Every May for the past 10 years, Lamoille Union Middle School’s Team Extreme launches an integrated unit. This year found them shifting and building upon past successes to include the goal of giving students access to their growth and skills progression in a brand new way.
It takes a combination of flexible pathways and student passion.
Peoples Academy Middle Level 6th graders Noble Beerworth, Josephine Simone, Anna Isselhardt, and Jacob Fougere won big at this year’s VT Tech’s Bridge Building competition. They built a bridge that withstood 1,089 pounds of pressure, but the story of how their school helped them get there is equally impressive.
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
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
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?