Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Project Based Learning: Engineering Edition

This blog post is from U-32 science teacher and PLP Pathways contributor Alison Gauthier.

On the Global Studies end, learners focused on various countries and policies in place to combat climate change. They learned about how the GDP of specific affected countries influences the policies people in the country are able to carry out. Learners also researched countries in the Global North versus the Global South and looked at the disparities in GDP between countries CAUSING the climate change and the countries BEING affected.

On the Earth Science end, learners engaged in scientific concepts around types of radiation received from the sun, the greenhouse effect, and the specific mechanism at play to increase the temperature of the planet.

After learning (and demonstrating understanding) about the general (and minor specific details) related to the greenhouse effect, learners were put in small groups of two or three persons. Each group was a country the learners had been exposed to during the Global Studies portion of the unit. Each country/group was awarded the GDP stated for that country. Each group had to research the specific climate change problems affecting their country, and brainstorm various solutions to each problem. Ultimately, each country chose one problem to focus on, and were charged with finding one feasible solution that they could model. T

he goal was that this model would show how that particular solution would lessen the effects of that problem. Each country had "their GDP" to use to buy materials to model their solution. Materials at the back of the room in the "supplies corner" each had an associated price. Costs of the materials were inflated to better represent the cost to make that sort of model on a larger scale. As examples, paper was $100 a sheet, a paperclip was $20, and glass beakers were $1,000 each.

Go to this site to learn more about the Earth Science unit plan and science concepts within the unit.

The solutions that learners came up with were of a great variety. Each solution had to be testable; that is, the solution had to produce a set of data. This set of data was analyzed and used by the countries to ultimately "show" that their solution produced favorable data. When countries tested a solution, they were able to determine if that specific solution did in fact produce data. If the solution wasn't data producing, or the data didn't support the expected or hoped hypothesis, the group revised the solution and re-attempted the trials to see if the revisions were favorable for the solution.

As a specific example, one country/group was assigned Bangladesh. Bangladesh's GDP is small so they sent representatives from the group to speak with USA and Germany to get outside funding. Once a donation amount was determined, it was approved by me if both parties were present and able to shake on the transfer of funds. Bangladesh's problem (as one of the results of climate change) was flooding. The solution the country chose was to make the "ideal home" to combat that problem. They designed a home on stilts that had certain unique features that would secure the stilts in to the ground and collect rain water into the home. They designed specific measurements for the home based on demographic information they collected about the people of Bangladesh. They added up the costs to make their model, and once they realized that the fundraiser enabled the construction, they built the home on stilts. They tested the home with two conditions; soil in the base and rocks in the base in order to determine the efficacy of their solution.

Here is an image of the "ideal home" for Bangladesh that they constructed to mitigate the effects of climate change that are specific to that country:

During the testing process:

Countries were given guidance as the process continued. In most groups, there was a natural delegation of responsibility based on each learner's abilities and interests.

In one group of three, for example, the group decided that one person was ultimately responsible for the design and construction, one person was responsible for the finances and data, and the third participant was responsible for pulling all items together into the presentation. In other groups, facilitation by the teacher was required to enable the ninth grade learners to each have a significant role in the project and outcomes.

Class-wide check-ins occurred at the beginning of class (75 minutes long), and then groups were free to work on their design, construction, testing and revisions as they pleased. Here is the engineering process diagram that the countries and I often referred to when discussing the progress of the solution and steps moving forward:

Each class, I would conference/check-in with groups individually. After approximately a month of group-led class time, each country presented to the class. The presentations themselves did not contribute to their overall proficiency scores for the unit (or weren't required I could say), but some students were actually able to demonstrate their proficiency on one or more of the scales through the presentation. Other learners demonstrated their proficiency to me DURING the actual group work and process. Other learners didn't yield evidence during the country process or during the presentation; those learners met with me or re-performed in a more traditional manner. Here is the cover sheet from this unit. The proficiency scales used to give learners feedback on their progress are within the cover sheet.

