4 ways to make math more relevant

Banish the stigma: you are not bad at math. Math is bad at you.

real world project-based learningWe can move math beyond worksheets and imaginary word problems. Let’s quit making math about sharing made-up apples, fishes or shoes.

Let’s tie math to the real world: real problems for students to solve, what’s going on around them, and how students learn. If you’re trying to save the world, you’re not gonna let a little math get in the way, are you?

Here’s 4 ways to make math more relevant for students and for teachers.

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How to use Google Docs so students talk to you

Using technology to help build relationships

#everydaycourageRemember when you were in middle school? How awkward did you feel, asking a teacher for help with everyone else watching?

Well #everydaycourage is a two-way street.

Laura Botte, 6th grade math educator at Edmunds Middle School, in Burlington VT, shared with us how she’s been using Google Docs to encourage her students to open up about what’s going on in their lives, and how that affects their ability to be present in the classroom. This is how you can use Google Docs so students talk to you.

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Profiles in Educator Excellence: Laura Botte

Recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math & Science Teaching

presidential award for excellenceLaura Botte, a 6th grade math educator at Edmunds Middle School in Burlington VT, was one of four recent recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching from Vermont.

We’ve been lucky enough to partner with Botte as she constantly innovates new visions of student-centered, tech-rich middle school education.

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Assessment in Proficiency-Based Classrooms

3 examples using blended learning

assessment in proficiency-based classroomsLet’s explore how some Vermont teachers are shifting their instruction and assessment practices to move all students toward proficiency. Three different educators have changed the way they assess proficiency in their classrooms. Each has created a way for students to have control over the pacing of instruction and have included students in monitoring progress and growth, using a blended learning environment.

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3 types of videos for showcasing content areas

Structures & examples for student filmmakers

videos to showcase content area learningMany students love working with video. Students can create videos for any subject to show specifically what they’re learning, how they spend their time and to demonstrate proficiency. But it’s not always obvious how you, as an educator, can help students see the connection to  specific content areas.

Let’s take a look at some examples and think through how to scaffold students in sharing their work.

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Interactive map tools for creating deeper place-based learning

Revisiting the possibilities of student-created geographies

Tarrant Institute tool tutoriallsThe rate at which technology changes has reached a dizzying speed, with new tools and platforms emerging constantly. But what hasn’t changed is students’ curiosity about the world and their need to explore their own place in it. Young adolescents in particular, burn with the urge to make and personalize. So what does it look like to tap into that urge as it pertains to physical landscapes?

Yes indeedy, folks, it’s time once again to talk place-based learning and edtech.

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W is for Weekly Geek Podcast

Creative ways to share learning opportunities

creative ways to share learning opportunitiesTeachers at Lamoille Union Middle/High School learn about the latest tools and resources available to them in a unique and engaging way.  Marc Gilbertson, the Integration Specialist and Meagan Towle, the librarian, carve out 20 minutes in their busy schedules to get together and crank out a short video podcast series called the Weekly Geek to share available resources.

Check out this week’s entry demonstrating three tools to encourage visual and audio engagement in learning.

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L is for Learning Management System (LMS)

What can you do with an LMS?

what can you do with an LMSLMS stands for Learning Management System. An LMS is an application for planning, delivering, managing, and assessing a learning process.

Likely, your school or district will choose which commercial LMS package to deploy (Canvas, Haiku, Schoology and Google Classroom are a few), but how you use it is entirely up to you.

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I is for Identity

3 tech-rich strategies for exploring identity with students

identity in PLPs

“Who am I?” is the question at the heart of the adolescent mind. Almost all challenges, tests, and dilemmas relate to the central theme of identity.

Young adolescents seek to find answers to questions like, “Where do I fit in?”, “What makes me different or special?” and “What do I believe?”

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Hack your classroom: flexible physical learning environments

Flexible learning environments have a physical component — and effect

responsive physical learning environments

CC BY 2.0: “Old school desk” by flickr user SandtoGlass, cropped. Original image here: https://www.flickr.com/ photos/ericabreetoe/ 7371020342/

Do you recognize the object at left?

Does it look like a comfortable learning environment for a student? Does it look like the type of learning environment a student would choose for themselves?

OF COURSE NOT, and because you are all such passionate and committed educators, you started shaking your heads the minute the image loaded. You’ve worked hard at banishing these ancient things from your rooms.

But here are some ways educators can make their physical classroom settings more flexible and responsive to student learning needs.

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