Deliver the goods!
Rather than creating a unit on the Civil War, imagine working with an individual student or small group on a topic that fully engages them, but might be something you know little about. First we looked at how to find resources in multiple formats, to meet students’ different learning needs and preferences.
Now, how do we deliver those materials in a way that responds to students’ needs and also gives them some choice in how, when, and where they learn?
Building a differentiation & personalization toolkit
I was privileged recently to work with a number of pre-service teachers here at the University of Vermont. All were eager to gain access to tools and resources to help them respond to the variety of learners’ needs they will face in classrooms.
Using the Civil War as our (broad) topic, we developed a workflow for creating a tech-rich social studies unit responsive to different learners’ needs. And using ourselves as learners, we tested out our methods.
Peers partner on portfolios
Students at two Vermont schools have begun working together as “Portfolio Partners” to curate evidence, reflect on their growth, and prepare to share their learning with a wider audience.
Here’s how it works.
3 examples using blended learning
Let’s explore how some Vermont teachers are shifting their instruction and assessment practices to move all students toward proficiency. Three different educators have changed the way they assess proficiency in their classrooms. Each has created a way for students to have control over the pacing of instruction and have included students in monitoring progress and growth, using a blended learning environment.
Outcomes, process and automaticity
I worked with a group of teachers this summer to re-think goal-setting with their students. We know it’s a key component to developing Personalized Learning Plans (PLP), but students reported little engagement in following through on and reflecting about their goals.
In our attempts to think differently about goal-setting and reflection, we decided to approach goal-setting as a visualization exercise. Each of us set a learning goal for ourselves and experimented with visualizing the end result of those goals.
So how can this work for students?
Two examples of implementing proficiency-based scales of learning
Vermont educators and their students are on a journey. Let’s look at how one school is implementing proficiency-based learning in a way that ensures all learners have the opportunity to thrive.
When we clearly articulate learning targets both for and with learners, the end is clear to all and learning can proceed along a progression with multiple opportunities for demonstrating growth and mastery.
What Vermont students really think about personal learning plans
Put 47 middle-level students together, challenge them to think differently about ways to create effective, relevant and meaningful Personalized Learning Plans, and watch the magic happen.
This past summer, we did exactly that.
The Six Question Framework for reflection
As the end of June nears and students take their final exams, clear out their lockers, and begin sleeping in until noon, teachers are gathering their remaining energy, and administrators are giving them space, to take stock of the year, celebrate the successes and challenges, and together learn from them.
But what’s the best way to assess technology-rich instruction and the 1:1 environment?
Deepen place-based learning and boost emotional engagement
Having signed the permission slips, helped raise money, converted US dollars to Canadian, and reviewed the itinerary multiple times, I attended an information night for my daughters’ end-of-year field trip: a 3-day adventure in Quebec City. I learned (among other things) how to be certain if mobile devices made their way across the border, how to turn off data plans to avoid being charged outrageous fees. I thank the organizers tremendously for reminding us about this issue.
What I didn’t hear though was how mobile devices might be used to enhance learning on this trip.The power of these devices in students’ hands while they explore seems too powerful to pass up.
Too many ‘awesomes’ to count.
That was a note I took while experiencing students’ reactions to Google Expeditions at Lamoille Union Middle/High School this week. Audible collective “wows” along with “this is awesome” “I feel like I’m flying, that’s why I’m scared” “I love this” permeated the air as students put the cardboard devices to their faces and entered a virtual world. As the Google representative described it to one class, “buckle up your magic school bus seat belts for a virtual reality tour of National Parks and the world’s seven wonders.”