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.

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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.

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Having the hard conversations in Southern Vermont

It takes a village to talk about substance abuse with students

The 21st Century Classroom podcastLondonderry, VT-based non-profit The Collaborative is in its 14th year of “Refuse to Use”, a substance abuse-prevention program that creates community conversations about alcohol, tobacco and drugs.

They base their curriculum off hyper-regional data and depend on community members — parents, educators and students — telling them what to talk about next.

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How can students reflect on their PLPs?

Students themselves tell the best stories of their learning

how can students reflect on their PLPs?We wish we could hand you the one right way for students to reflect on their personal learning, on a silver platter. It sure would make the rest of the year a lot easier, right? But there are as many ways for students to reflect on their PLPs as there are students, so the best we can do is show up with these SIX SPECTACULAR STUDENT EXAMPLES.

Roll tape!

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Screencasting for a student-led conference

Using technology to help family communication go more smoothly

screencasting for a student-led conferenceThis week on the podcast: Rachel Mark traveled to The Dorset School, in Southern Vermont, to talk with educator Mandy Thomas and her 6th grade students, about how their move to student-led conferences started with screencasting.

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Screencasting as PLP reflection

Students create screencasts for student-led conferences

screencasting as PLP reflectionSixth graders at The Dorset School in southern Vermont are in their second year of working with Personal Learning Plans (PLPs). These exuberant adolescents have fond memories of one experience. Last year, these students were paired with teacher Amanda Thomas. Mid-way through the year of working with her students on PLPs, Mrs. Thomas realized that their PLP work was falling flat; she had to do more to involve them.

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