Community Based Learning in Vermont: What’s going on?

4 lessons from a recent gathering

community based learningOn Friday, March 11, more than 50 participants from public and private schools, community education partners, and higher education from Vermont and the surrounding region gathered for a Community Based Learning workday, put on by Big Picture Learning, Eagle Rock School, Big Picture South Burlington, and Partnership for Change. This day of speakers, working sessions, and roundtable discussions brought together educators from different settings to “explore the possibilities, challenges, and resources of community-based learning in Vermont.”

A few folks from the Tarrant Institute were in attendance, and in this post we present 4 lessons about community-based learning in Vermont, gathered from the formal and informal discussions throughout the day. Continue reading

Sugaring and the community part 2: Students become teachers

Science Saturday, with Tarrant Institute research fellow Mark Olofson

Last week we looked at the sugaring operation at Essex Middle School. The students at the Edge Academy built a sugar house a few years ago, and now they produce maple syrup for their school every year. Math teacher Phil Young has intertwined the project with his mathematics curriculum, and students use iPads to support their work. By sugaring, students are engaging in the culture of their community in an authentic way. Today, I would like to share with you how these students have taken the project a step further. Not only have they learned how a sugaring operation works, they have shared that knowledge with local elementary students. This spring, The Edge invited two different classes of third graders out to the sugar house. The younger students engaged with sugaring and the math involved; the Edge students instructed them along the way, building their learning and community in the process. Continue reading

The Weather and Vermont

Science Saturday, with Tarrant Institute research fellow Mark OlofsonIn Vermont, in the winter, we talk about the weather. A lot. Perhaps this is due to our agrarian roots and realities. Maybe it is an extension of how we look for each other. Or maybe it’s because it is really, really cold. Mars cold. Whatever the reason, it is a very common topic for discussion. Which makes it a great entry point for a STEM-centered lesson, unit, or project. And conveniently, there are a number of weather apps that serve as a great way to collect real-world data. Today we are going to consider bringing the weather into your classroom, or, perhaps, taking your classroom out to it.

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Making the most of twitter in your classroom

making the most of twitter in your classroomTwitter’s not just a great way to build your PLN as an educator, it’s also a powerful tool to connect students with the world around them in very unique ways. But how can you make those connections authentic learning experiences?

Let’s look at making the most of twitter in your classroom.

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Student documentary: “The Merge: School Consolidation”

Montpelier’s U32 students did an amazing job crafting this documentary about school consolidation issues in Vermont. A fantastic example of using technology to engage with community issues. Highly recommended.