When last we left the students of these two plucky Vermont middle schools, they had managed to connect students and educators via Google Hangout. They’d gotten together to make pizzas and plot the future of personalized learning plans (PLPs). And they’d paired up students as PLP peer collaborators and spent some time reviewing PLPs in pairs.
So we wanted to ask: what’s next? How’s this peer PLP collaboration thing going?
Guiding Crossett Brook PLPs with student voice
The Crossett Brook PLP student leadership group presented their recommendations on PLPs to the teaching staff at the end of the school year. The educators received the students’ ideas well. It was pretty cool to see a roomful of teachers rapt on a hot afternoon during the last week of school.
And the students knocked it out of the park.
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.
Let students help you transform your school
Creating sustainable systemic change is hard work. Yet there are readily available, free, renewable resources right in your classroom. Students are embedded experts, creative geniuses, ruthless truthtellers, and intrinsic futurists.
Here are four examples of students as partners in school change: partners in building a makerspace, redesigning PLPs, serving the school community and negotiating curriculum.
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.
The middle school team at Rutland Town School in Rutland, VT have been working on a more fully integrated implementation of personal learning plans (PLPs) at their school.
They’re also passionate believers in student choice and learner-centered classrooms. Given some flexibility to change the school schedule, they came up with iLearn, a model of student self-direction and choice in tackling PLPs.
What Vermont students really think about personal learning plans
Put 47 middle-level students together, challenge them to think differently about ways to create effective, relevant and meaningful Personalized Learning Plans, and watch the magic happen.
This past summer, we did exactly that.
Student reflection with Adobe Voice and Explain Everything
Students at Fayston Elementary School worked hard this year with their team of teachers, not just to implement personal learning plans (PLPs), but to understand them to such a level that they could tell their stories. Using the digital tools Adobe Voice and Explain Everything, students crafted video explanations of their individual PLP projects to share with their families at student-led conferences.
Scaffolding PLPs so students understand them
5th and 6th graders from Fayston Elementary School took their personal learning plans (PLP) in extraordinary and unexpected directions this year. All because of trust, dedication, and team work by their teachers.
This livecast of a presentation at the Dynamic Landscapes conference exemplifies the approach. You will hear students presenting the nuts and bolts of the PLP process with ownership, eloquence, and insight. The attendant educators, Amy Jamieson and Jason Stevenson, provided behind the scenes scaffolding and support while making sure that students were front and center.
What is curiosity?
Is curiosity important? What does it mean to be a curious learner? What am I curious about?
These are some of the questions Cornwall, VT students considered this winter as they embarked on inquiry-based, personalized, research projects. For six weeks, we turned learning over to our students for the (first annual!) Curiosity Projects.