Innovation in Learning Study Group

Innovation Update

By: Matt McCormick

Like anyone fortunate enough to walk the halls of High Tech Middle, I was struck by how students had a chance to create a tangible artifact to represent their learning. And while watching students silk screen some t-shirts, I had an AHA! for how I might bring that concept into my own classroom. At the time, my students were studying the impact of their clothing on people and places around the world. So why not have them make a t-shirt to represent their learning? We studied the elements of effective designs, debated where to buy our t-shirts from, and visited the winner -- Goodwill in Rutland. Then we created the t-shirts. Here are some results:


In a reflection, one student said: “It was definitely worth making the t-shirts. It made me really think about the most important thing I learned.” While I felt the project was successful, I’m still working on getting them displayed. An appointment with the custodial staff fell through, and then...we moved on. I still have the shirts, and still hope to get them up.

On another note, my colleagues Melissa Fellows, Anne Lessard, and I took a Project Based Learning course through UVEI. We looked at the essential components of PBL, and collaborated to create a project around how climate change will impact Vermont during the next 30 years. Part of their project will be to create scientific posters making a prediction about the future of one aspect of Vermont (the ski industry, sugaring, electricity prices). They’re also working in our Innovation Lab to create stop animation videos and “data machines”. The latter projects should be done by late May. The best part of this was working with colleagues. However successful this particular project is, we’re gaining more and more confidence and momentum toward making project-based learning a regular part of our practice.