recognize your student’s voice? That technology was pretty profound in 2004, but the options now to support differentiation for learners will blow your mind. What’s better is that we don’t have to offer these technologies to identified students. Any student (or adult!) can use these apps and extensions if they are helpful.

Let’s explore some FREE Google Chrome apps and extensions that support differentiation for a variety of learners.

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How to evaluate student-led conferences

Feedback, feedback, feedback!

student-led conferences and engagement in PLPsAs educators, it’s absolutely critical that we reflect on our practices, especially new ones. As schools around the state finish with parent-teacher conferences this fall, I’d like to take a look at how to evaluate student-led conferences in particular, by checking in on how one school built feedback metrics into the process from the start.

As Emeril Lagasse would say: BAMS!

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Looking to try more student-directed learning?

Test the waters with “Genius Groups”

Start by turning your class over to students.

student-directed learning at The Dorset SchoolYou heard me. Set aside classroom time to let your students design their learning. If you’re not quite ready for a full-on Genius Hour (where each individual student pursues their own learning passion), think about dipping a toe in the water by giving groups of students the space to create and implement learning activities for the rest of the class.

Let’s look at how it’s working for one math class down at The Dorset School, in Dorset, VT.

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Power up your Advisory programs

How 30 minutes can leave a lasting impact on the day.

advisory programsAdvisory: the first 15 to 30 minutes of every middle school day, during which you’re trying to build relationships with your students and engage them in meaningful social interaction.

You also might be fighting off the administrative minutiae of the morning: Attendance. Lunch money. Permission slips. Bus notes.

Let’s look at some strategies for powering up advisory programs

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3 ways to create a student-led open house

Student leadership at a school Open House? You betcha.

#ready2launch student-led open houseYou’ve heard of student-led conferences, but how about a Student-Led Open House? An idea so strange it just might work.

When we partner with young adolescents, we give them voice and choice. We know that is one of the best practices of middle level education. In theory, schools and teachers engage in this throughout the school experience. But let’s face it, sometimes giving up control can feel a little intimidating. Let’s look at 3 easy ways to move towards a student-led open house

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Want end-of-year family involvement?

Try Passage Presentations.

family communication around education, social media and digital citizenshipThe end of every school year is tough. Teachers and administrators struggle to keep students in line, finish assessments, plan field trips, and tie up loose ends. But what’s really important? To provide closure, celebrate accomplishments, and allow students to reflect on how they’ve grown and developed. And including family in those celebrations is vital.

I had the pleasure of witnessing a particularly strong example of how well this can be implemented.

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Exploring careers in middle school

How one school tackles work-based learning

Work-based learning experiences are activities that involve actual work experience or that connect classroom learning to employment and careers. Through work-based learning experiences, educational programs become more relevant, rigorous, challenging, and rewarding for students, parents, educators, and businesses. These opportunities particularly help students make the connection between academic principles and real world applications.”

–Vermont Agency of Education

If you’re a student on the 8th grade team at Mill River Union High School in North Clarendon, Vermont, you’re leading the way in this arena: it’s tradition that every eighth grader at this school experiences a Career Exploration unit in the spring of their year.

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