Trust the Science: Using brain-based learning to upgrade our educational OS

Spoiler alert: When we adjust learning conditions to be more in sync with the known laws of brain-based learning, learning improves. Momentum builds. Trust the science For 15 years I’ve been helping Vermont educators and school systems apply what we know about the brain to inform what we do in our schools. And for 15 … Continue reading Trust the Science: Using brain-based learning to upgrade our educational OS

Voices Heard: learning from our students

 In the past few months, we’ve been meeting with groups of students from six Vermont schools, asking them about their experience this year. What might next year look like if they had a say? Inspired by the Imagining September Project –the MIT Teaching Systems Lab  & Harvard’s Graduate School of Education that gathers student input … Continue reading Voices Heard: learning from our students

#vted Reads: Community Schools Blueprint with Kathleen Kesson

In this episode, we welcome author, educator, and Vermont transplant Kathleen Kesson who talks about Community Schools Blueprint: Transforming Our School Community Partnership. Kathleen and I talk about the possibilities we see for widening the cracks in traditional schooling by building opportunities for students and communities to support one another in authentic, real-world ways.

#vted Reads: Brave Like That

Are you wear-your-mask-in-a-pandemic brave, listeners? Or get-vaccinated-when-needles-scare-you brave? On this episode of the podcast, we’re joined by Vermont author and educator Lindsey Stoddard, who’s here to talk about her new middle grades book, Brave Like That. We’ll talk about the many different kinds of brave you can be, along with how students know that tiny … Continue reading #vted Reads: Brave Like That

How to have difficult conversations in the classroom

It’s not you; difficult conversations are a lot right now. While it’s fair to say that the history of the world consists of “being a lot” at regular intervals, right now is a moment where multiple unlikely catastrophes have collided, exposing deep rifts in conventional society. A lot of people we know and love hold … Continue reading How to have difficult conversations in the classroom

4 tales of outdoor education in Vermont

  What does outdoor education and place-based learning look like right now? One of the recommendations from leading health officials is to conduct classes outside. But what if you’ve never done that before? What if you could use some pointers? How are other educators tackling this topic? And why should we keep taking students outdoors, … Continue reading 4 tales of outdoor education in Vermont

#vted Reads with Kate Messner

I’m Jeanie Phillips and we’re back for a third season of vted Reads! Books by, for and with Vermont educators. Kicking off this season we’re joined on the show by author and former teacher Kate Messner. Kate’s here to talk about how we can use books about some dark topics as conduits to reach students … Continue reading #vted Reads with Kate Messner

#vted Reads: Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson

I’m Jeanie Phillips and welcome to #vted Reads, we are here to talk books for educators, by educators and with educators. Today I’m with Meg Falby and we’ll be talking about two books by Laurie Halse Anderson: Speak, and Speak: The Graphic Novel. We’ll also be mentioning Shout, Laurie Halse Anderson’s memoir in verse. Lovely … Continue reading #vted Reads: Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson

#vted Reads: Dive Into Inquiry

Welcome to another episode of #vted Reads! We’re so glad you could make it. In this episode, we talk with librarian Margi Putney, from the Burr & Burton Academy, down in Manchester Vermont. She and I read Dive Into Inquiry: Amplify Learning & Empower Student Voice, by Trevor MacKenzie. Don’t those two things sound amazing? … Continue reading #vted Reads: Dive Into Inquiry

#vted Reads: The End of Average

Today on the show, we’re going to talk about The End of Average: How to Succeed in a World That Values Sameness, by Todd Rose. We’ll be joined by Emily Gilmore, who teaches world history at South Burlington High School, in South Burlington Vermont. But first, a few words of background for today’s show. In … Continue reading #vted Reads: The End of Average

#vted Reads: Dreadful Young Ladies, with Sarah Birgé

Listeners: how do you talk to your students about the special love that exists between a woman and a Sasquatch? Or between an insect and a robot-powered building? And where and how do you determine which texts are appropriate to give to students? On this episode of the podcast, I’m joined by Sarah Birgé, a … Continue reading #vted Reads: Dreadful Young Ladies, with Sarah Birgé

#vted Reads: Place-Based Curriculum Design

This episode is all. About. QUESTIONS. Why are we here? Who was here before us? What kinds of stories do we tell about the world around us? And: how can we change from seeing the world as something to be studied, to something that can be acted upon …and changed. First-year educator Thierry Uwilingiyamana  — … Continue reading #vted Reads: Place-Based Curriculum Design

