Evolving student roles in a big (BIG) PBL project

As Dorset’s coop dreams became a reality, students gathered new skills

real world project-based learningWhat does it look like to break one enormous project into several project-based learning units?

For Dorset students to go from dreaming about fresh eggs to actually building a chicken coop required two strategies: breaking the PBL into phases, and asking students to assume different roles along the way.

Let’s break down just how Dorset’s chicken coop project stayed true to its PBL roots and manageable for students and educators.

Continue reading

How to build up STEAM

Making time for making at Ottauquechee

makerspaces and project-based learningSTEAM — Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics — gives students the opportunity to create. To make. Maybe to fail. To try again! And to make something that improves a condition, solves a problem, or makes the world a better place. But if your school currently doesn’t offer a STEAM time, it can be daunting to figure out where to begin. And that’s where we pick up our story of Ottauquechee School, in Quechee VT, where we used Design Thinking, a portable makerspace and one amazing library space to figure out how STEAM Time could work at this school.

Welcome to Ottauquechee STEAM Time.

Continue reading

Reflecting on your PBL

How did it go?

take project-based learning to the next levelIt can be easy to end your project-based learning experiences with students in a big heap of exhaustion and miss the opportunity to reflect on the experience. There is so much to learn and gain from gathering your (and your students’) reflections.

But how do you do that? Let’s look at some ways.

Continue reading

Developing empathy for your community

Meet the Humans of Burke

community-based learning the humans of burkeSo many schools operate in isolation from the very communities they are situated in. Do your students know community members? Does your community see your students as young community members?

One small school in Vermont’s remote Northeast Kingdom interpreted the popular “Humans of New York” project to foster connection between their 8th graders and the town’s community. Meet the Humans of Burke.

Continue reading

Using student TED Talks to showcase learning

why digital composition mattersTED Talks are short, personal powerful storytelling. Now: how can students use this medium as motivation to learn, to explore their purpose, extend their perspectives and understandings, and develop strong storytelling and presentation skills?

Let’s find out.

Continue reading

Should Vermont host the next Olympics?

Manchester’s 6th graders weigh in… to their Selectboard.

Real World PBLTeams of 6th-grade students from Manchester Elementary Middle School researched this question and put their arguments to the town.

Should Manchester VT put in a bid to host a future Winter Olympics?

Continue reading

4 times to connect students with an authentic audience

How soon is now?

take project-based learning to the next levelLooking for opportunities to make real-world connections or bring an authentic audience to your students? Typically, a public presentation at the end of a project or unit provides this space for students to share with a wider audience.

But authentic audiences can be found at any stage of the work.

Continue reading

How to build a better (student-made) chicken coop

Applying NGSS to… chickens?

Real World PBLAt the Dorset School, in Dorset VT, the 8th graders know that fresh, farm-raised eggs taste amazing. The problem: their cafeteria cannot afford local, free-range eggs. So they asked: “What would it take to raise chickens at the school?”

And they used a combination of design engineering, technology and community partners to find out.

Continue reading

6 ways teachers are using Padlet

Virtual bulletin boards to go!

Tarrant Institute tool tutoriallsStaying organized as a teacher can be a major challenge. Between student work, teacher plans, sticky notes, school supplies it’s easy to get buried and overwhelmed! This can especially be hard in a personalized learning environment, where students are often working at different paces, with different resources.
But whether you’re leading project-based learning, genius hours, or makerspaces, Padlet is a great online tool for teachers. Think: organized digital sticky notes in a colorful, shareable fashion.

Continue reading

Kick off project-based learning with a community event

Hope launches in the Northeast Kingdom

real world project-based learningAs part of participating in the UN’s Global Goals, students at Burke Town School, in West Burke VT, kicked off their service learning projects by inviting their community’s leaders to come to the school and ask for what they needed. What would make West Burke a better place to live? And how could these students help?

Introducing “Project Hope”.

Continue reading