Following the presentations, learners received SUMMATIVE feedback on their learning up to that point in the unit. They were able to ask questions about the feedback and make plans to move forward. At that time as well, they added one or two products to their Personalized Learning Sites (PLSs) and reflected on their progress over the unit. They were allowed to choose any "products" to embed in the site. Some embedded images of their solution/design that they tested; others put a link to a Google sheet where they managed and analyzed all the data from their solution.

While learners worked on their sites, I met with students individually to conference about their learning during the unit and make steps moving forward for the students who needed to reperform. Prior to this unit, I would simply hand back summative feedback. When doing this, I would find that there was often confusion or questions that individuals would have for me. By discussing the feedback during a conference, learners felt more comfortable to ask questions and make an action plan moving forward (either for reperformance within that unit or goals for the next time they worked in a group or with a similar set of skills).

I was curious if the conferences was a more meaningful way to receive feedback, so I polled my three ninth-grade sections of Earth Science. These are the quantitative results from the polls. After each quantitative-yielding question, a qualitative question was asked.The qualitative information from the students included ideas going forward and why they preferred the student-led conferences or not.

Overall, the feedback was in favor of student-led conferences as the way to receive summative feedback following a unit. The conversations during the conferences were rich; in fact, some learners were able to quickly demonstrate that they knew something during the conference that hadn't been expressed during the group presentation or group work.

Friday, May 19, 2017

On Outdoor Education: Emphasize the Process

Today's blog entry is from St. Michael's graduate student Michael Boyd, class of 2018

Have a conversation with anyone who went to a middle school in the States. I bet it won’t take too long until you find that it is generally an uncomfortable time in one’s life. This notion of apathy and emotional unrest in middle school is not unusual when people are asked about their experiences.
Why is that?

During middle school, students are in their formative years in terms of cognitive, physical, social, romantic and spiritual development, change is hard, especially when it’s all at once. According to the 2013 Gallup poll on school engagement, 45% of students in this age range were disengaged in traditional school-based learning.

It's hard to blame the students!

Their entire world is changing through them, and having been exposed to the same process of education for the past seven (or so) years, they grow apathetic. This is disheartening news to any middle grades educator, but a multitude of evidence suggests implementation of outdoor educational activities can combat this apathy. Educational academics, Joan K. James and Theresa Williams argue in their paper School-Based Experiential Outdoor Education that the Invisible Child (their term for a student who shows apathy towards a curriculum of only traditional learning processes and who tends to be lost in the flock of their peers) benefits greatly from outdoor education that can  improve critical thinking skills and lead to  leadership positions amongst their classmates.

James and Williams lobby that outdoor education, especially during one’s formative years, is crucial  to leveling the educational field for the invisible child. Clearly, adding another environment in which  students can  learn provides  additional student learning dispositions  to be accessed, which can benefit a student who falters in more traditional environments.

Examples of this expansive method of education can be seen in programs such as the Willowell Foundation of Bristol,Vermont, or the Chadwick School of Palos,California. These outdoor schools emphasize self-dependency in a supportive setting, exhibiting results that show graduates who are emotionally stable, personally strong and functioning at high cognitive capacities.

These dispositions are invaluable for a student who is transitioning from the middle grades into high school in order for them to make quality decisions in a time when their choices carry more weight and influence.

Here is a great video of an Oregon Outdoor School!

I see outdoor education as a crucial push-back against the ever narrowing lens that modern education seems to be viewed: curriculum emphasizing test preparation. The standards-based, test-taking approach de-emphasizes the elements of personal and active learning that can come to fruition through outdoor education.

With this "modern", narrowed curriculum in place, students fall into the statistics of the aforementioned Gallop poll. This type of narrow education promotes a type of preparation for college/career and pushes the active and experiential learning down the road for the pupils. This fundamentally goes against the philosophy of John Dewey when he articulates that “Education, therefore, is a process of living and not a preparation for future living”. Outdoor education is exactly what Dewey proposes, in that it is education through living, not in preparation for it.                                                                                                  
In more appropriate terms for a discussion of outdoor education, Dewey is proposing that the “trail” is the experience, not just the destination. Author, Robert Moor evokes much of this philosophy in his etymological book “On Trails” in which he argues that in our modern society of airplane travel and the zeitgeist of point-A to point-B, we lose sight of the process- our lives shouldn’t be a series of destinations, but  many intertwined trails in which we are continually immersed.

