The student architects of Shelburne VT

Making math real-world relevant

real world project-based learningWould 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They were tasked with redesigning the school’s outdated “kiva” space.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.

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The new Crossett Brook personalized learning plans

One way to make sure PLPs are student-driven: hand them the keys

Crossett Brook PLPsAt the end of last school year, the PLP Student Leadership Team at Crossett Brook Middle School presented to staff their recommendations for the future of PLPs at the school. And the staff unanimously supported all of the recommendations.

But it’s one thing to come up with a bunch of great ideas. It’s another thing to make sure they happen. For this group of students, follow through was not a problem. They met during the summer to keep the momentum going, convened daily during the first few weeks of school, then rolled out the new PLP process to their peers.

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Choose Your Own Adventure with Google Earth

The virtual reality cure for wanderlust

ways students can create VR contentDespite this gorgeous fall weather here in central Vermont, I’m suffering from a bad case of wanderlust. One antidote I’ve found to satisfy the daily craving to hit the high road is the 360Cities Tab Extension. Now that I’ve added it to my Chrome browser, every time I open a tab, it displays a new full screen photo of somewhere fabulous, curious, or surreal.

Another avenue for virtual adventure is to explore Google Earth, Choose Your Own Adventure-style. 6th grade students at Stowe Middle School, in Stowe VT, did just that, learning about latitude and longitude by creating their own Choose Your Own Adventure activities.

And your students can too.

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Winooski’s Graduate Proficiencies & Graduate Expectations

What proficiency-based learning looks like

proficiency-based teaching and learning in VermontWinooski Middle and High School, in bustling Winooski, VT, has been quietly making the journey to proficiency-based learning and proficiency-based graduation requirements for the past six years.

And the resources they’ve constructed along the way — to support students, teachers and families — celebrate cultural and ethnic diversity and challenge inequity.  They provide clear and solid guidelines around proficiencies.

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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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4 ways to make math more relevant

Banish the stigma: you are not bad at math. Math is bad at you.

real world project-based learningWe 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.

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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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How making supports service learning

Responsible and involved citizenship in Grand Isle

a model for service learningWe’re looking at how maker-centered learning and makerspace activities can help support students in developing Vermont’s five transferable skills. We’ve looked at clear and effective communication, self-direction, and creative and practical problem-solving

In this post, we recount EMMA’s visit to Grand Isle School, where teachers and students used making as part of service learning and provided evidence of responsible and involved citizenship.

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Maker-centered learning and transferable skills:

Making as evidence of problem-solving

makerspaces and project-based learningIt’s quite easy to see how making often takes students on new journeys, where their imagination provides opportunities to exercise the transferable skill of creative and practical problem solving. 

After a visit by EMMA, students at Malletts Bay School, in Colchester VT, were inspired to use their new skills to create an interactive display for their whole school community.

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Making as evidence of self-direction

The Maker Movement & Transferable Skills, Part 2

makerspaces and project-based learningWe’re looking at how maker-centered learning provides opportunities for students to develop the Vermont Agency of Education’s five Transferable Skills, starting with Clear and Effective Communication.

Today we continue our series with more examples. Our mobile making lab’s visits brought forth evidence of students taking charge of their learning. Students became more and more self-directed as their capacity and confidence around making grew. This was particularly evident during EMMA’s visits to the so-called “Northeast Kingdom,” the most rural area of Vermont.

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