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!
An experiment in student-directed, open-ended project-based learning
What if an entire school set out to maximize student engagement?
What if there were a school-wide commitment to loosening control and trusting students to do great things?
What if students were told that they could work for an hour a week on whatever they want with one simple rule: you must share something?
Organize research materials digitally and collaboratively
Tiffany Michael, from Crossett Brook Middle School in Waterbury, Vermont, describes how her use of Padlet evolved to eventually revolutionize the way that she teaches students to conduct research.
I love her story because it has something for everybody. In addition to practical and actionable advice for teachers who want to try to use Padlet, Michael also describes her journey in a way that is informative for coaches, tech integrationists, and administrators.
Check out these dynamic educators
Are you heading to sunny Burlington, VT this Monday and Tuesday (no really, it will be sunny and warm) for Vita-Learn’s Dynamic Landscapes? It’s a perfect opportunity to mix business with pleasure.
If so, check out our Tarrant Institute partner educators who are presenting! Feel free to store some of those ideas, haul them back to your classroom, and liven up these last few weeks of school!
What’s that you say? You haven’t created your conference schedule yet either? You do not have that sort of time to plan. Let us take care of that for you. Here’s your own personal schedule:
The Story of MakerSpace: A Rabbit Interrupts a Drowsy Day
The story of MakerSpace at Crossett Brook Middle School begins with two bunnies. The bunnies lived outside the library in a hutch built by our Sustainability students who loved the bunnies. Winter was coming… the bunnies needed to move inside. The sad turn in this story is that the bunnies were not able to stay. Being in cages in the library with many daily visitors caused them stress. So, once I found a happy home for them and they moved out… poof!
A space was now available…an empty table…no books on it…no piles…what was possible?