The student-centered art classroom

Structures to support student artists

student-directed learning at The Dorset SchoolArt is “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination”. To teach children that expression or application sounds like a lofty endeavor. But that is exactly what art teachers do in our schools every day.

If art is the expression of creativity and imagination, then we need new models. Because art is about voice and originality. There is no right and wrong way to express your vision and creation.

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The crucial role of practice in a proficiency-based environment

Practice makes proficient

practice for proficiencyWhat’s special about a proficiency-based environment? Practice, that’s what.

I know, it sounded weird to me too. As a former math teacher, I thought of practice as the mind-numbing repetitive stuff that students had to do in order to attain fluency. Practice was for straightforward procedural skills.

But Sam Nelson, a social studies teacher at Shelburne Community School, has broadened my perspective on practice to encompass all formative assessment, including complex skills and concepts.

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Community Based Learning in Vermont: What’s going on?

4 lessons from a recent gathering

community based learningOn Friday, March 11, more than 50 participants from public and private schools, community education partners, and higher education from Vermont and the surrounding region gathered for a Community Based Learning workday, put on by Big Picture Learning, Eagle Rock School, Big Picture South Burlington, and Partnership for Change. This day of speakers, working sessions, and roundtable discussions brought together educators from different settings to “explore the possibilities, challenges, and resources of community-based learning in Vermont.”

A few folks from the Tarrant Institute were in attendance, and in this post we present 4 lessons about community-based learning in Vermont, gathered from the formal and informal discussions throughout the day. Continue reading

X is for eXtra credit

How does edtech affect extra credit?

how does edtech affect extra creditIs extra credit still a valid notion as we move towards ubiquitous learning, and grapple with questions of equity in education?

If the goal is anytime, anywhere learning, how can we quantify certain activities as eXtraneous to that learning space?

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Creating a self-paced Spanish class

Experiment with flexibility: tech + assessment

creating a self-paced Spanish classAt Edmunds Middle School, in Burlington Vermont, Sarah Wright is rethinking assessment to create a self-paced Spanish class. Students can re-take exams as many times as possible, and work towards proficiency as it’s defined in the real world; the ability to communicate is what defines mastery of the subject. A stellar example of experimenting with schedule/assessment/instruction changes to meet proficiencies.

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