Get organized, then get tech
Many of your current — or future — collaborators teach at other schools around the state or world. But when you’ve got a great idea for collaboration, don’t let distance stand in your way. Let’s look at this example from three Vermont schools on how to plan, manage and support one unit run across three different schools.
(Hint: tech helps. A lot.)
Personalized, proficiency-based PBL or bust
During a faculty meeting in late December of 2016, educators and staff talked about the need to provide personalized learning options for students at their small, rural Vermont school. They wanted do so in a way that honored the students’ need for passion-based, independent projects, as well as the desire of the faculty and staff to provide structured supports.
But what could that look like in action?
3 ways to plan for PBL 2.0
You’ve dipped your toe into project based learning. You’ve planned an entry event, shared a high quality driving question, managed student teamwork, created scaffolds, and helped students finish a meaningful project to present to an authentic, engaged audience!
Whew! Well done.
But we know you. We know you’re a total rockstar and you and your students are already looking ahead to your next PBL cycle. So many problems to solve! So many ideas to toss around, and so much excitement from the feedback your community gave students on their work.
While your next PBL idea’s a-percolatin’, take time to reflect on these three key areas, and take project-based learning to the next level.
Outcomes, process and automaticity
I 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?
There is no tired like teachers at the beginning (or end) of the school year are tired. Establishing routines, procedures, community and trust takes time and lots (and lots!) of energy.
How can you create classroom routines and norms so the class feels safe, comfortable, happy and ready for learning? Here are eight ideas.
A twitter showcase of amazing Vermont schools
Wish you could see more of the innovative ways Vermont students and educators are changing learning? Have difficulty finding a full year to travel around the state?
Let twitter help. With @ThisIsVTED.
A tech-rich case study from rural Vermont
The team from Hazen Union Middle School, in Hardwick, Vermont, conducted an action research project over the fall semester of 2015, centered around deepening students’ connection to their community. They called the unit “I Belong”.
It provided students with tech-rich opportunities to engage with the small and rural community of their town.
Revisiting the possibilities of student-created geographies
The 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.
Is joy in learning an innovation?
Recently, I was charmed and inspired upon seeing a first grade student’s take on setting goals to improve healthy habits on the Franklin West Supervisory Union blog. I shared this student photo (at left) with a group of teachers during a goal-setting and reflection workshop. They all smiled, especially after I asked them to think about what evidence this student might gather and share to demonstrate she has met this resolution.
Wouldn’t we all love to see that collection of “demonstrated joy” from all of our students? Of course, that would require us to create “joyous” learning opportunities or at the very least honor students’ joyous learning where ever it takes place.
How are educators and students tackling PLPs around the state?
Vermont’s Act 77, the Flexible Pathways Act, mandates that every student in grades 7-12 statewide have a Personal Learning Plan or PLP. And that’s about the extent of the instructions. As to how this can be accomplished?
The field is wide open.