This is an apt  metaphor for our educational system as a whole (but crucially important at the middle-grades level). We are far too concerned with the tests and the destinations of learning and far less empathetic to students’ need to wander the trails. Education suffers from this lack of adventure and experience because it  emphasizes  results not the experience. In the words of John Quay of The University of Melbourne, “We need to have an emphasis on the outdoor education process rather than content”.

If one truly considers the possibilities of utilizing the outdoors as a pathway to learning- such as discussing the ecology of local watersheds through the procurement of sediment core-samples as a class, discussing the atomic arrangements of shale while observing rock formations, or discussing the words of Thoreau while wandering the trails of a local forest- it is seemingly apparent that learning can truly be augmented by the addition of the natural environment into classes.

Link To Annotated Bibliography

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Authenticity: One Key To Success

This post is from PLP Pathways contributor Maura Kelly, teacher at Peoples Academy Middle Level in
Morrisville, VT.

“Why do we have to do this?”
“Ugh...Reflections? Didn’t we reflect last week?”
“What is the point of this?

A few years ago, these would be common phrases heard in our teacher advisory when asking students to work on their PLPs. The challenge: we did not give students authentic, self-directed learning space within our schedule to work on their PLP and personal goals. We had 20 minutes, twice a week, dedicated to our social emotional curriculum and to having students set goals, reflect and put evidence on their portfolio sites. I can vividly recall the challenges that I would face week after week asking some of my students to reflect on personal goal progress and time after time, the student not having evidence to support or demonstrate their work toward that goal.
PLP work time was in place of student recess and it felt like there were always other school events competing for time and attention. One of the big challenges with our use of dedicated PLP time last year was that we were asking students to set personal and academic goals around the transferable skills, and then not providing, or honoring, a space and a framework for them to build these skills and accomplish their goals outside of the content areas. This created an unfair situation for our students by not providing necessary supports for students.  It made it especially difficult for students who were already struggling with self direction and those who lacked the involvement of parents to keep the student on track to meet goals outside of school.  

Old Schedule
New Schedule
8:00-9:20 Humanities
9:20-10:00 Literacy Intervention Block
10:00-10:20 Teacher Advisory
10:20-11:20 Science
11:20-12:20 Math
12:20-1:00 Lunch/Recess
1:00-2:00 Exposition (Unified Arts)
2:00-2:45 Expert class or Math Intervention (Teacher facilitated elective class)
8:00-8:20 Teacher Advisory Morning Meeting
8:20-8:45 Academic Time (small group intervention call back time)
8:45-9:40 Exposition (Unified Arts)
9:40-10:35 Humanities
10:35-11:30 Math
11:30-11:50 Recess
11:50-12:25 Literacy Intervention
12:25-12:50 Lunch
12:50-1:10 Humanities part 2
1:10-2:05 Science
2:05-2:45 Opportunity Time

Now, with our new flexible schedule, every student gets 45 minutes of self-directed, supported learning Opportunity Time every day. We have students participating in a wide range of activities including: taking online high school courses, developing choreography and teaching a dance class for younger students, and starting a Geography Bee.   
By providing students with intentional opportunities and experiences, as well as the support to collect evidence and reflect on growth, our PLP time has been transformed. Now, I have students who are most engaged in school at Opportunity Time, partnering with teachers, working on meaningful self-directed projects, feeling empowered, and providing evidence of achieving their personal goals.
We honor their time and although some students are on their 4th or 5th personal goal or project, we are giving time and space for them to truly personalize and take ownership of their learning. Now, when we reflect with students, we know that we have honored this authentic learning need and all students can reflect on their growth every week.
One student's evidence of working on their goal around drawing and shading during Opportunity Time with guidance from the Art teacher

