Seeing failure as iteration
A trio of students at Crossett Brook Middle School, in Duxbury VT, have spent the past two years building a go-cart. When their first cart snapped in half on its maiden voyage, the students took that incident as a challenge, and the next year, they figured out what had gone wrong, and better yet, what would make it go right.
And the results have to be seen to be believed.
The #everydaycourage of being seen
Take the iconic back-to-school prompt for students — what I did on my summer vacation — and give it a twist. Imagine how students might respond to the prompt What I think my teacher did on summer vacation.
A lot of us wish other folks knew how hard we work during summer: the workshops, the team planning time, the reflection, the resource-gathering. So a lot of us should share out all the work we’re doing.
Let’s look at four ways Vermont educators are sharing their practice.
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.
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.
It’s a movement, not a moment
Every 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.
For exit tickets, student support & action research
Using Google Forms and Google Sheets together can streamline your process and make all your tasks feel just a little more manageable.
As an educator, it can be a bit overwhelming trying to keep all your different data streams organized, not to mention the finding the time to analyze and interpret that data! Let’s take three examples of how Google Forms can cut down on your paperwork flurries.
Community conversations about education
What would you tell your neighbors about your school? What do you think they’d say in return? The Washington West Supervisory Union has set out to find out, by hosting a series of community conversations.
Life LeGeros, a Tarrant Institute professional development coordinator and WWSU community member, is taking part in those conversations, and sharing out what he learns.
Student-led conferences are for students
Student-led conferences are a key strategy in personalized, student-centered educational practices.
And they’re even more important and potentially powerful in a proficiency-based system.
Getting started assessing proficiency
School systems in Vermont and elsewhere are in the midst of a shift to proficiency-based learning. At the early stages, this transformation can feel overwhelming even for educators, even if they’re excited by the idea.
Where to start?
Start with scales for assessment.
Introduce a student-centered tech-rich year
Looking for ways to explore digital identity with students? Here are 4 student-centered, tech-rich digital identity exercises for working with students. As a bonus, all the exercises produce media that students can add to their digital portfolios. Let’s watch!