The 12th Annual Middle Grades Conference: Personal Efficacy in the Middle Grades

Saturday, January 12, 2019

 

CHECK IN AND MORNING REFRESHMENTS (9:00-9:30 am) Silver Maple Room

WELCOME (9:30- 9:45 am) Silver Maple Room

SESSION A (10:00-11:00 am)

Break Out 1: Livak Ballroom Room 417/419, Facilitator: Maura Wieler

Student Choice in the Elementary Grades
Courtney Elliott & Corey Smith, Proctor Elementary School
In this session, we share how we incorporate student choice into our 3rd and 4th grade Math and ELA classes. We present samples of choice menus that students use and share how students assess themselves so they know which choices are appropriate for their learning.

Letting Go: A Journey in Gradually Releasing Responsibility
Kimberly Dumont, Ottauquechee School
Over the course of this year, fourth grade learners have been gradually assuming more responsibility of classroom operations. This process is meant to establish an environment in which they are the leaders of their own learning who can ultimately function without the teacher’s input for an entire school day.

Break Out 2: Jost Foundation Room 422, Facilitator: Jeanie Phillips

Promoting Personal Learning, Student Voice, and Student Empowerment in the Middle Grades
Kyle Chadburn, Orleans Elementary School
This project is designed to support and encourage middle grades students to take greater ownership of their learning experiences by increasing opportunities for negotiated curriculum and blended learning, as well as student leadership to address our school’s learning environment, culture, and social justice issues.

Redesigning Student PLPs to Foster Student Positivity
Chelsie Brownlee & Mikayla Taylor, The Dorset School
During this school year, we focus on making changes to our personalized learning plan process. Our aim is to foster strong student goal making, understand the reason behind creating their own PLP, and create a more positive reaction to developing a PLP.

Break Out 3: Chittenden Bank Room 413, Facilitators: Dave F. Brown & Nancy Doda

The Power of Flexibility: Flexible Groupings, Integrated Studies, and Community Connections
Alison Byrnes, Lisa Floyd, Michael Gray, & Brian Kennedy, Randolph Union Middle & High School
Our goal was to design a more appropriate middle school schedule that includes a cross-curricular co-taught class. We wanted to include more flexible groupings and innovative curriculum. The presentation will include different types of flexible grouping; our rationales and examples of integrated units; and what our students think about the change.

How Does an Integrative Unit on Change Affect Student Engagement, Transferable Skills, and Collaboration?
Rebecca Castellano, Steve Forman, Kerry Hazard, Alyssa Matz, Randolph Union Middle & High School
Our 7th grade middle school team at Randolph Union Middle & High School implemented an integrated unit with a culminating project that created children’s books. On our newly formed team we believed creating an integrated unit would increase student engagement, foster collaboration, and develop transferable skills. Our presentation will show our new curriculum and how the development helped us to begin to develop as a team.

Break Out 4: Williams Family Room 403, Facilitator: Life LeGeros

Family Engagement Within the Mathematics Classroom
Elizabeth Stockbridge, South Burlington School District
During the 2018 - 2019 school year my focus was to implement a weekly reporting system for students to relate what they learn in mathematics to their families. The students sent weekly emails home that reflected their strengths and areas of improvement on assignments from the past week.

Using a Flipped Classroom Impacts Learning and Teaching with Technology (CANCELLED)
Katy Arend, Proctor Jr/Sr High School
The presentation will include how using a flipped classroom, learning targets, and different learning platforms allow students to go at their own pace and take more time with their learning. I will also discuss the pros and cons of different types of technology and how I manage 60 students that are learning at their own pace.

Break Out 5: Sugar Maple, Facilitator: Lindsey Halman

Swift Sustainability Action Project
Kevin, Pioli-Hunt & Amanda Laberge, Williston Central School
Learn how one middle school team is addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals through student-led action projects. We will discuss our planning process, successes, and challenges thus far in our first year of implementing this project.

"Farm and Forest," Flood Brook's Incipient Place-Based Classroom
Cliff DesMarais & Carinthia Grayson, Flood Brook School
We will facilitate a discussion of how programs like Flood Brook’s Farm and Forest seek to foster engaged citizenship and assist students who wish to participate in the myriad of amazing opportunities currently available at the secondary level. Join us to learn about the developing program, share personal successes from similar projects at your schools, and to assist as we seek to plot the course for similar middle level opportunities in Vermont.

Break Out 6: Silver Maple, Facilitator: Emily Hoyler

Redesigning Personalized Learning Plan Structures
Wendi Dowst-McNaughton, Brian Audet & Dennis McLaughlin, West Rutland School
With students, we are redesigning our systems for a more engaging, productive, and relevant Personalized Learning Plan framework to increase the integrated purpose, student buy-in, and systemic use.

Creating Personalization and Engagement in the English Language Arts Classroom Using Playlists
Danielle Liguori, West Rutland School
This presentation explores the impact of implementing student-centered learning of grammar concepts with the use of a playlist. Students make selections from various activities to accomplish grammar-focused learning targets. During the presentation I will discuss what I did, how it went, and what I will do differently in the future.

