4 end-of-year activities for advisory

Acknowledge, share, recognize

end-of-year activities for advisoryThe end of the school year is every bit as happy and joyous as it is chaotic and stressful. Make sure that you slow down the hands on the clock to bring closure to your advisory. Acknowledge the successes and challenges of the year. Share the positive things you’ve all learned about each other, and recognize individual students and their stories.

Let’s see how it works in action.

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Machinima: using video games for storytelling

Be an X-Box Hero (with stars in your eyes)*

machinima in the classroomMeet machinima. The word’s a portmanteau of “machine” and “cinema”. It’s a unique form of storytelling that appears in video games, and students creating or mixing clips of video games to create new stories. And for educators, it presents a fabulous opportunity to channel students’ love of video games into producing personally relevant artifacts that demonstrate learning.

Machinima film festival, anyone?

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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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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.

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Build personal connections in teacher advisory

“Every student gets greeted at the start of every day.”

build personal connections in teacher advisoryAt Peoples Academy Middle Level, educators have taken the role of teacher advisory, or TA, to a whole new level. They conduct their advisory to build personal connections with their students. As a result, at PAML, advisory has become a very special thing.

But how can you build personal connections in advisory? Let’s find out.

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Dynamic Landscapes 2017: the power of authentic #vted student voice

Student keynotes, presentations, panels & partners

All with a side order of tech.

Dynamic Landscapes 2017Dynamic Landscapes 2017 is in the bag, and it was easily the best one yet.

Why? Because not only were there a ton of great tech-rich, innovative sessions for attendees to choose from, this year also featured authentic student voice.

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What we can learn from brand new educators

What advice would your 7th grade self give you about teaching?

what we can learn from brand new educatorsRemember when you were first starting out as an educator? The ink on your certification barely dried, and there you were, standing in front of your first class, 30-some pairs of eyeballs staring back at you, waiting for you to lead.

We hear from six amazing middle level educators graduating this spring from the University of Vermont. We ask them about their hopes, their fears, and… what their middle school selves would come back to tell them.

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8 year-end reflection tools and activities

Reflect, celebrate and plan

year-end reflection tools and activitiesOh, the spring. Such a busy time for teachers.

There are all those transition meetings, already getting ready for the next year. Then there are placement meetings, figuring out who will be in what class, core or group. And of course, all those ceremonies, exhibitions, and spring events.

It’s easy to forget all of the progress you have made with your students and as a school during these times. And it’s easy to get frustrated and to focus only on what you have to do next.

Your class, your community and the progress your school has made matters. And they should be celebrated.

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What are the benefits of taking Genius Hour school-wide?

It’s a movement, not a moment

taking Genius Hour school-wideEvery teacher should consider making time for Genius Hour (sometimes called 20% time or Passion Projects). We know that when students are given the opportunity to explore their own topics, they gain skills in self-direction.

But I’ve come to believe that the ideal Genius Hour involves as much of the school as possible. Here’s what it could look like.

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The student-centered art classroom

Structures to support student artists

student-directed learning at The Dorset SchoolArt is “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination”. To teach children that expression or application sounds like a lofty endeavor. But that is exactly what art teachers do in our schools every day.

If art is the expression of creativity and imagination, then we need new models. Because art is about voice and originality. There is no right and wrong way to express your vision and creation.

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