As we have shifted to proficiency based learning, we have moved our practice to incorporate student's reflection on their learning progress before, during and after building the skills to meet the learning target in their class. We have been intentional about giving students time while learning to reflect and archiving their reflections on both Blogger and Schoology to capture their thinking and curate their work.
We use this as a way to get feedback from the students and also develop space for us to give feedback around the student’s growth towards the learning target. This renewed focus on reflection has become a critical part of the learning process. We also take time in class to have students put evidence of their learning on their portfolios and thereby capture the growth narrative growth behind the proficiencies.
Another focus on authenticity this year has been giving the portfolio an authentic audience. Just last week we had an upper house portfolio showcase where we had the whole upper house, all 7th and 8th grade students at Peoples Academy Middle Level, set up their portfolios and present to other members of our learning community. We had students receive feedback on their Opportunity Time projects and goals in an effort to help refocus the learning and to serve as a meaningful place to showcase their growth.
We also invited high school teachers and administrators to come and view the portfolios in order to start building relationships with our current 8th grade students, who, in a few short months, will be entering high school. We were able to utilize our flexibility within our schedule this year to support student preparation in three key areas. First, in preparation for for the portfolio showcase, students were provided the aforementioned Opportunity Time to gather evidence for their portfolio. Second, during teacher advisory time, students were able to receive feedback from advisory partners. Finally, academic time was utilized to support proficiency-based reflection writing.      
We have spent time this year sharing student portfolios within our team, but I am always reminded by students of the importance of sharing beyond our team. All of the students really focused and worked hard trying to get their portfolios ready knowing that our 5th - 8th grade students and teachers, as well as high school teachers, would be the authentic viewing audience bringing meaning and purpose to their work.  
Students viewing giving feedback at the portfolio showcase

Looking toward the end of the year we have been seeking additional authentic audiences for our students to share. In a few weeks we will have several students from all the Peoples Academy Middle Level teams join with middle level students from Stowe to collaborate on their portfolios. The hope is that we start a partnership between the students that we can carry over for multiple years, creating opportunities for them to work together in person, and also to collaborate digitally, fostering the collaborative spirit between both teachers and students within our supervisory union around the shifts in practice implementing Act 77.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Building Youth-Adult Partnerships Through Feedback

Written by Tevye Kelman of Randolph Union High School, this post originally appeared in UP for Learning’s Winter Newsletter and is being reposted here with permission. You can learn more about Unleashing the Power of Partnership for Learning (UP for Learning) at their website linked here.

“Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other.” — Paulo Freire

When Youth and Adults Transforming Schools Together (YATST) surveys at Harwood Union and Williamstown High Schools revealed students and teachers had diverging perspectives on key issues, teams at both schools drew the same conclusion: strengthening the student-adult feedback loop was crucial.

Helen Beattie, UP for Learning’s Executive Director, says these discrepancies fit a trend she’s observed in the nine years she’s been supporting student-faculty teams to conduct research about student engagement: “Teachers believe they are providing ongoing feedback to students about learning and adjusting instruction, and students do not report the same perceptions. There is a ‘puzzling gap’ between student and teacher viewpoints of this critical aspect of the classroom experience.”

To close this gap, Harwood and Williamstown YATST teams have been working on tools for students to give constructive mid-semester feedback to their teachers. In order to maximize input and buy-in from their student and faculty peers, teams at both schools conducted more surveys, and presented data and design proposals for further input, before piloting the new feedback systems.

Mary Schell Whalen, Director of UP for Learning and YATST mentor, led a faculty meeting at Williamstown last year connecting John Hattie’s research with the the school’s effort to increase student achievement through the student-teacher feedback system. At Harwood, “students have taken the lead in rolling this out to the faculty,” according to language teacher and YATST co-advisor Marcus Grace. When Williamstown piloted its new mid-semester student-teacher feedback system last year, the response was largely positive. Kate Mascetti, a junior who chairs the school’s YATST group, thinks most students “took the feedback forms seriously because this was their opportunity to get their voice out there.” She also cites faculty support as key to the success of the pilot.

Even before the rollout, when Kate and other YATSTers presented a draft of the feedback form at a faculty meeting, teachers were “really on board. They backed us up.” Colleen Sheridan, a junior and veteran YATST member, reports that teachers are incorporating the feedback but acknowledges that there may be “limits to how far they can adjust their classes.” As faculty co-advisor Brooke Nadzam reminds them, though, it’s only the first year. “The more feedback cycles the school goes through, the more it will become more a part of the culture, and the more the dialogue will effect change.” Harwood’s four-year experience with student-teacher feedback systems suggests Brooke is right.

