J-Term at Hazen Union

Personalized, proficiency-based PBL or bust

three pillars of personalized learningDuring a faculty meeting in late December of 2016, educators and staff talked about the need to provide personalized learning options for students at their small, rural Vermont school. They wanted do so in a way that  honored the students’ need for passion-based, independent projects, as well as the desire of the faculty and staff to provide structured supports.

But what could that look like in action?
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Three Pillars in Practice: Team Extreme IDU

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.

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Flexible pathways in proficiency-based learning

Choose Your Own Adventure

practice for proficiencyIn Sam Nelson’s classroom, students choose what they learn, and how. Through the use of learning scales and targets, Nelson sets guidelines for students to demonstrate proficiencies in whatever they choose to study. Between the two systems — flexible pathways and proficiency-based learning — students negotiate a curriculum that keeps them engaged and satisfies their curiosity about the world around them.

How does it all work? Let’s take a look.

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The great Brian Eno-powered STEAM PBL caper

Wondering how to blend project-based learning with STEAM?

Real World PBLYes, STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. Earlier this year we profiled The Cabot School’s amazing public exhibition of sound sculptures highlighting water conservation. They were a big hit with the Cabot community, the students who made them and, it turns out, a fair number of you guys, too: our readers.

In this episode of The 21st Century Classroom, we talk with Cabot School educator Michael Hendrix. We hear about what it takes to pull off STEAM-powered PBL and why Hendrix feels you can’t ever really teach science without art.

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The crucial role of practice in a proficiency-based environment

Practice makes proficient

practice for proficiencyWhat’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.

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Tracking proficiencies in Schoology

3 ways Schoology supports sustainable Proficiency-Based Learning

tracking proficiencies in schoologyA learning management system (LMS) can be used to manage classroom workflow, create self-paced differentiated units, and collaborate within or across classrooms and schools.

As teachers in Vermont and elsewhere grapple with how to create proficiency-based learning environments, they are looking for new strategies and routines. Let’s explore some of the features of the Schoology LMS particularly suited to proficiency-based learning.

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Assessment in Proficiency-Based Classrooms

3 examples using blended learning

assessment in proficiency-based classroomsLet’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.

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3 visualization exercises for proficiency-based learning

Outcomes, process and automaticity

proficiency-based teaching and learning in VermontI 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?

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Proficiency-based teaching and learning in Vermont: who, why and how

Two examples of implementing proficiency-based scales of learning

proficiency-based teaching and learning in VermontVermont 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. 

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How proficient are you with proficiency-based learning?

#vted weighs in again on twitter

proficiency-based learningIs 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.

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