Helping students get organized
Middle schoolers’ lives are multi-faceted, dynamic and dramatic. And while we talk about how to grow self-directed, engaged and motivated students, that growth can’t take place while students are overwhelmed and anxious about managing their daily lives.
Last time, we looked at how to organize the tech itself. Now let’s look at how to use powerful tech tools (shiny!) to help make middle school manageable.
“Where did I put that cord? My computer is dead!”
How many times have you heard this in your classroom? So much of middle school is developing systems to stay organized: “How do I get to all these classes? How do I open my locker?” And with the addition of technology: “How do I keep track of my school computer? Which Google Doc is the homework in? ”
Let’s look at 4 ways students can learn independence and grow leadership through the care and organization of technology.
A flexible pathway for religious choice
In a time when combining 21st century skills with personalized learning is in the thoughts of educators, students, and parents, I see the choice of a faith-based education as a very specific personal pathway.
But how does a faith-based education work in the context of 21st century learning?
Expanding parent conference time with technology
We’ve all been there: how do you fit 40 minutes worth of information into a 20-minute parent conference, still have time for questions AND stay on schedule? Bulletin boards hanging in the hallway help. They serve two purposes, engaging parents while they wait and giving parents a view into the classroom. But that view is static and doesn’t always feel authentic.
Mrs. Natalie Byrne, a 1st grade teacher at Christ the King School, found herself considering these questions as conference days grew near. Her solution reminded me of the answer to a riddle: once you see it, it seems obvious, but only after you rub the grit out of your eyes. She proposed engaging parents through their smartphones with an interactive bulletin board full of QR codes linked to videos.
Where is the tech in math classrooms?
Photo by Wes Fryer, CC 2.0
According to recent studies, math teachers, tend to integrate technology into their teaching less frequently than those in other disciplines(1).
What was at the core of these research findings I wondered? And what do we know about math classrooms here in Vermont?
Setting goals for summer learning and beyond
Welcome, Mill River Union! We are very curious as to what you guys are up to.
It’s Day 3 of the 2015 Middle Grades Institute, a gathering of more than 200 Vermont educators all passionately invested in technology-rich, student-centered educational change. And with the Act 77 deadline requiring a Personal Learning Plan for every student in Vermont grades 7-12 coming up in November, talk around personalizing learning and capturing evidence of personalized learning are at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
Let’s hear from four schools attending MGI about their engagement with the personalized learning process, as they spend their first week of summer planning for the coming year.
Inspiring collaboration between teachers, students and families
The free suite of tools through Google Apps for Education have certainly inspired collaboration and connectivity between teachers, students, and families. Christ the King School (CKS) recently started exploring the possibilities within the GAFE domain, and not being a 1:1 school, wanted to begin with a tool that could easily be used without individual devices. They leveraged Google Calendar as a professional and classroom tool; instead of just meetings and appointments, CKS decided to use Calendar as a way to think about student organization and student/teacher/family collaboration.
Christ the King School principal Angela Pohlen (l) shares a laugh with Tarrant Foundation executive director Lauren Curry at the official signing on October 2nd.
This past Thursday we officially welcomed Christ the King School, in Burlington, as our newest partner school. Professional development coordinator Meredith Swallow has been working with the faculty and leadership team for the past year on school transformation and technology integration, and we’re excited to be able to take this next step in the relationship.
Hear from Swallow on what we see in this school that we believe makes them such a fantastic choice for partnering:
Congratulations to Christ the King School!
As a result of the newly announced $5 million gift from the Tarrant Foundation to the University of Vermont, we’re able to continue to offer partnership slots to Vermont schools. Is your school ready to partner with us?