After two pilot years when administering the surveys was voluntary, the YATST-designed mid-semester feedback process was adopted as official school policy last year. YATST co-advisor Ellen Berrings says that although most teachers opted into the process, “student government felt it should be more than voluntary, so they took up the cause as the governing body for students and took it through the process of becoming law at our school.”

All teachers are now expected to administer the surveys, reflect on the data, and take action based on the feedback. The survey also includes a student self-assessment section which reinforces the sense of partnership among students and teachers in improving the learning. One thing is clear from the work of these two YATST teams: strong youth-adult partnerships in school are built on a foundation of healthy dialogue and robust data.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Project Based Learning and the Three Pillars

Screenshot 2016-07-01 at 11.29.56 AM.png

Project Based Learning and the Three Pillars of Personalized Learning

This blog post is from from Kevin Hunt, a contributor to PLP Pathways and teacher in the Swift House, Williston Central School.

We’re officially over halfway through the school year and teachers and staff at WCS are fully immersed in the PLP process and Proficiency Based Learning. These have been two huge initiatives that been met head on in our district (as well as state wide) and I think it is fair to say that most feel much more confident at the halfway mark than they did at the onset of the school year.

I strongly believe that a specific pedagogical practice and philosophy has eased the transition for many teachers: learner- centered project based learning. Project based learning is certainly not a new buzz phrase or huge paradigm shift. Three years ago, Debbie Donnelly, a current Swift House teacher and Julie Longchamp, a retired Swift House teacher (who was also a founding member of Swift House and taught on Swift for over 25 years) co-authored an article, published in AMLE, about Swift House’s approach to project based learning and its place with the Common Core State Standards, which were relatively new at the time.

As I now read the article through the lens of the three pillars of personalized learning, I am struck by the themes and connections that were written about over three years ago and how relevant they are in today’s shift in education. Themes such as student choice, engagement, authentic learning, relationships, collaboration, and flexibility, are all at the forefront of this article.

As teachers, we are bound by time and curriculum expectations. Whenever the question comes up about what teachers need more of, it is always time. When are we going to have time to do this program? How will I have enough time to work in PLPs when I have to get through all of these books in my math program? Should I commit more time to planning for lessons or assessing student work? I’m certain that we’ve all felt and heard at least some variation of these.

This seems to be the show-stopping question of any new initiative in education, yet regardless of the lackluster answer that teachers receive to these questions, they still hunker down and do their very best work for one reason: the students. We know, as frustrating as days may be, that the work we do is making a difference. One day, we may have a lesser impact on a student, but the next, we may be opening a door for another student and providing a lasting impact that will influence the rest of that child’s life.

It’s no surprise that students engage more in their work when they feel that they are valued and feel a personal connection to what they are learning. Project based learning provides an opportunity for authentic engagement, personalization, and flexible pathways to demonstrate mastery of a skill.

In their article, Debbie and Julie explain, “We have district curriculum expectations, a stipulated math program, and district-wide common assessments, but how we structure our learning experiences to address the curriculum is left up to the teams of teachers.” We are fortunate in WCS to have such trust from our administration as professionals that allows us to structure our learning experiences to best meet the needs of the students as well as the curriculum.

This allows us to partake in many team wide project based experiences including:
  • Independent projects- students choose a topic, complete thorough research and present out to community members at an open house.

  • Swiftville-a team wide economics simulation that involves students writing business plans, learning about tax, balancing a checking account, and ultimately creating a live and functioning business in which they make and sell tangible goods to younger students using “Swiftie” money.
  • Rube Goldberg project- students work in small groups to complete a working Rube Goldberg machine with at least ten steps with the end result of popping a balloon, or dropping a mento into a cup of cola.

  • Theater unit-completely student led- students direct, act, work the light and sound board and make props/sets for two plays, one of which is a Shakespearean comedy every year.

