Reimagining Assignments

Real Challenges — In Every Sense of the Word

From Allison: Authenticity is powerful when it is thoughtfully combined and connected. This is the story of West Windsor Plainsboro, New
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Real Challenges — In Every Sense of the Word

Seven Keys to Creative Collaboration

This blog was originally posted on spencerauthor.com. To hear more from John Spencer, you can also listen to his podcast,
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Seven Keys to Creative Collaboration

A High School Student Team’s Award Winning PSA on Opioid Use: “The Cork Board”

The creative collaboration demonstrated by a group of high school students in Madison, Conn. is so powerful … by design. High
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A High School Student Team’s Award Winning PSA on Opioid Use: “The Cork Board”

Using Essential Questions to Engage Student Inquiry

The key to teaching for understanding is to foster ongoing inquiry into important "big ideas." A natural way to actively
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Using Essential Questions to Engage Student Inquiry

What Does It Mean to Reimagine Assignments?

The heart of personalized learning is the daily assignments we design with students.

This category showcases how teacher-leaders reimagine existing assignments or generate new ideas. Each assignment ideally is designed to:

  • Create opportunities for students to personalize the idea, inquiry, or challenge
  • Focus on what matters — provide diverse opportunities rich with feedback to practice, problem-solve, make sense of important concepts, knowledge and skills
  • Use authentic genres or forms to demonstrate learning — application of learning that has value beyond the school walls
  • Network with peers, experts, community to seek information, get feedback, or share ideas

Real Challenges — In Every Sense of the Word

From Allison: Authenticity is powerful when it is thoughtfully combined and connected. This is the story of West Windsor Plainsboro, New Jersey’s focus on measuring what matters according to their mission statement by providing an annual opportunity for 8th grade students to tackle some of the thorniest global challenges in a self-directed manner. The power of the experience lies in students navigating not just the complexity of the global challenge but also leveraging their voice...

Seven Keys to Creative Collaboration

creative collaboration

This blog was originally posted on spencerauthor.com. To hear more from John Spencer, you can also listen to his podcast, The Creative Classroom with John Spencer. I'm not a fan of group work. I have vivid memories of doing "team projects" where I completed various tasks while other members disappeared. As a classroom teacher, I preferred to plan alone, dreaming up projects and planning out units in isolation. I am comfortable in my own mind...

A High School Student Team’s Award Winning PSA on Opioid Use: “The Cork Board”

The creative collaboration demonstrated by a group of high school students in Madison, Conn. is so powerful … by design. High school teacher Luke Arsenault created an opportunity in his Intro to Video course for students to tackle conveying metaphorical ideas, while maintaining video quality, with the hope that they incorporate them into the Public Service Announcement. "I was so proud of one of my groups, they were determined to find an effective metaphor for...

Using Essential Questions to Engage Student Inquiry

The key to teaching for understanding is to foster ongoing inquiry into important "big ideas." A natural way to actively engage students in such inquiry is to use a few Essential Questions (EQs) to frame a curriculum unit. The explicit use of EQs sends a powerful signal that learning something deeply is about making meaning, not simply the acquisition of factual knowledge and discrete skills. More specifically, the deliberate use of Essential Questions: makes it...

Student Portfolios: the Narrative of Learning

One of the seven elements of personalized learning we describe in our book Students at the Center: Personalized Learning With Habits of Mind is a Cumulative Demonstration of Learning. As designers, we ask the question–– how do we create opportunities for students to show evidence of learning over time? So often, we focus on the moment and forget the importance of recognizing how important it is to observe growth across the years within the content...

The Anatomy of a Reflection

Originally posted on RelevantED and reprinted with permission. Reflection is an integral part of Personalized Mastery Learning. In this reflection by Aveson 4th grader, Ava Strauss, we see a deep dive into the student’s understanding of her learning, her challenges and how to improve the skills necessary to impact her academic performance. The reflection moves beyond what she likes and enjoys to demonstrating a richer meaning garnered from her experiences. This project was so fun...

Ways That Teachers Connect Students to the World

In one of my first blogs, I discussed the importance of making learning connect and impact the real world. Looking back at it, I didn't cite a good example of this that I have participated in. So I thought for this blog to do just that, and show some of the projects and assignments that in my eyes, connected learning to the real world. Runoff Project This was a quarter project in my science class...

Blueprint Design Thinking Protocol and Project Design

A collaborative effort from Blueprint's Shannon Herzog, Kali Goings, Keely Vaughan, and Sarah Johnson. REFLECTION ON THE YEAR We knew what we wanted to do wouldn’t be easy. In fact, we knew that doing something this innovative would require the best of us. The first year of Blueprint has, in a word, been grueling. We found ourselves in uncharted territory, in a constant state of evolution, in a continuous cycle of design that required no...

Modeling High Quality Work as an Instructional Tool

My students, in addition to taking their AP US History exam on Friday, May 5, are also right in the midst of conducting their interviews. That means that I am going to be sitting down with my willing guinea pig, my husband Tom, to record our interview. Tom is an Iraq War veteran, and I’m interviewing him about his experiences as a soldier. Related post: Making a Change: Teaching Students About Oral History I am...

Integrating Personalized Learning with AP Standards and Skills

Allison and I met back in the winter to determine how to start my oral history project, and I expressed to her that I was unsure how to begin instructing my students in the process. Students would need to know how to write open ended questions, how to gather historical research on the event or trend on which they were interviewing, how to behave during an interview which could be emotional, and, of course, I...