The Story so Far: Learning to Live in the Gray

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As happens from time to time on this blog, I have been absent for a bit. This is in part because I took some time to be with family during a very sudden life change. (Rest assured all is well, but time time with my wife and daughter were restorative!) The absence is also in part to my new (and still pretty shiny) role as an instructional coach. While I had hopes that my Summer PD series would last longer than two posts, the reality is my opportunities to lead sessions with teachers were going to be limited this summer and for good reason. I have a good deal to learn. I am on a new team with new norms and new talents and skills that surround me. I am already in awe of the work my new colleagues do each day. They make it appear effortless. So, I have found myself learning to live in the gray this summer. Continue reading

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Summer PD Series: Collaborative Assessments and Better Rubric Making

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My second round of leading professional development this summer centered on improving career and technical education (CTE) teachers’ approach to rubric creation for various projects and assignments in their classrooms. Today’s post maps out the lesson I used and much like the last post on building relationships with students, explains some of the ‘why’ behind my pedagogical moves.

This post will be of particular interest to anyone interested in accessing a plug-and-play rubric tool and gaining insight into improve a rubrics relevance and specificity to their classroom.

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Student Voices: Intern Edition “The Benefits of WBL”

Student Voices

by Constance S.

“I’d say the real-world experience and accountability were large benefits of this program.”

It began with class enrollment for my senior year. The thought of “What in the world should I choose?” seemed to echo in my mind as I skimmed the list of courses. I pondered over them; would they be beneficial towards my life post-high school? None of them seemed to be what I was looking for. It wasn’t until I heard about an internship that I felt hopeful about my electives. If I didn’t make it in: fine. I’d just have to learn piano for my last year of high school. Continue reading

Student Voices: Intern Edition “Alignment of the Stars”

Student Voices

by Brendan C.

My name is Brendan. I’m a graduating senior at Lanier High School. During this past year, I’ve been taking part in Work-Based Learning, or WBL, a class taught by Dr. Kyle Jones, the author of this blog. This class encourages students to get out into a field of their choice to learn vital skills through a job, internship, or other form of work. To be completely honest, it’s been one of my favorite classes out of the entire four years I’ve been in high school. Continue reading

Authentic Learning in CTE: An Exercise Physiology Project Launch Combines Content, Data, and Real Athletes

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I have become a bit of a jack of all trades in the last four years, including becoming a career and technical education (CTE) teacher and now department chair. One of my goals this year was to increase my teachers’ capacity for innovative instruction and project-based learning (PBL). While some of my teachers need more traditional support for classroom management and instructional planning, I have several who are wading deep into the PBL waters. One such teacher is one of our health occupations teachers, Mr. S. Mr. S is teaching the third level class of the Healthcare Pathway named Exercise Physiology. The class can end in students achieving national certification as a personal trainer recognized anywhere and certifying them to work in any gym. The work is technical and heavy in vocabulary, jargon, and math, which can be off-putting for students no matter how engaged they are with going into the healthcare field. So Mr. S and I started planning a project that would authenticate the processes and jargon they were learning through application with very real clients–some of the school’s student athletes. Continue reading