Saturday, May 18, 2013

PBL: Leave your comfort zone and try something new

As a nation, a state and a district we are shifting to the Common Core.  One major piece of the common core is the Anchor Standards that all students will learn by the end of each grade.  The Common Core will require a shift in how teachers teach.  One avenue worth exploring is Project Based Learning.  Below are some Anchor Standards and how I believe they connect to PBL.

In the Common Core one anchor standards is:  Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. (The anchor standard is - ELA Reading Anchor Standard 3)

There are many ways to accomplish this; my mind immediately envisions a "PROJECT"!  

Earlier this year, I walked into a classroom and students were reading The One and Only Ivan.  I look at the above standard and the possibilities are endless with PBL!  A project adds excitement and purpose.  Project Based Learning would allow students to choose any book, and it gives the freedom for students to own their learning. 

I often hear educators say, I don't have time or Where do I start?  Projects are vast, and here are some examples of tools that can spark creativity:  Video taping, iMovie, prezi, keynote, power point, posters, glogster, hand-made books, paintings, songs, brochures and more.  Project Based Learning lends itself to differentiation and standard-based grading.

Another Common Core anchor standard is:  Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.  (The anchor standard is - ELA Writing Anchor Standard 6)

I can immediately hear the excuses!  It's all about the barriers... "We don't have this" or "We can't do that..."

The Common Core is not asking for excuses; this is what we must do.  This is the expectation.  So how can we do it?  What about student blogging?  This can be a tool used at all grade levels.  For example: A lower elementary classroom could have the "star student" blog, and then receive "positive" feedback on the entry.  OR it could be a "center activity" where students blog and post on the teacher created page.

The next Common Core Standard I'll share is: CCSS.Math.Content.5.MD.A.1 Convert among different-sized standard measurement units within a given measurement system (e.g., convert 5 cm to 0.05 m), and use these conversions in solving multi-step, real world problems.

When I see this standard I see the phrase, "Real World Problems".  Whenever I see this language I see the potential for a project.  As I sit and brainstorm a possibility, I begin to think about the Olympics.  A fun, engaging project would be to take some of the Olympic events and have students create posters, iMovies, Keynotes, and more.  Inside this project students can simulate or create something involving long jumping or another event.  Imagine the possibilities! Students video tape themselves long jumping, then they measure the distance and convert.  This is real world and this is an engaging project that students can get excited about.

Project Based Learning opens the door to so many authentic learning opportunities.  What I enjoy most about Project Based Learning is that it individualizes the educational experience.  As educators we can assist students in a way that matters to them and in a way that they will remember.

As the year begins to wind down I want to encourage you to try out a project. If you've never attempted Project Based Learning, this is a golden opportunity to get started.  What's the worst that can happen? It flops?  So what! I say try!  I'd rather have educators fall on their face and learn from it, then never try at all.  Don't be afraid to fail.  

If you are looking for Project Based Learning Ideas check these out:

Project Based Learning Blogs

Project Based Learning and the Common Core by @wholechildadv

10 Characteristics of Authentic Learning by @timbuckteeth

Next Week at a Glance:

Monday, May 20th:  Security Walkthrough (expect to see visitors with me)
Tuesday, May 21st:  Kids Hope Lunch
Wednesday, May 22nd:  Enterprise City for 4th grade
Wednesday, May 22nd:  Grades 3-5 assembly 8:45
Wednesday, May 22nd: Teacher Meeting 2:50
Thursday, May 23rd:  Art Club after school
Thursday, May 23rd: Leader in Me at Parma
Friday, May 24th:  Staff Meeting 7:55 in Mrs. Dault's room
Friday, May 24th:  Happy Birthday Mrs. Rouse

iPad iNformation:

8 Useful Apps for Working on Video Projects  by @Mizgibson

iPad in the Classroom, can we make it simpler?  by @MoodleMcKean

Create, Innovate, and Increase Student Access with iTunesU  by @RebeccaWildman

Articles Worth Reading:

I Don't Like Food  shared by @Cantiague_Lead

New Look Teacher Interview shared by @joesanfelippofc

How Social Media Improved an Entire District  shared by @gcouros

Why it's time to take ownership of your PLN  shared by @NMHS_Principal

Authentic Learning Cannot Be Standardized by @NMHS_Principal

8 Helpful Assistive Tools For Your Classroom  shared by @casas_jimmy

Teachers Should Be Critical of Bad Teachers by @edrethink

14 Days by @8Amber8

The inconvenient truth of educational reform shared by @stumpteacher

Story of the Woodcutter by

8 Ways Happy People Start Their Mornings by @marcandangel

Make a Tough Situation Good...  shared by @leah_whit

How To Smile: Math & Science Activities shared by @dreambition

Videos Worth Watching:

Sir Ken Robinson: 3 principles crucial to help the mind flourish (19 min)

Positive Reinforcement Big Bang Style! (5 min)

Power of One! Attitude and Demeanor. (9 min)

1 comment:

  1. Adam is one amazing kid! Thank you for sharing that video!