Personal Not Personalized: Inspiration and Self-Assessment in Middle School

As I prepared for our return to school this week, and found myself looking for inspiration to ward off the inevitable post-vacation blues, I was energized by how we are teaching students to work on one of the hardest skills in all of school: how to make learning personal. This has particular meaning for me because there is so much

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How to Learn: the Backwards Bike and Learning New Study Habits

The start of the second term in the Middle School brings basketball practices, new art courses, and a fresh page on year-long courses. It is also the time when we can start to look back at the year so far and turn up the conversation about how each of us can learn more about how to learn. I talked this

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Students Examine their Academic Character to Make Self-Portraits

Students worked with their advisors this week to make a self-portrait of themselves as learners. To do this, they used the self-reflections they wrote last month to questions posed by their faculty members. The faculty teams at each grade level developed a grade-specific highlight to focus the questions they posed to the students. Reflecting the growing complexity of being a Middle

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Making Meaning of Feedback, Grades, and Self-Reflections

We tell students they need to pay attention to results besides just their grades and that there are other, even more important goals to keep track of as a student. They have heard this enough that it does not always sink in. It’s also true that, especially to an early teenager’s ear, all those “other important goals” are too abstract

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Field Notes: Posting from the PAIS Conference

What do 1500 independent school faculty and administrators do when they get together for a state-wide conference? On Friday, five of us from the Middle School joined 9 others from the rest of Sewickley Academy to find out when we journeyed to the Philadelphia region for a professional conference hosted by the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools. Here is a

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What to expect in a Middle School conference

Last week, I posted about why the conference is an important learning experience for students because it helps them develop their toolbox of learning strategies. Here is a follow up post about what you can expect in a Middle School conference, why certain items are chosen for the portfolio, and how we summarize these beliefs to students. The main idea

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Talking about Learning: Students Build Toolboxes of Study Skills

A main theme for us in the month of January, as we turn over a new year and approach the midpoint of the school year, is helping students see what we expect highly successful students their age to do on a regular basis. This may sound like something we do at every part of the year, which is true, but

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