Use service learning to grow your community
What do you do when you’re a 5th-through-8th middle school housed in two separate buildings?
If your 7th-and-8th graders are with the high school, and 5th and 6th graders are off on their own, how can you provide an opportunity all middle graders to feel involved in the middle school? How do you promote leadership and engagement, and connect students to their communities?
For the Cabot School, service learning is the answer.
Tech tools, tips & inspiration
The world is BIG. And overwhelming at times. Especially for our students, who hear bits and pieces of what is happening across the globe, and have questions, worries, and thoughts.
It makes sense that we move students beyond their geography, perspectives, and comfort zones. That way we can expand their world, and grow empathy, compassion, knowledge, and perspective.
But… how exactly do we do that?
Student leadership and service in action
It all starts with an idea. Races Against Racism have taken place around the country, and last spring, a community member and organizer Henry Harris suggested that 15-year-old Hope Petraro organize an event in her community. He said she might be interested in having this event in Montpelier. That was just the spark she needed.
Since then, Hope, with the support of her teachers and community mentor, has created an important event to fight back against racism during a time when our country is seeing a resurgence of racial conflict.
Cornwall students think global, build local, share both
Last year the most amazing thing happened: my students at the Cornwall School designed and built a playground. They dreamed, planned, proposed, revised, fundraised — deep breath — organized, built and managed.
But then they taught themselves how to share their story: with social media, and with a whole world of educators, so that other students might have the same experience.
Goal global, act local
The United Nations has kicked off a movement for the future. They’ve identified 17 goals for sustainability world-wide, and they’ve given those goals to students around the world.
Here in Vermont, a cadre of passionate educators are scaffolding project-based learning around those goals. And #vted students are hard at work, changing the world, one community at a time.
Making math real-world relevant
Would you tell the school board how to redesign your school? Students at Shelburne Community School, in Shelburne VT, did just that.
They were tasked with redesigning the school’s outdated “kiva” space. Using Google Sketch-Up, they created three different designs for renovating the space, and presented those designs to a panel of local architects, and their school board.
Banish the stigma: you are not bad at math. Math is bad at you.
We can move math beyond worksheets and imaginary word problems. Let’s quit making math about sharing made-up apples, fishes or shoes.
Let’s tie math to the real world: real problems for students to solve, what’s going on around them, and how students learn. If you’re trying to save the world, you’re not gonna let a little math get in the way, are you?
Here’s 4 ways to make math more relevant for students and for teachers.
Proctor’s STEAM Family Night
The 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.
3 ways to plan for PBL 2.0
You’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.
How do project-based learning and makerspaces fit together?
Making and PBL may look like two completely different educational movements, but in reality they work well together and each strengthens the other.
That’s because they share a common fundamental underpinning: they honor students’ innate curiosity about the world.