Reflect, celebrate and plan
Oh, the spring. Such a busy time for teachers.
There are all those transition meetings, already getting ready for the next year. Then there are placement meetings, figuring out who will be in what class, core or group. And of course, all those ceremonies, exhibitions, and spring events.
It’s easy to forget all of the progress you have made with your students and as a school during these times. And it’s easy to get frustrated and to focus only on what you have to do next.
Your class, your community and the progress your school has made matters. And they should be celebrated.
It’s where the learning is
It is easy to not plan time for reflection in project-based learning (PBL) because there is just so much DOING! The students are engaged, and it’s fun and hands-on, and everything moves pretty quickly. But for PBL to connect to learning targets and goals and transferable skills, frequent reflection needs to happen, and as we all know, this has to be deliberately built into the schedule.
So, what can this look like? Here are 8 methods for reflection in project-based learning.
My 2016 Summer Reading List
There are many thinks to look forward to as summer approaches. As an educator, I appreciate the calm I feel when school is out. You know that tense feeling thinking about what tomorrow’s class will be like. There is nothing like the first Sunday night when you realize you don’t have to be a teacher in the morning!!!!
I also look forward to a slower pace of life where I can stop adding items to my TO-DO LIST and finally start checking a few off. One of those things for me is my summer reading list.
The Six Question Framework for reflection
As the end of June nears and students take their final exams, clear out their lockers, and begin sleeping in until noon, teachers are gathering their remaining energy, and administrators are giving them space, to take stock of the year, celebrate the successes and challenges, and together learn from them.
But what’s the best way to assess technology-rich instruction and the 1:1 environment?
Scaffolding year-end reflections
At The Compass School in Westminster, Vermont, students advance through grades by producing evidence of their accomplishments from the year, using the previous year’s reflection to inform the current one. We had the chance to sit down with a student just finishing 11th grade at Compass, and hear not just about his Y.E.A.R. (year-end academic reflection) but how it’s going to prepare him for the all-important graduating Roundtable.
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Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be sea monsters
It’s summer and along with a lighter posting schedule for the month of July, I’m in need of some relaxing reading along with my reflection.
Also some removing of hex bug brains and replacing them with better brains, but that’s a different blogpost.
As all work and no play makes Jack take a job as a caretaker in a haunted hotel and hear voices tell him to pick up an axe, the Tarrant Institute does in fact endorse the taking of vacations. So without further ado:
Keeping your resolution to reflect
My colleague, Meredith Swallow, recently shared a post about the importance of reflection in her professional growth, which got me thinking. She points her readers to Reflect or Refract: Top 3 Tips for the Reflective Educator where the authors suggest “reading a wide variety of education blogs regularly exposes educators to new ideas and concepts. Transformational thinking occurs when conversations about these posts develop. New ideas that stem from blog posts provide alternate thoughts to consider.”
I couldn’t agree more. Here are a few tech-savvy math bloggers who you might want to engage with to inspire ongoing reflection.
This has been a very interesting week for me, trying to write a post for today. The task actually seemed pretty straight-forward. Audrey had passed along an app for me to take a look at: Monster Physics. A number of folks seem to be thinking about it from an education standpoint. At first blush I was put off by it, and wrote half of a pretty critical post. But every day that has gone by, I have found my position changing. It was a very interesting process, and a good reminder that when we try to think more laterally (a skill the game encourages) our understandings change. So today’s post is about Monster Physics, but its also about the importance of reflection in education, especially in a technology-rich environment where new apps, opinions, devices, and ideas come so fast it can be difficult to give them the time they deserve. Let’s take a look at the app. Continue reading
In September of 2009, Sarah, the 9 year-old daughter of our keynote speaker posted a 90-second YouTube response to President Obama’s speech to US students. This video “went viral” and currently has over 190,000 views. In May 2010, a 6th grader in our keynote presenter’s hometown attracted the attention of Ellen Degeneres with his YouTube remix of a Lady Gaga song. Greyson Chance is now a household name and national star with a record contract and his own manager. Join this session to discuss the issues raised by these two situations and lessons learned including Internet safety and digital citizenship responsibilities.
Very powerful reflections from 9-year-old Sarah Fryer and her father, educator and technologist Wes Fryer, on digital citizenship for students on video-sharing sites such as YouTube. This podcast captured their presentation, When Student Videos Go Viral, at the Mid-America Association for Computers in Education (MACE) 2011.
“It’s not that I feel smarter in learning, I feel smarter in everything.”
Tarrant professional development coordinator Meredith Swallow learning about batch processing files from a 6th grader at Essex Middle School.
Essex Middle School’s Edge team opened their doors to the community May 16th as one of three Innovation schools in Vermont. Students and facilitators discussed some of the projects they’ve accomplished and some of the things they’ve learned as part of this unique environment.
“I’ve learned things high schools seniors don’t know,” commented 7th grader Isaac.