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Project-based learning in Northwest Iowa

Project-based learning in Northwest Iowa

Many schools in Iowa are trying to find small chunks of time that allow students to engage in some inquiry- or project-based learning. These might be class-level projects, teacher-led exploratories, or student-led ‘genius hours.’ Several districts in Northwest Iowa are going beyond these smaller experiments, however. They’re carving out a couple of weeks for a...

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Summits

Summit. (noun) A day-long ’sit and get’ event designed to draw political and media attention to the powers-that-be at the top. Usually comprised of speeches, panel presentations, and non-interactive breakout sessions. Iowa antonyms: EdCampIowa, ISLI, StuCamp, EdCampDesMoines, school district unconferences, Iowa 1:1 Institute. Summits are a great way to reinforce the passive, transmission-oriented model of learning. Summits are a...

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Dreaming big at Iowa BIG

Dreaming big at Iowa BIG

Do you know about Iowa BIG? Co-located with a corporate startup accelerator at a former brownfield site of Iowa Steel, Iowa BIG is a project-based learning option for Cedar Rapids area high school students. Students spend half of their day at their traditional, ‘mother ship’ high school and the other half at Iowa BIG. Local...

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Rethinking learning time in Clear Lake

Rethinking learning time in Clear Lake

Clear Lake Middle School (CLMS) knew where it wanted to go. It just needed to put some new structures in place to get there… Teacher learning. Many organizations have ‘20 percent time’ initiatives, which give employees time and permission to learn and work on new topics of their choosing as long as they have potential...

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Personalizing every student’s level of success

Personalizing every student’s level of success

The Van Meter Schools have long been an incubator for innovation. Van Meter was one of our earliest districts to implement a 1-to-1 student computing initiative and also was one of the first districts in Iowa to be named an Apple Distinguished School. More recently, Van Meter has been diving deeply into project-based learning, standards-based...

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New literacies, anyone?

New literacies, anyone?

The Iowa Department of Education is soliciting feedback on the state’s literacy standards. Here’s the comment I left: The Iowa Literacy Standards represent traditional, foundational conceptions of literacy. They do NOT reflect the 21st century literacy standards articulated by NCTE, however. Nor do they reflect digital and online multimedia literacies related to interactive media (see, e.g.,...

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Thanks for a great run, Iowa

Some of you know that I’m headed back to higher education (after a 4-year hiatus to keep a promise to my daughter that she could finish high school here in Ames, Iowa). I will be an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Colorado Denver starting in August. We will miss Iowa tremendously...

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Seed-to-table at Gilmore City-Bradgate

Seed-to-table at Gilmore City-Bradgate

[Want to be the Seed-to-Table Manager here? Read the job description and then email the superintendent.] Shovels busy at work, three young children dig and cut through the earth, turning over the rich black soil underneath. They have a long planting row to create, but the sun is out and the weather is perfect. Their...

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Project-based learning at scale

Project-based learning at scale

Most schools that dive deep into project-based learning tend to be smaller charter or magnet schools that have the ability to hire new educators and create new schedules and instructional paradigms from scratch. Bettendorf Middle School, in contrast, has been around a while and often resembles other large middle schools across the nation. With over...

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