Checking in with Stowe & PAML’s peer PLP collaboration

peer PLP collaborationWhen last we left the students of these two plucky Vermont middle schools, they had managed to connect students and educators via Google Hangout. They’d gotten together to make pizzas and plot the future of personalized learning plans (PLPs). And they’d paired up students as PLP peer collaborators and spent some time reviewing PLPs in pairs.

So we wanted to ask: what’s next? How’s this peer PLP collaboration thing going?

Continue reading

Use a student leadership team for feedback on PLPs

Guiding Crossett Brook PLPs with student voice

The Crossett Brook PLP student leadership group presented their recommendations on PLPs to the teaching staff at the end of the school year. The educators received the students’ ideas well. It was pretty cool to see a roomful of teachers rapt on a hot afternoon during the last week of school.

And the students knocked it out of the park.

Continue reading

Sharing STEAM projects with families

Proctor’s STEAM Family Night

STEAM projects with familiesThe sleepy little town of Proctor VT, is making some big waves when it comes to showcasing their students’ STEAM achievements. STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math) is a hot topic in school innovation right now, and rural towns like Proctor are primed and ready to show their communities just why STEAM matters so much to students.

Continue reading

4 examples of students as partners in school change

Let students help you transform your school

students as partners in school changeCreating sustainable systemic change is hard work. Yet there are readily available, free, renewable resources right in your classroom. Students are embedded experts, creative geniuses, ruthless truthtellers, and intrinsic futurists.

Here are four examples of students as partners in school change: partners in building a makerspace, redesigning PLPs, serving the school community and negotiating curriculum.

Continue reading

Take Project-Based Learning to the next level

3 ways to plan for PBL 2.0

take project-based learning to the next levelYou’ve dipped your toe into project based learning. You’ve planned an entry event, shared  a high quality driving question, managed student teamwork, created scaffolds, and helped students finish a meaningful project to present to an authentic, engaged audience!

Whew! Well done.

But we know you. We know you’re a total rockstar and you and your students are already looking ahead to your next PBL cycle. So many problems to solve! So many ideas to toss around, and so much excitement from the feedback your community gave students on their work.

While your next PBL idea’s a-percolatin’, take time to reflect on these three key areas, and take project-based learning to the next level.

Continue reading

Scheduling and student choice

Meet “iLearn”

an action research module examining scheduling and student choiceThe middle school team at Rutland Town School in Rutland, VT have been working on a more fully integrated implementation of personal learning plans (PLPs) at their school.

They’re also passionate believers in student choice and learner-centered classrooms. Given some flexibility to change the school schedule, they came up with iLearn, a model of student self-direction and choice in tackling PLPs.

Continue reading

(Re) Designing PLPs with students

What Vermont students really think about personal learning plans

plp_redesignPut 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.

Continue reading

Telling the PLP story

Student reflection with Adobe Voice and Explain Everything

providing support for goal-setting in a PLPStudents at Fayston Elementary School worked hard this year with their team of teachers, not just to implement personal learning plans (PLPs), but to understand them to such a level that they could tell their stories. Using the digital tools Adobe Voice and Explain Everything, students crafted video explanations of their individual PLP projects to share with their families at student-led conferences.

Continue reading

How students tell their PLP stories

Scaffolding PLPs so students understand them

providing support for goal-setting in a PLP5th and 6th graders from Fayston Elementary School took their personal learning plans (PLP) in extraordinary and unexpected directions this year. All because of trust, dedication, and team work by their teachers.

This livecast of a presentation at the Dynamic Landscapes conference exemplifies the approach. You will hear students presenting the nuts and bolts of the PLP process with ownership, eloquence, and insight. The attendant educators, Amy Jamieson and Jason Stevenson, provided behind the scenes scaffolding and support while making sure that students were front and center.

Continue reading

Curiosity Projects: A stepping-stone to Personalized Learning

What is curiosity?

student-led inquiryIs curiosity important? What does it mean to be a curious learner? What am I curious about?

These are some of the questions Cornwall, VT students considered this winter as they embarked on inquiry-based, personalized, research projects. For six weeks, we turned learning over to our students for the (first annual!) Curiosity Projects.

Continue reading