When students share their work, it deepens the learning

Lessons from an exhibition

These days, I’ve been thinking about the reasons we ask students to share their work. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the connection that a public exhibition provides for parents and community. But as I wrote that piece, some other ideas were percolating in my brain about what happens when we share our work with others.

And then I got to experience those ideas for myself.

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Why host a whole-school exhibition?

Providing an arena for powerful family feedback

sharing STEAM projects with familiesSchool exhibitions take work. They take work to organize, schedule, promote and pull off, and they can feel overwhelming from the teacher side. But they also provide a very specific opportunity for students to stand proudly next to the results of all their hard work and say, “Yes. I did this.”

And that can be the best time and place for families to hear the pride in their student’s voice.

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Telling a complex story through imagery

The power of metaphorical thinking

year-end reflection tools and activitiesA picture can speak a thousand words and convey a complex concept that text on its own can’t quite manage. And the act of crafting them is a powerful way to synthesize understanding.

How would you create a visual whose goal is to capture the complexities of personalized learning?

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5 online resources for teaching current events

Tarrant Institute tool tutoriallsWhen things get tough, the tough use tools.

Whether you’re actively trying to embed current events in your curriculum or helping your students respond to the headlines, here are five useful tools to help you wrangle news in the classroom.

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How making supports integrative and informed thinking

Makerspace learning at Proctor Elementary

makerspaces and project-based learningIn this final post of our series on how maker-centered learning can help students develop transferable skills, we take a look at Integrative and Informed Thinking.

During EMMA’s visit to Proctor Elementary School, in Proctor VT, the potential for maker-centered learning to support students’ integrated and informed thinking really came to life. Once again, the Design Thinking process was used to guide the making, providing a structure within which students could build knowledge and systematize their thinking.

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Courage lives on

 

#everydaycourageThis fall, we’ve been talking  about everyday courage in schools. We’ve written about the courage it takes to start a new team, using technology to open up communication with students and to open up our practice.

We’ve shared examples about how teachers are showing up, engaging in hard conversations about race, their own practice, about getting negative feedback and sharing our work and selves with others. We’ve heard about how students are leading the way when given the support at school to do so: working for acceptance, equality and identity and systems that let every voice be heard. Here are three themes we’ve seen emerge.

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How to cultivate mindfulness in classrooms

The #everydaycourage of doing nothing

#everydaycourageAs we cultivate more self-direction in students, their lives get more complicated. They have a greater responsibility to themselves and their success.

How can we nurture the whole student as they grapple with becoming agents of their own education?

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The #everydaycourage of staying curious in the face of negative feedback

Feedback often feels like criticism. But what if we used it as an opportunity to grow?

#everydaycourageIn third grade, I had my own time-out chair in the principal’s office. My exuberant chattiness, combined with an 8-year-old’s lack of social filter frequently earned me a trip to that chair that sat in the corner facing the clock.

My face would burn with shame as I trudged down the long hall. As I sat and waited for the loud ticking of the clock to signal my release, I would try to figure out what I’d done wrong. Sometimes it was obvious: Nathan’s story hadn’t “gone to the dogs” as I’d loudly proclaimed. (But it had just seemed like the perfect punchline to the joke when my teacher had asked…‘Where has your story gone?…’)

Other times, many times, I was completely bewildered. I’d do my time, and then return to the flow of the classroom, as if I’d never left, edgy and bracing for my next invisible (to me) infraction.

Based upon the frequency of these visits, I doubt they were learning experiences. Instead, they were punitive, spirit-crushing time-outs; lost opportunities for growth.

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How to start a difficult conversation

Conversations begin at home. And at the bus stop. Also the market. And–

#everydaycourageSo much of the change we need to see right now can be kicked off by starting conversations with members of your community.

It takes a certain amount of courage to address issues that affect your whole community — such as bullying, hate speech and equity — with people who you may never have spoken with before.

But it’s effective. And the more you do it, the easier it gets. Let’s look at 4 ways to start a difficult conversation in your community.

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The #everydaycourage of talking about race in Vermont schools

How will your students prepare for active engagement in democracy?

#everydaycourageLast spring Christie Nold, a 6th grade teacher at Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School, was at Burlington’s Jazz Fest listening to student musicians when she got some disturbing news: someone had spray-painted racist hate speech on her school’s campus.

Overwhelmed by her own emotions, Nold also knew that she had to find a way to help her students deal with their own understandings and emotions about the  graffiti. Like Christie, many teachers are wondering how to address a recent rise in racism and white supremacy.

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