On the cutting Edge of student-centered education

What would you do if you were given the time and space to create a school where students could tell you exactly what and how they wanted to learn? Where they arrived cheerful and excited with boundless energy for the school day… And what if I told you it was grounded in the most powerful … Continue reading On the cutting Edge of student-centered education

Using protocols for equity

So, maybe you’ve been using protocols at faculty meetings or professional learning community sessions.  Perhaps you’ve found that they make space for all voices in conversations about proficiency-based education.  Or you like how they foster collaboration as you work together to structure personalized learning plans.  Know what else they can do?  Support us as we … Continue reading Using protocols for equity

Sam Nelson’s Bright Spots & Belly Flops

What’s the plan? Here’s a quick reminder of my focus question for this year’s Learning Lab: How can social justice be a lens for personalized, student-designed curriculum? Here’s how — at this moment anyway — I would adjust the wording of my focus question: How can students use social justice as a lens for designing … Continue reading Sam Nelson’s Bright Spots & Belly Flops

#vted Reads: Protocols in the Classroom, with Terra Lynch

Welcome back to #vted Reads! Now, I recorded this episode back in September out in San Antonio, at the School Reform Initiative’s Fall 2018 meeting. Author Terra Lynch was kind enough to chat with me about her book for the podcast between sessions. Recording spaces were kind of hard to come by at the conference, … Continue reading #vted Reads: Protocols in the Classroom, with Terra Lynch

Voice + choice = a better math classroom

Start by listening to students Elizabeth Tarno asked her students for feedback about their math class at the end of 5th grade. Then she did something incredible: she completely redesigned her classroom to address what students asked for. Elizabeth teaches both 5th and 6th grade math (and science) at the Warren Elementary School. She spent … Continue reading Voice + choice = a better math classroom

One mural, multiple legacies

Beyond the Passion Project: Clara wanted to do something amazing for her final Brainado project. She wanted to push herself and leave a “remembrance,” as she called it, commemorating the sustainability program at her middle school. She envisioned painting a Crossett Brook mural on the newly constructed, pristine greenhouse. She only had one small problem: “I have no artistic ability.”

But she went for it.

She found a partner, a community mentor, and unexpected help. She made mistakes and fixed them. And she worked far beyond the project period, up until the last week of school. The mural is amazing to look at but has impact far beyond the visual. Clara thought she was painting her legacy but she was also expressing the legacy of the educators who cared for her.

Continue reading One mural, multiple legacies

Green Mountain’s Wilderness Semester

Take student learning outside

Wilderness SemesterStudents at Green Mountain Union High School demonstrate learning in Science, Social Studies, Health, and Language Arts over the course of a semester. But for one group of students, there are no barriers between subjects, no bell schedule, and no borders on their classroom.  Much of their learning happens out of doors, either in the 200 acres behind the school, on the Long Trail or in other outdoor locations.

Welcome to Wilderness Semester.

Continue reading Green Mountain’s Wilderness Semester

The #everydaycourage of sharing our work as educators

3 ways to de-privatize our practice My first teaching job was in the library at a large, open-concept elementary school in Howard County, Maryland. The library was the hub of the school. During my classes teachers, administrators, and para-professionals walked freely in and out of the library, occasionally stopping to watch our progress. And it … Continue reading The #everydaycourage of sharing our work as educators

Making history on the radio with community partners

Middle school students power Brattleboro’s radio days Brattleboro, Vermont was incorporated back in 1753, a former military fort that embraced trading, commerce and the power of nearby Whetstone Falls to spur mill production. It was where Rudyard Kipling settled to write The Jungle Book, and where Harriet Beecher Stowe came to seek the famous 18th … Continue reading Making history on the radio with community partners

Student-made geology games

Putting a human face on science storytelling Lava flows down the halls of Main Street Middle School, in Montpelier, Vermont, and you must choose whether you’ll go with the flow or try to cool off somewhere and become an igneous rock. In another portion of the school, you’re the new kid, getting a tour from … Continue reading Student-made geology games

ARIS @ Echo

When last we left our trusty Edmunds Explorers, they had just defeated a horde of geometry-loving aliens who’d invaded the school, demanding triangles, circles and trapezoids. After that adventure, the two classes of 6th graders took to the streets of Burlington. Lake Street, to be precise, which led them down to the Echo Lake Aquarium … Continue reading ARIS @ Echo