Sarah Rubin and Sherry Coyne and their students from the seventh grade Little River Team at Gorham Middle School participated in the Chewonki Foundation’s Zero Waste Challenge. According to the Chewonki website, middle school classrooms (grades 6,7,8) are invited and encouraged to take the challenge to help their schools save money and resources by evaluating their waste stream and creating a plan to reduce waste.
Sarah reports that the team visited Ecomaine earlier in the year. Ecomaine is the waste to energy plant and single stream recycling facility where all of their waste goes. Sarah reports, “Our kids got to see first hand where their trash and recycling goes from their homes and our school.”
“Our project has focused on analyzing our school’s waste, improving the recycling program, introducing composting, and trying to ‘buy smart’ which means buying reuseable and sustainably made products rather than disposable or unsustainable products.”
The team did well this year! They have not decided what they will do with the prize money yet, but the team is looking to improve composting at their school and to improve sustainability education for the other students.
High school students, central office administrators, community members, and teachers led workshops for Auburn Middle School students on CyberDay. Each student was able to choose 3 workshops to attend.
Like many middle schools in Maine, students and staff switched from laptops to iPads this year. CyberDay was a time to share what had been learned and explore new possibilities.
Some students opted to learn how to make commercials in a session entitled “Welcome to Hollywood” led by Jake Bazinet, a high school junior. The best student commercials were showcased on the Lewiston-Auburn local access channel.
Everyone got involved!
Music and movie making sessions were popular:
Sharing and collaboration characterized the event.
Almost everyone in middle level education in Maine knows Mike Muir! We have …
taught with him in Skowhegan
taken a course with him when he was a professor at Farmington
heard give a keynote at MAMLE
been mentored through a team project at MLEI
attended one of his state, regional, or national presentations
read one of his articles or blog posts
worked with him in Auburn where he is the current Multiple Pathways Leader
Mike gets around! In fact he is just about to become the new President of AMLE.
Mike is passionate about finding ways to ensure each student is given an even chance at succeeding in school. He believes that one important component in this quest is creating engaging and meaningful learning environments. He has described engaging tasks in a three-part series on his blog Multiple Pathways, a blog well worth following. He has given MAMLE permission to repost this series.
Are you looking for a teaching strategy that can hook and engage your students? One that can work with almost any content area? Then you’re looking to use an Engaging Task.
Engaging Tasks are an easy-to-implement real world learning strategy.
Engaging Tasks are the part of a WebQuest that make them so engaging to students. But they are such a strong pedagogical strategy that they can be applied to nearly any subject or topic, don’t need to be part of a WebQuest, and don’t even have to be used for an activity that requires technology (although technology can be it’s own motivator!)
WebQuest.org – THE place for everything about WebQuests – defines a WebQuest as an inquiry-oriented lesson format in wich most or all of the information that learners work with comes from the web. Some educators mis-identify a WebQuest as a series of low-level questions that students use the web to track down answers to, but this is far from a WebQuest. WebQuests require that students apply higher order thinking strategies.
WebQuests follow a specific format and include these 6 components (although sometimes one or two of them might be combined):
In my opinion, the part of a (good) WebQuest that makes it so engaging is the task. What makes a task so engaging?
Instead of simply charging students with an assignment, an Engaging Task tells a little story (only a paragraph or so!) that gives the students a reason for doing the work. The engaging task is made up of three parts:
Jack is the keynote speaker on Friday at our Annual Conference at Point Lookout on October 17 & 18, 2013. He sends a powerful message about teaching and learning with young adolescents through his humor. Watch the snippet below to get a preview of what you will experience on October 18, 2013.
Middle Level Education: Living It, Loving It, Laughing About It!