There are countless content-based projects that occur throughout the school year as well that give students an opportunity to have a voice and authentic audience. As I stated above, project based learning isn’t a brand new concept and the majority of teachers are utilizing project based ideas in their classrooms every day. I was blown away at the most recent MGI conference in Burlington as I listened to a plethora of teachers from schools throughout the state discuss different ways that they are engaging their students with personalization and flexible pathways through the use of engaging projects. Now, in the age of Act 77, it’s important that we recognize the best teaching practices that we already do and draw connections to the three pillars of personalized learning.

I’ll leave you with a quote from the late Al Myers, who was also a founding member of Swift House. I believe that his words about his vision for our team will both resonate with and apply to educators worldwide:

“It is my hope that public schools will be places where children learn who they are as learners, to celebrate difference and uniqueness, to develop skills in challenging settings and in accordance with the best research on how the human brain learns, and where interpersonal problem solving and understanding is as central to the learning process as is personalized intellectual development.”

Monday, February 20, 2017

5 Steps To Re-Energize Personal Learning in Your Classroom

This post is from PLP Pathways contributor Maura Kelly, teacher at Peoples Academy Middle Level in
Morrisville, VT.

Walking through the halls at school it is clear we are in the thick of it. We are past the start of the school year marathon to the holidays and are settled into our classroom routines, working hard to keep our students focused as we look toward spring. Here are five tips to re-inspire and engage your students with the PLPs:

  1. Give them an Authentic Audience - This is a great time of year to connect with other classes or across teams within your school and have students share their goals and growth to give feedback. This gives an additional audience for your students and creates opportunities for student to student partnerships and feedback around goals and growth.  Think about creating a regular meeting between the partnerships and give them a structure to reflect together.

  1. Keep Parents in the Loop -  At Peoples Academy we have our second round of parent teacher conferences in early March. This is a great time for students to show their growth over the course of the school year on their portfolio. We have them showcase their academic growth towards meeting the proficiencies and also their growth towards meeting their goals. At this point we have students adjust and set new goals for the remainder of the year. If you don’t have parent conferences now, think about how you can create opportunities where students are communicating with parents. At the Edge Academy they have students write Friday letters to share their learning and growth over the week.

  1. Genius Hour - It can feel like February is the month where you say the word goals around middle level students and they instantly tune you out. Try to get students involved in a personal interest project. This can be a way to build a relationship with students while also having them work on their growth and collection of evidence towards the transferable skills. It can be a fun way to break up the time between February and April breaks.

  1. Encourage Students to Branch Out - By February we have a good understanding of our student’s strengths and goals. This is a perfect time to try and connect students with the next challenge. For example, I have a student who had been working on goal learning how to make origami. I connected them with the director of the afterschool program and they are now leading a class teaching other students this new skill. It is also a great time to connect students with community partners or teachers in the building who may be able to mentor your student and help them reach their goals.

  1. Start Thinking About Next Year - This is a time to start thinking about the transition to next year. Can you find a time for students to sit with their teachers they will have next year to share their portfolios? Can you hook in the guidance counselors from the high school to view the portfolios?

These are just a few ideas to re-energize your personal learning activities and to get students focused on goals, growth, and reflection. Try some of these ideas to keep the learning environment fun, flexible, and productive.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Practitioner Perspective: Weaving Goals, Reflection, and Transferable Skills into the Curriculum

This week's blog post is from regular contributor Lindsey Halman, founder and teacher on the Edge Academy Team in Essex.

Each Monday on the Edge Academy Team at Essex Middle School, we have a full team meeting, called Gathering Meeting.  This meeting serves a number of purposes - it builds community, it provides opportunities for youth leadership, it’s fun, and most importantly it is the opportunity to share the Edge Goals for the week.  These goals guide our work and provide our learners with a clear vision of what they can expect for the week.  

In order to ensure we support our learners in understanding what it means to have self-direction and communicate clearly and effectively, we ask that they share their weekly goals with a parent/guardian or trusted adult on Monday (see Link to Goals Memo Template) and write a reflective email to that same adult(s) on Friday (see Link to Weekly Reflection/Letter Template).  These opportunities allow us to ensure that there is clear communication between home and school and that our students are taking responsibility for their learning.


Examples from Students:

VT Transferrable Skills:
Self Direction: Take initiative in, and responsibility for, learning.
Clear + Effective Communication: Demonstrate Organized and Purposeful Communication.