 SESSION B (11:15-12:15 am)

Break Out 1: Livak Ballroom Room 417/419 , Facilitator: Don Taylor

Discovering Community
Joe Rivers, Brattleboro Area Middle School
Trisha Denton & Mary Wesley, Vermont Folklife Center
BAMS has been conducting an ongoing community-based history project in collaboration with the local historical society, radio station, Brattleboro Words Project, and the Vermont Folklife Center. Members of the VFC and BAMS will present the interview, research, editing and recording strategies used to create podcasts.

An Example of Student Negotiated Curriculum in Middle School Science
Christopher Franske, Tunbridge Central School
One way of engaging students in school work is through personal choice within curriculum. This presentation focuses on one teacher's attempts to provide more student voice and choice in a science specific class setting through the negotiated curriculum model.

Break Out 2: Jost Foundation Room 422, Facilitator: Mary J. Sullivan

The Parish Faith Connection Service Learning Project
Kimberly Fry, Saint Jude's Catholic Parish
I worked with the 7th and 8th grade religious education classes of St. Jude's and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parishes to incorporate a service learning project into their middle grades education program this year. The students became leaders in building their faith community and practiced communication skills by interviewing adult members of their parishes. The results of this service learning project benefited both the students as well as the parishes as a whole.

Building Community through Restorative Practices
Barbara Gallinari, Annie Pigeon & Katy Loomis, Wells Village School
In this presentation we will describe what restorative practices are and how we used RPs to build community at our school.

Break Out 3: Chittenden Bank Room 413, Facilitator: Jeanie Phillips

Creating a Culture with an Advisory Program
Emily Miller, Siobhan Kelly, Tony Snow, Andy West & Mindi Wimett, White River Valley Middle School
We are working towards creating our new WRVMS culture through a collaboration of students, faculty, and community. Through a robust advisory program, we foster students' development of their own identity, guide students’ development as learners, connect school, home, and the wider community, and develop a sense of belonging.

Middle School Advisory That Creates a Sense of Belonging, Is Engaging, and Promotes Student Autonomy
Sean Hirten, Megan O'Brien & Bayley Sanders, Rutland Town School
During this school year we designed an advisory program that creates a sense of belonging, is engaging, and that promotes student autonomy. We believe that, if successful, this can have a positive effect on our students. In this presentation we report on data collected in our advisories through observations, interviews, and surveys.

Break Out 4: Williams Family Room 403, Facilitator: Rachel Mark

A Distinctly Middle School Choral Rehearsal
Shannon Bonsignore, White River Valley Middle School
On the heels of an Act 46 merger, we'll take a look at how tailoring a choral rehearsal to middle schoolers’ needs to belong, to have choice, to take risks, and to develop identity has impacted students’ sense of belonging and confidence as musicians.

The Value of Bell Work
Dawn Maxson, Christ the King School
As a first-year teacher I appreciate bell work more than I had anticipated when initially lesson planning. At the start of the school year my bell work served as an icebreaker, a familiarization tool, and an interactive constant. In this presentation I report on how students and I rely on bell work for routine and engagement.

Break Out 5: Sugar Maple, Facilitator: Susan Hennessey

The Pursuit of Equity in World Language
Kara Merrill & Simona Talos Bindrum, Randolph Union Middle & High School
At Randolph Union Middle/High School, students are able to access either French or Spanish. Currently, some students pursue a world language as an elective. This means that many students are not taking a world language. Therefore, these students are put at a disadvantage when it comes to applying to and being accepted at post-secondary schools. Our project will focus on creating middle school offerings that engage students so that they are more likely to take and persist in world language study.

PLP's and Family Engagement
Debra Sanders, Maple Run Unified School District
This year I focused on parents setting goals for their child during the first week of school and then at parent//teacher conferences parents reflected on those goals. Students helped me with fine tuning their goals and create surveys for them and their parents. In this presentation I report out the results of this process to increase family engagement.

Break Out 6: Silver Maple, Facilitator: Meg O’Donnell

Connected Learning: Fostering Student Engagement through Cross-Curricular Project-Based Learning
Elizabeth Emerson, Stephanie Zuccarello, Jen Macdonald, Jes Dambach, & Sarah Magoon, Peoples Academy Middle Level
To provide Peoples Academy Middle Level (PAML) students with engaging and personalized learning experiences we created meaningful, community-based learning opportunities through a cross-curricular and student-driven approach. We continued to build identity and relationships through advisory, team gatherings, and community experiences, which served as a foundation for students to get personal with their learning. Taking these things into consideration, how does project-based learning foster cross-curricular instruction and student engagement in the 5th and 6th grades?

