The student architects of Shelburne VT

Making math real-world relevant

real world project-based learningWould 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They were tasked with redesigning the school’s outdated “kiva” space.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.

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The Maker Movement and transferable skills

Making as evidence of transferable skills around Vermont

makerspaces and project-based learningDuring 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.

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4 ways Vermont educators are sharing their practice

The #everydaycourage of being seen

#everydaycourageTake 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.

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Flexible pathways in proficiency-based learning

Choose Your Own Adventure

practice for proficiencyIn 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.

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Take Project-Based Learning to the next level

3 ways to plan for PBL 2.0

take project-based learning to the next levelYou’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.

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4 Project-Based Learning resources for parents

How do you explain PBL to families?

project-based learning resources for parentsThe 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.

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Idle-Free Vermont in Shelburne

8th grade scientists tackle carbon emissions at a busy traffic circle

community based learningThis past year, Shelburne Community School middle grades students took part in Idle-Free VT‘s ongoing efforts to reduce carbon emissions from idling cars near schools.

The students’ outreach efforts led to a 79% measured reduction in carbon emissions at the school’s traffic circle, while an unanticipated response from drivers led the students to initiate a change in the study’s protocol.

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Negotiated curriculum at the unit level

Set boundaries, then let students drive the conversation

negotiated curriculumNegotiated curriculum is the idea that you can assemble a curriculum for your class by entering into negotiations with your students: you, as the teacher, have certain non-negotiables or standards you need students to meet, and students tell you what or how they want to learn. That’s a huge concept, and impossible to wrap your head around without seeing it in action.

Social studies educator Sam Nelson shares how he implemented negotiated curriculum in his classroom, beginning by tackling just. One. Unit.

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Will we see you at Dynamic Landscapes 2016?

Check out these dynamic educators

Dynamic Landscapes 2016Are you heading to sunny Burlington, VT this Monday and Tuesday (no really, it will be sunny and warm) for Vita-Learn’s Dynamic Landscapes? It’s a perfect opportunity to mix business with pleasure.

If so, check out our Tarrant Institute partner educators who are presenting! Feel free to store some of those ideas, haul them back to your classroom, and liven up these last few weeks of school!

What’s that you say? You haven’t created your conference schedule yet either? You do not have that sort of time to plan. Let us take care of that for you. Here’s your own personal schedule:

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Interactive map tools for creating deeper place-based learning

Revisiting the possibilities of student-created geographies

Tarrant Institute tool tutoriallsThe 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.

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