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Yes, and… Moving right along. There are so many amazing middle schoolers. Who are they? What gets them going? What do they do with their discretionary free time? Where do they get support? Who do they turn to for help? Do they ask for help?

Are they lifelong learners? How are their soft skills? Who are their mentors? Role models? To what extent are we facilitating and encouraging their learning skills development?

4 Small Questions That Lead to Innovative Breakthroughs

  1. What do We Praise, Look For, and Assess? Kids taking initiative – helping other kids, helping themselves, creating Canvas lessons, solving problems in the TechLab. Look for kids to say Hi, ask questions, make comments. Points for progress, process and product – module components completed satisfactorily.
    Would like to see – failure and recovery, reflection, critical thinking to solve problem, extend activity, self-help.
  2. What do We Support? When students want to try something outside the box, most are supported. There are a few who can’t use this freedom responsibly and are actively discouraged from doing anything but work on prescribed activities.
  3. What do We Make Time For? There is plenty of time for most kids to finish module work in the time allowed. Usually there is an extra so most kids should complete all the tasks for a module. These are structured so there isn’t much room for individual creativity in most modules even though there are hands-on activities. Reflection, self-assessment – most kids actually know how they did. Some who didn’t do their best are defensive.
  4. What do We Allow? The modules provide: inquiry – some guided, choice – kids have some say in the modules they do, collaboration – students work in pairs that may be assigned, digital tools – modules are self-contained computer-based  with videos, text, quizzes, and failing – limited possibility to “fail” module tasks. Kids who have completed all the modules have the option to work on personal projects relating to current and proposed class projects.
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