Student-centered filmmaking at Compass

Lessons learned from a film festival

student-centered filmmakingEvery year, I watch in awe as students take ownership of their films and are challenged to exercise new skills and proficiencies: self direction, creative expression, and problem-solving. I’ve seen this assignment throw some of our most academically-capable and motivated students off-balance.

I’ve also watched many diverse groups pull together to create some powerful, beautifully-shot films.

This may be the most challenging course we offer.

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Adventures in #realworldPBL: The Field Trip

What could possibly go wrong?

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.

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4 more ways to help middle schoolers get organized

Helping students get organized

help middle schoolers get organizedMiddle schoolers’ lives are multi-faceted, dynamic and dramatic. And while we talk about how to grow self-directed, engaged and motivated students, that growth can’t take place while students are overwhelmed and anxious about managing their daily lives.

Last time, we looked at how to organize the tech itself. Now let’s look at how to use powerful tech tools (shiny!) to help make middle school manageable.

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4 ways to help middle school students organize their tech

“Where did I put that cord? My computer is dead!”

help middle school students get organized with their techHow many times have you heard this in your classroom? So much of middle school is developing systems to stay organized: “How do I get to all these classes? How do I open my locker?” And with the addition of technology: “How do I keep track of my school computer? Which Google Doc is the homework in? ”

Let’s look at 4 ways students can learn independence and grow leadership through the care and organization of technology.

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Peer collaboration on PLPs

Peers partner on portfolios

peer collaboration on PLPsStudents 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.

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Can sustained silent reading help reluctant readers?

How student choice can support literacy

sustained silent readingEnglish teacher Laela Warnecke set out to answer one question: “How might sustained silent reading impact 8th graders?”

Warnecke examined the effect of sustained silent reading on the engagement and achievement of her students. She surveyed her students and helped them set aside time during the day to read whatever they wanted. And it turned out that her so-called “reluctant readers” weren’t all that reluctant after all.

This is a story about student choice, student engagement, and how action research can impact student outcomes.

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How to fight fake news in the field

A case study from one classroom

how to fight fake newsIn part one, we explored how middle grade students are struggling to recognize fake news or sponsored posts and shared many tools for teachers looking to tackle this thorny issue.

But what does it really look like We sat down for a Q & A with Christie Nold, sixth grade educator and fighter of fake news.

Here’s her mini-unit on telling real from fake news.

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4 resources for fighting fake news

Teaching news literacy in the social media age

digital citizenship and students onlineWe’ve been hearing a lot lately about the problem of fake news stories and how they might impact our impressions of the world. Imagine: if it’s hard for adults to spot fake news stories, then how hard is it for students?

Turns out: VERY HARD.

Let’s look at some resources for helping students determine when a source is truly credible or not.

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Student TED Talks, sound sculptures and a funk band

Student exhibitions of project-based learning

student TED talksAt this point we all know how important it is for students to share project-based learning with an authentic audience. It shows students they have power in the world, and that their research really makes a difference. But how best to design an exhibition that empowers students and provides a compelling, informative experience for the community?

Cabot High School did it by hosting an evening that combined student TED Talks, interactive sound sculptures and a high school funk band.

It. Was. Glorious.

In this episode of our podcast, we take you to Cabot High School’s FLOW event, where you’ll hear what it was like to connect with their community around water conservation PBL.

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Beyond the audience of one

Why digital composition matters

why digital composition mattersI’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.

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