Video reflection + social interaction
The role of feedback and reflection are key strategies in best middle level practice for students and educators alike. Finding engaging ways for this exchange to take place in meaningful and relevant ways is, for many of us, a challenge.
Who let the dogs in?
For some students, being ready to learn when they arrive at school is a big ask, and more than a few carry trauma or mental health burdens through their day. And that’s why more and more, schools in Vermont are adding therapy dogs to their staffing rosters.
And they’re seeing some pretty pawsitive benefits to the arrangement.
Launching a new project cycle with inspiration from the last one
Organizing your realia — testimonials, storytelling and artifacts — from a round of projects can feel overwhelming. So much footage! So many interviews! So many ideas!
Resist the freakout: here’s a recipe for pulling your footage together to inspire a new cycle of learning with lessons from the previous rounds.
A new recipe for Personalized Learning Plans
Rather than trying to get students to care about existing PLPs, some schools are revamping their PLP process to start with what students care about. They are asking students to pursue their passions by crafting projects based on their personal interests and deepest curiosities.
The new recipe that is emerging: start with a cool personalized project and then build the PLP around it.
Making math real-world relevant
Would you tell the school board how to redesign your school? Students at Shelburne Community School, in Shelburne VT, did just that.
They were tasked with redesigning the school’s outdated “kiva” space. Using Google Sketch-Up, they created three different designs for renovating the space, and presented those designs to a panel of local architects, and their school board.
Making as evidence of transferable skills around Vermont
During the past year, EMMA has visited schools around Vermont to fuel the conversation about maker-centered learning.
As we reflected on each of EMMA’s visits, we continually noticed that maker centered learning provided evidence of students applying cross-disciplinary transferable skills.
The #everydaycourage of being seen
Take the iconic back-to-school prompt for students — what I did on my summer vacation — and give it a twist. Imagine how students might respond to the prompt What I think my teacher did on summer vacation.
A lot of us wish other folks knew how hard we work during summer: the workshops, the team planning time, the reflection, the resource-gathering. So a lot of us should share out all the work we’re doing.
Let’s look at four ways Vermont educators are sharing their practice.
Choose Your Own Adventure
In Sam Nelson’s classroom, students choose what they learn, and how. Through the use of learning scales and targets, Nelson sets guidelines for students to demonstrate proficiencies in whatever they choose to study. Between the two systems — flexible pathways and proficiency-based learning — students negotiate a curriculum that keeps them engaged and satisfies their curiosity about the world around them.
How does it all work? Let’s take a look.
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.
How do you explain PBL to families?
The popularity of Project-Based Learning (PBL) has grown significantly with teachers and students, but what about parents? When students walk out of school, do they communicate their excitement about PBL to their families?
Let’s look at some resources for helping parents understand why PBL is so engaging for students.