Implementation of Personalized Learning Plans and Student-Led Conferences
Ashley Matson, Elizabeth Brown & Matt Clark, Leland and Gray Union Middle & High School
This presentation shares lessons learned from the Leland and Gray Middle School team as they implemented Personalized Learning Plans (PLPs) on Protean, which they used to pilot student-led conferences (SLCs) for the 2018-2019 school year.

Piloting PLPs at The Saint Johnsbury School
Sarah Garcia, Lauren Farina & Donna Mackinnon, The Saint Johnsbury School
Our presentation will focus on our experience introducing Personalized Learning Plans (PLPs) at our middle school. We will share our successes, challenges, and tricks we learned along the way.

LUNCH (12:30-1:00 pm) Silver Maple Room

ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION (1:00-1:30) Silver Maple Room: What does Equity Look like in the Middle Grades?

SESSION C (1:45-2:45 pm)

Break Out 1: Livak Ballroom Room 417/419, Facilitator: Meg O’Donnell

Impacts of Google Sheets on Graphing Literacy (CANCELLED)
Ashley Rainville, Coventry Village School
Students in my 8th grade science class struggle with creating and interpreting graphs, but they excel at (and enjoy) using technology. By teaching students how to analyze and graph data with Google Sheets on Chromebooks using relevant student-generated data, this project aims to increase students’ ability to create, analyze, and make inferences from graphical information.

How Can the Use of a Student-Centered Unit Increase Student Engagement?
Barbara Pennington, West Rutland School
Engagement of 6th grade students was measured before and after the use of a student-centered science unit. Feedback from students, colleagues, and academic literature review helped to develop this unit and methods of measuring student engagement. Students navigated playlists and multiple pathways to demonstrate their proficiency.

Break Out 2: Jost Foundation Room 422, Facilitator: Scott Thompson

A Tale of Three Projects - Our Successes and Failures with PBL
Allan Miller & Natasha Grey, Charlotte Central School
Join us as we share our journey implementing some project-based learning units last year in the sixth grade at Charlotte. Definitely aligns with "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . . " and we promise to share as much as we can to help you find some PBL success as well.

Incorporating the Gradual Release of Responsibility Model in the Classroom and Beyond
Caroline Hlavacek Perry, North Country School
North Country School is a junior boarding school serving grades 4-9 in the heart of the Adirondacks. Intrinsic to the school's mission are the goals of developing confidence and independence in an array of endeavors in and out of the academic classroom. GRRM has been incorporated in all areas of the programming, including academic, outdoor, and residential life to great benefit.

Break Out 3: Chittenden Bank Room 413, Facilitator: Don Taylor

Increase Student Engagement in PLPs
Michael Willis, Williston Central School
Students see their PLP as just another assignment to get through. What can you do to shake things up and increase investment? Come see how our 5th and 6th grade team is approaching PLPs using Protean, and how we are giving students more choice in documenting their learning.

Middle Grades Professional Development with PLP Pathways
Don Taylor, Main Street Middle School; Lindsey Halman, UP for Learning; Maura Wieler, Lamoille South Supervisory Union; Kevin Pioli-Hunt, Williston Central School; Meg O’Donnell, Shelburne Community School
Panelists will reflect on the experience of using webinars, videos and teacher consultations as a form of ongoing professional development to improve middle grade teaching practice.

Break Out 4: Williams Family Room 403, Facilitator: Rachel Mark

Goal Setting, Reflecting, and Documenting to Enhance Student Efficacy
Jenn Tifft, GRCSU
As students develop a PLP, they create a way to track their own progress. The focus will be on goal-setting and reflection primarily around the Transferable Skill, Self-Direction using the 5 basics of self-efficacy.

Choose Your Own PLP Platform (CANCELLED)
Jennifer Reeve, Lyndon Town School
Step by step guided practice for students to explore 4 different platforms that can be used for Personalized Learning Plans. Using many Google applications and Protean, students use videos and templates that allow them to explore the different platforms in an effort to choose which one best suits their learning and presentations style.

Break Out 5: Silver Maple, Facilitator: Life LeGeros

Social Justice in Student-Designed Curriculum 
Sam Nelson & Students, Shelburne Community School
Shelburne Community School 8th grade students have designed Humanities curriculum centered on social justice with the following focus questions: what's an issue within our community (Shelburne or the state of Vermont)? How did we get here? Where do we go from here? This unit has been in partnership with Science Leadership Academy Middle School in Philadelphia and used as a focal point for inter-school collaboration and cultural sharing.

How Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy Professional Development Affects Teachers
Jeffrey Novak & Lauren Bartlett, Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School
We are facilitating professional development on culturally sustaining pedagogy that focuses on new learning and applying what we learn to our own practices. We looked at exit tickets, meeting notes, surveys, and personal journals as evidence of how the experience of equity-focused professional development affects teachers personally and professionally.

CLOSING (3:00-3:15 pm) Silver Maple

Thank you for joining us today!

Useful links

Contact Information

Middle Grades Collaborative
Saint Michael's College
Education Department Box 281
One Winooski Park, Colchester, VT 05439
register@middlegradesinstitute.org
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