The power of documentation in meaningful learning

Exercises for an LMS

year-end reflection tools and activitiesThis past spring, a small group of Stowe Middle School students gathered to help their teachers and peers solve a problem. As students worked on independent interest projects, they periodically reflected on their learning. All were interested in finding ways to make this reflection meaningful, for both students and teachers.

But what does meaningful reflection look like? And how can we scaffold exercises that create meaningful reflection?

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“Who are we as West Rutland?”

Community exploration builds connection

community-based learning the humans of burkeWhat happens when you ask your students what they want to learn about and how they like to learn, then you turn them loose on a three-day self-directed series of projects generated from their ideas? Teachers at West Rutland School recently found out.

(Spoiler alert: it’s harder, fun, and more engaging than regular school days!)

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How to make a mini-documentary

Getting from footage to finished

videos to showcase content area learningYou’ve captured video of ALL THE THINGS.

You’ve diligently trained your device on the action as some truly amazing work has gone down in your school. You’re excited to have a video you can share with families, with the school board and add to your PLP portfolio.

So… now what?

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Students blogging for an authentic audience

Getting connected: online & with community members

student-led short story unitWhat if there was a way to spend less time grading your students’ writing, while also providing a valuable writing experience for them?

What if there was a way to bring interested, wise community members into your classroom on a regular basis?  I think I discovered a way: student blogs with readers from the local community.

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4 ways to jazz up a school exhibition

Going beyond the gallery walk

community based learningExhibition season is upon us!

And as you’re making ready to throw open the doors of your school and welcome in the community, let’s look at a handful of ways to jazz up any school event: by planning your capturing in advance, making interactive takeaways, going off-campus(!) or setting up a digital guestbook.

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When students share their work, it deepens the learning

Lessons from an exhibition

These days, I’ve been thinking about the reasons we ask students to share their work. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the connection that a public exhibition provides for parents and community. But as I wrote that piece, some other ideas were percolating in my brain about what happens when we share our work with others.

And then I got to experience those ideas for myself.

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Why host a whole-school exhibition?

Providing an arena for powerful family feedback

sharing STEAM projects with familiesSchool exhibitions take work. They take work to organize, schedule, promote and pull off, and they can feel overwhelming from the teacher side. But they also provide a very specific opportunity for students to stand proudly next to the results of all their hard work and say, “Yes. I did this.”

And that can be the best time and place for families to hear the pride in their student’s voice.

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Telling a complex story through imagery

The power of metaphorical thinking

year-end reflection tools and activitiesA picture can speak a thousand words and convey a complex concept that text on its own can’t quite manage. And the act of crafting them is a powerful way to synthesize understanding.

How would you create a visual whose goal is to capture the complexities of personalized learning?

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5 online resources for teaching current events

Tarrant Institute tool tutoriallsWhen things get tough, the tough use tools.

Whether you’re actively trying to embed current events in your curriculum or helping your students respond to the headlines, here are five useful tools to help you wrangle news in the classroom.

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How making supports integrative and informed thinking

Makerspace learning at Proctor Elementary

makerspaces and project-based learningIn this final post of our series on how maker-centered learning can help students develop transferable skills, we take a look at Integrative and Informed Thinking.

During EMMA’s visit to Proctor Elementary School, in Proctor VT, the potential for maker-centered learning to support students’ integrated and informed thinking really came to life. Once again, the Design Thinking process was used to guide the making, providing a structure within which students could build knowledge and systematize their thinking.

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