Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Book Club

School winded down a week ago.  I've relaxed, barbecued, brought the kids to the beach.  It's only June, but I'm ready to start thinking about next year and the changes that I would like to put in place.  During the school year I never have enough time to read books on the craft of teaching.  I've been waiting to get my hands on these books for a while. I’ve ordered the books and they should arrive while I’m at DP Summer Convening, so I have all summer to get through them.  I have a feeling that these books will be need to be read with a notebook in hand so that I can sketchnote my ideas right away.  

I've followed George Couros on Twitter for years now.  I've always been inspired by his commitment to create a collaborative teaching and learning environment.  On his website you can get a synopsis of each chapter of the book.  
The book will talk about the connections that we make with our students colleagues and administrators.    Next year my school will make more steps towards Personalized Learning Plans.  Couros also talks often on his Twitter feed and blog about helping students to find their passions.

This is the book I’m the most excited about to read this summer.  It seems to be rooted in so many of the teaching and learning philosophies that I have been working with over my teaching career: Constructivism, SAMR, Differentiated instruction and Student Centered learning.   It also really seems to align with the “Think like an Engineer” way of having students work with the content we are trying to teach.   There is ton of information on Spencer’s Website about Design thinking and you can see the outline for Launch here.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Virtual Field Trips

I'm always looking for opportunities to make connections for my student outside of our community. This fall the librarian and I launched series of "Lunch and Learn" experiences for our students.  We tried to find as many free live webinars that we could.   We then invited our students to come into the library about once a month with their lunch to learn about something new and exciting.

Here are some of my favorite places to find distance learning opportunities for my students:

We did two live webinars this year.  The first was a live video chat with starts from The Martian movie and NASA experts.  The focus was NASA’s 2030 mission to Mars.  This was very high interest for our students as many of them had read the book over the summer and were very excited to see the movie.  

The second one we took part in was a little above many of our students level, but I was really impressed with the level of engagement. The main presenter spoke about the growth of protein crystals on the International Space Station. This investigation is critical to understanding human disease and developing new treatments.

In addition the Air and Space museum has a series called STEM in 30. The next one will be on May 11th @ 11:00 and 1:00 EST.  The focus of this one is the design of Helicopters and the history of Vertical Flight.  

The focus of these webinars is to broaden our student’s knowledge about what the Peace Corp does and the countries that they work in.  We participated in the Geography of Islam webinar this past January.   On camera were returned volunteers and current volunteers from  The Gambia, Morocco, and Indonesia.  The current volunteers often have very spotty internet, so the biggest struggle with these webinars is spotty connections - but it’s worth it for the information.
The Webinars on the Peace Corps website are also recorded to watch later.  

The Center of Interactive Learning and Collaboration is an amazing resource.  If you click on Content Providers (the saturn) you can search the massive database of the hundreds of Museums, Zoos, Aquariums etc from all over the world that offer content.  We have been very lucky in Vermont that we can access a statewide bank of funds in order to participate. But many of the Content Providers offer deeply discounted prices for schools with over 50% free and reduced lunch students.   

In past years we have invited our community in and connected with an Aquarium in the Great Barrier Reef of Australia.  We had a scuba diver in a tank chat with our students while they asked him questions about the reef and shark tank.  

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Friday, May 23, 2014

Edmunds Middle School 1:1 Program

The way students learn in schools is changing.  Students at Edmunds Middle School talk about the 1:1 Chromebook program and how their education has been impacted.  From projects to homework to how assignments are graded  life has changed for middle school students.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Edmunds students & educators presenting with community partners at state conference

If you're one of the many folks planning on attending Dynamic Landscapes 2014, the annual state-wide conference for Vermont's education scene, be sure to check out Edmunds students and educators! They're presenting at this year's conference.

Kathy Gallagher, Carole Renca and their students will be presenting "Creating a 21st Century School-wide Reading Community" Thursday at 1:30pm in conjunction with Geoff Gevalt, from the Young Writers Project.

Friday morning, Laura Botte and her students will be presenting "Project-Based Learning with ARIS: Engaging Students by Pairing Authentic Game Creation with Real-World Learning" with BSD technologists Valerie Lodish, Kevin Grace and the Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education. This is a hands-on session, so if you're planning on attending, please bring a laptop, netbook or Chromebook if possible.

Congratulations to both the educators and students for taking this opportunity to share their experiences at this level!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Contemporary Issues in Africa

By Brent Truchon

EMS Infinity Social Studies classes spent the better part of 3 weeks researching issues related to a contemporary issue in Africa that they feel passionately about.  There were 6-7 assignments leading up to the culminating project which was a PSA on their issue.  Upon completion, students were asked to reflect on the learning process and to create a website which captured their learning and "take aways" from the unit.  

Further, a couple of students actually did videos which captured the making of their PSA.  In short, dozens of tools, sites, and skills were used by students to glean information and put together their final products.  The final products capture the kind of learning that takes place in a 21st Century Classroom.  What was most exciting is that every student had a final product-in short, the assignment appealed to a diverse array of students and learning styles. 

Below is a cross section of websites.  Each has PSAs, assignments, and reflections are embedded on each of the sites.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Hunt Middle School cares about copyright

"The reason people should care about copyright is because if the creators know their work is protected, they'll share more of it, which gives more inspiration to the users looking at the work."

In partnership with public access station RETN, Hunt Middle School educator Kathy Hevey and her class share why they care about copyright.