Personalized Learning in the Middle Grades is here!

It has been such an honor to be able to travel to different Vermont schools to support innovation, personalization, and deep, engaging learning in my job as a professional development coordinator with the Tarrant Institute of Innovative Education at the University of Vermont. Truly, partnering with teachers in the work they want to do and know helps their students find meaning and purpose is an incredible privilege. And teachers and students are revolutionizing education from the inside out: doing work that matters to their communities and is valued. Students are showing us what they need and who they are through their personalized learning plans, choices, and leadership.

I am fortunate to be a co-author (with the amazing Penny Bishop and John Downes) to bring these stories, research, examples, and resources about how Vermont teachers and students are making learning personal and meaningful. We hope it shows what is possible in the journey toward engaging all of our students in deeper, relevant, purposeful learning. Our book is called Personalization in the Middle Grades: a guide for educators and school leaders, and it was released on May 6th by Harvard Ed Press. Hope you find it helpful!

Salamander Sky Wins a Riverby Award from the John Burroughs Association

Photo by Tania Barricklo

What a day. We attended an award luncheon hosted by the John Burroughs Association, who’s mission is to enrich lives through nature by celebrating the legacy, writing, and natural world of one of the great American nature writers.

Not only did I finally meet the incredible illustrator of Salamander Sky Meg Sodano, in person, but we had a lovely lunch with Green Writers Press founder Dede Cummings, and a room full of nature advocates, writers, and their families.

Once I saw and hugged Meg, well, I could have gone home then. I cried great big happy tears. We worked for years together, but only met virtually, and sometimes across oceans.

Then, we saw our little salamander book with a great big silver medal on it, and we squealed like little kids.  In the Yale Club. It seems like a place where people don’t really squeal.

via GIPHY. But seriously, the room had hand painted nature and park scenes on the walls, and we sat at a SALAMANDER TABLE. With moss. I was home there.

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A Poem, Skiing Under the Lift and Passion Projects with Equity

Welcome to 2019. I know it’s a little late, but’s here’s a poem to welcome you into the year.

So much snow! It has been a tad bit chilly here in Vermont, but the snow has been simply magical, and we are going to get walloped again Saturday night.

Speaking of snow, here is a post I put up on Thrive Global’s Medium publication, called Skiing Under the Lift. I hope you will join me in metaphorically skiing under the lift– living your passions no matter who is watching– a little bit more.

I also just posted this about how to make sure educators are promoting equity in their passion or genius projects, so we don’t simply reproduce the inequity of resources that our students might face. This was so clear in Ann Braden’s new book, The Benefits of Being an Octopus, which features Zoe, a girl living in poverty (like so many of our students) in Vermont.

Hoping your 2019 is off to a good start!