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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Peer collaboration on PLPs

Peers partner on portfolios

peer collaboration on PLPsStudents at two Vermont schools have begun working together as “Portfolio Partners” to curate evidence, reflect on their growth, and prepare to share their learning with a wider audience.

Here’s how it works.

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Tracking proficiencies in Schoology

3 ways Schoology supports sustainable Proficiency-Based Learning

tracking proficiencies in schoologyA learning management system (LMS) can be used to manage classroom workflow, create self-paced differentiated units, and collaborate within or across classrooms and schools.

As teachers in Vermont and elsewhere grapple with how to create proficiency-based learning environments, they are looking for new strategies and routines. Let’s explore some of the features of the Schoology LMS particularly suited to proficiency-based learning.

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How can students reflect on their PLPs?

Students themselves tell the best stories of their learning

how can students reflect on their PLPs?We wish we could hand you the one right way for students to reflect on their personal learning, on a silver platter. It sure would make the rest of the year a lot easier, right? But there are as many ways for students to reflect on their PLPs as there are students, so the best we can do is show up with these SIX SPECTACULAR STUDENT EXAMPLES.

Roll tape!

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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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Proficiency-based teaching and learning in Vermont: who, why and how

Two examples of implementing proficiency-based scales of learning

proficiency-based teaching and learning in VermontVermont educators and their students are on a journey. Let’s look at how one school is implementing proficiency-based learning in a way that ensures all learners have the opportunity to thrive.

When we clearly articulate learning targets both for and with learners, the end is clear to all and learning can proceed along a progression with multiple opportunities for demonstrating growth and mastery. 

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Cross-school goal-setting for PLPs

Motivating students around goals by connecting schools

providing support for goal-setting in a PLPMany Vermont students have worked hard this year establishing personal and academic goals as an important part of developing Personal Learning Plans (PLPs).

But when we speak with some of them or listen to teachers reflect on the process and progress, many share the need for additional motivation to keep these goals and their achievement active and present.

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Managing time in blended classrooms

Shifting the way we manage time to personalize learning in a blended space

blended classroomsIn my former professional life, I had the pleasure and the challenge of managing a large high school library media center. An irony of the job, one that made me smile and cringe, was the volume of the bell which rang every 42 minutes to signal transitions. The speaker in my library was broken and for whatever reason none of us could figure out how to turn it down, so at eight 42-minute intervals throughout each day, a jarring, disruptive, and impossible-to-ignore screech blared.

In a space meant for reflection, quiet and focused learning, deep dives into inquiry, this interrupter literally felt like chalkboard nails reminding us our schedule boxed us in. I share this story because in my quest to consider how access to technology can support personalized learning, I have been interested in how pacing and timing play a role in middle level classrooms.

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Vermont Fest 2015

Heading to the slopes for Vermont Fest

Vermont Fest 2015The lifts are open, but the lure of first tracks is not what is prompting educators from across the state to head to Killington this week. Vermont Fest will be in full effect on Thursday and Friday and educators will be eagerly awaiting the opportunity to exchange ideas and practices around PLPs, goal setting, gamification, student-led conferences and the list goes on.

We are especially proud of our partner educators who have been selected to present at this year’s Vermont Fest.

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Serious PD fun with Chatterpix

“Candy apps”, or how to have fun and still learn anyway

how to have fun and still learn anyway

 

During a five minute reflection, if a student is given one minute to find a picture and mark the mouth, then he or she still has four minutes to try to come up with something interesting to reflect about. So this is four minutes more than they may have spent if they were asked to just write, or required to use a tool that they weren’t that interested in.

–Life Legeros

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