What could possibly go wrong?
Remember when teaching was simply planning a lecture, shutting the door, and delivering it to students? This may have been easy for the teacher, but it certainly didn’t make for deep and relevant learning for the students. The work of developing project-based, engaging, and personalized learning is much more complex.
It’s also full of uncertainty. Let me tell you about a recent field trip I took with students.
Practice Makes Proficient
What’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.
A flexible pathway for religious choice
In a time when combining 21st century skills with personalized learning is in the thoughts of educators, students, and parents, I see the choice of a faith-based education as a very specific personal pathway.
But how does a faith-based education work in the context of 21st century learning?
Why digital composition matters
I’d like you to think back to your days as a student. What kinds of writing did you do? Who read it? What made it important to you? And what made it important to the world?
If you’re like most people, you’re probably drawing a blank right now. Some of today’s students, though, can clearly articulate just how and why their writing is important. And we don’t mean writing as you might imagine, but rather digital composition: digital stories, digital portfolios, documentary films, and of course, podcasts. For each of these, there is a real audience, one beyond the more typical audience of one, the teacher.
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.
Achieving escape velocity with students as partners
Congratulations for making it through the first month of school! Whether it’s your first year as an educator or your thirty-first, the launch of the school year is a special — and especially challenging — time.
It’s worth taking a moment to reflect and imagine how to build on what you’ve started.
How 30 minutes can leave a lasting impact on the day.
Advisory: 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
There is no tired like teachers at the beginning (or end) of the school year are tired. Establishing routines, procedures, community and trust takes time and lots (and lots!) of energy.
How can you create classroom routines and norms so the class feels safe, comfortable, happy and ready for learning? Here are eight ideas.
#vted weighs in again on twitter
Is your school implementing proficiency-based learning?
It’s an idea that’s taking hold all over, so some folks from Vermont’s education community wrestled with the opportunities and challenges presented by implementing proficiency-based learning.
New ways to approach teaming
Have you every showed up to in-service wondering what the new initiatives for the year will be? Or wondered how to continue to meet the demands of the district and school while balancing the the needs of 21st century young adolescents?
*takes a deep breath*
The answer, I suggest, is teaming, but with a new focus.