Notes on Goals
Steps to Completion for the Due Date
Clear and Effective Communication
  • Share notes about goals with parents by end of Monday.
  • Filling out table.
  • Friday email home due Friday.
  • Share doc with parents on Monday.
  • Sharing follow up due Friday.
Future Projects
  • Develop two driving questions that will guide project work and research.
  • Share evidence on Protean
  • Due date: Friday 1/13
  • Listen in class about driving questions.
  • Develop quality driving questions.
  • Post evidence on Protean.
  • Due FRIDAY!
Civic and Social Responsibility
  • Field Trip on 1/13  Friday  (Patin Libre)
  • Watch video by 1/10 Tuesday be prepared for Humanities.
  • Flynn Teaching Artist on Thursday
  • Bring layers for Friday
  • Watch video about Patin Libre on own time before Tuesday afternoon.
  • Bring layers on Friday.
  • Possibly sign up to lead future gathering meetings.
  • Post evidence on Protean about one or more goals
  • Post on Protean 2 Humanities Goals.
  • Post 2 Driving Questions
  • Create a reflection
  • Post the evidence about the various goals.
  • Write a reflection
  • Unit planning and Goal Setting Google Form DUE TUESDAY
  • Launch new unit
  • Choose new book groups
  • Flynn teaching artist
  • Fill out Google Form
  • Submission DUE TUESDAY
  • Prepare for performance on FRIDAY
  • Windmill packet DUE FRIDAY
  • Detailed response paragraphs typed up on Google Docs
  • Fill out packet in math class.
  • Type up detailed response paragraphs.

****This week is PROJECT’S WEEK****
In order to meet my goals this week, I will….
Work hard, have perseverance, and  put in 100% effort
I might need support with…
Driving questions
Thanks for looking over my notes and I will inform you of my progress on Friday!

Examples of Friday Reflections - Weekly Letters Home

Dear Mom and Dad,

This week has been a successful week for me because I completed all of my weekly goals. For the Edge weekly goals, I completed everything except the posting of evidence to Protean (Which I am about to do as soon as I finish this letter.) I created my two driving questions for my yearly project this week. My project goal for next week is to really get into the research and take a lot of notes. In Physical Education, we got split into two groups : Basketball and Weightlifting. I, fortunately, got put in the group that starts with weightlifting. One highlight from the week was the fact that we started a new unit in Humanities and we are going to have book groups. I am really excited to know which book I will be reading. One goal for next week is to get a good grade on my algebra midterms.

Dear family,
                    This week has been a fun week for me. We finished our windmill task which was great to learn the engineering design process and how to build things on Tuesday we heard a speech from a teacher that went to Cuba she told us about the way they live and how it is very hard to try to make it to america and how different are schools are. In projects we are creating driving questions for our future projects. My highlight of the week was today we went to go see Le Patin Libre, they are a ice dancing group that defies ice dancing stereotype this show was very unique and I'm glad that I got to experience it. My goal for next week is to learn something I never knew before.

 Sincerely, Natasha

Dear Mom and Dad,

This week has been pretty busy, with Paige and I making our flan and going to Micaela's to work on projects. This week we also worked on writing our driving questions to help lead our project research. After finishing those, Micaela and I used a directory of LGBTQ staff at UVM (given to us by someone who visited the Edge team named Erin) to find some possible people to interview for our book. We can hopefully start drafting next week. Something else we'd like to do is meet up after school on as many Wednesdays as possible to get some extra work done.

In DTE, we've finally finished constructing our car and we've timed it on the track. It made it to the other end in about 10 seconds, and we're working to make it go faster.

In Spanish, our flan went great! Some people found it too sweet for their liking, but Senora Psaros said it was perfect. I also feel like the presentation in itself went well.

Ms. Wager (she does lessons for the woodwinds) gathered everyone in districts to practice yesterday.

One highlight from this week was making the flan with Paige. That was fun.

One goal for next week is to set up some meeting dates to interview at least one of the people that responded to the emails Micaela and I set up. We'd have to get some help from Phil and Lindsey to do that, though, and we'd also have to create some questions.

See you later!