4 ways to help middle school students organize their tech

“Where did I put that cord? My computer is dead!”

help middle school students get organized with their techHow 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.

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3 visualization exercises for proficiency-based learning

Outcomes, process and automaticity

proficiency-based teaching and learning in VermontI worked with a group of teachers this summer to re-think goal-setting with their students. We know it’s a key component to developing Personalized Learning Plans (PLP), but students reported little engagement in following through on and reflecting about their goals.

In our attempts to think differently about goal-setting and reflection, we decided to approach goal-setting as a visualization exercise. Each of us set a learning goal for ourselves and experimented with visualizing the end result of those goals.

So how can this work for students?

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4 ways to begin using scales for assessment

Getting started assessing proficiency

proficiency-based teaching and learning in VermontSchool 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.

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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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F is for Family Communication

The ABCs of edtech with the Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education

4 edtech tools for family communication

How can technology help make communicating with your students’ families easier? These 4 edtech tools for family communication offer different ways to open the door to your classroom and welcome families inside.

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iBook Authors at Harwood Union Middle School

Be your own Hero

iBook Authors at Harwood Union Middle SchoolUsing the free iOS Shadow Puppet app, I created this brief look at an amazing unit designed by one of our partner educators, Jonah Ibson, at Harwood Union Middle School.

Ibson challenged his students to write their own “hero’s journeys” using the iBooks Author software. By taking ownership of the Hero’s Journey narrative, students are encouraged to create e-books that place them in the hero’s role. The resulting e-books will have a chance to be housed in an elementary school library, and read out by librarians to younger students.

Check out these amazing iBook Authors at Harwood Union Middle School, in Moretown Vermont.

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Too much good stuff: a wealth of reading and curation resources for the classroom

The technology cannot thwart us, it can only make us stronger

Susan Hennessey, professional development coordinator

I talk with my hands.

As many of you are aware, I was out at Harwood Union High School this past week for the Washington West Supervisory Union (WWSU) inservice day, armed to the teeth with iPads, apps, and tips and tricks for integrating technology into the classroom in a thoughtful, comprehensive and device-agnostic way.

Well, Harwood’s wi-fi network took one look at my plans and passed out cold, a victim of shock and awe, I’m sure!

As I have no wish to cause the wi-fi further damage, let me present all my resources to you here in the pages of our very own Tarrant Institute blog.

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4 ways personalized learning plans are taking off in Vermont

Educators are embracing digital tools for planning and sharing

4 ways personalized learning plans are taking off in VermontPersonalized learning plans, or PLPs, are non-traditional pathways by which students can navigate from entrance to graduation in a way that’s personally meaningful. By studying topics they’re passionate about, students continue to stay engaged; by collaborating on the plans with educators and family, students’ passions can be translated into real-world learning that oftentimes exceeds standards for learning.

But where do digital tools fit into this conversation?

With all schools in Vermont being required to begin implementing PLPs for grades 7-9 by 2015,  let’s take a look at 4 ways personalized learning plans are already taking off in Vermont.

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