Project Based Learning Really Works! Jennifer Gaston, CPESI Susan Paschall, CPESI Sue Spencer, WFIR
Teachers Many Challenges • How to teach in classrooms with a variety of ability levels. • How to cover standards and do well on high stakes tests. • How to motivate students to participate. • All while preparing students for a highly competitive job market.
Skills Needed in Today’s Job Market • People who can work independently to solve problems. • People with basic academic and computer literacy. • People who are intrinsically motivated and confident.
First Steps…. • Chose PBL because of alignment with school goals. • Wrote mini grant for computers and subscription to WebQuest hosting service. • Held a faculty meeting and sent emails to solicit volunteers from faculty. • Then met in grade level teams to determine meeting schedule and goals. (weekly, daily, etc.) • Discussed expectation that we work collaboratively, have the opportunity to co-teach, observe each other teach, shared experiences, and materials. • From the beginning we worked informally with the understanding that their is no right way to do anything. We are in it to learn. • We will learn as we go and revise when necessary.
At the Getting Started Meeting • What is PBL? Driving questions. • Using WebQuests to create project based learning unit • Brainstorm with your teacher teammates and create a rough draft of your science project using the Dodge WebQuesttemplate. • Remember you can Google WebQuests on just about anything and any grade level to get examples of WebQuestsother teachers have used. • Weather and Planets • This is the example we looked at today and liked the format of the questions on the title page.
Create guiding questions for each of the 4 or 5 groups in your classroom to research. • Then come up with tasks for each group conduct to complete that will allow them to answer their individual questions. • Remember you can Google weather WebQuests on just about anything and any grade level to get examples of activities created by other teachers. • Keep a list of questions that arise and resources you might need as you work. Dr. Lisa Harris will meet with us on 11/29 @ 9:00 to answer your questions and guide development of your WebQuest. • Remember we have four laptop computers, thumb-drives, and digital cameras to use.
Individual Teachers Experience (As you discuss your work mentioned what you learned, what you would repeat, and what you would do differently) • Project Design: • Describe your WebQuest and how you developed it. How was this unit different from previous units on weather? • Was it difficult to cover standards? Did you or could you have integrated other academic standards? Were you able to incorporate materials mandated by the district (e.g., science kits, etc.) • What tasks did the students complete? Did they work in groups or individually to complete these? What materials did you use of develop? • Discuss any special activities (field trip, guest speakers, blog, inquiry fair, newspaper articles, etc • Student Outcomes: • How did you measure student performance? Show student work and discuss outcomes. Show graphs of Benchmarks data and compare overall academic growth as measured by benchmarks and or other comparisons. • From the Teacher’s Perspective • Discuss the ability of PBL to meet your needs as teacher and those of students with diverse learning needs, slow learners, etc. (How did these students perform (e.g., research skills, computer skills, motivation, independence, confidence, etc.). • In summary, would you recommend PBL, do you plan to use PBL again, and if so how?
Which Would You Choose • Memorize the state capitals. • Use this weeks spelling words in a sentence. • Learn the definitions from chapter 4 on weather. • Review for the benchmarks test tomorrow.
What is next at CPESI? • We are taking Project Based Learning school wide. • Plan to have school-wide math and science fair. • Teachers will collect pre and post test data benchmark data. • We look forward to sharing with you next year.
Ancient Chinese Proverb (well not really) He who memorizes and does not think is lost.
Project Based Learning is a Constructivist Approach: • Knowledge is actively constructed • Embedded in realistic, complex, relevant learning environments • Provide for shared responsibility • Socially constructed • Nurture self awareness, motivation, confidence, and ownership in learning
How PBL Can be used varies: • Teaching integrated inquiry based units using authentic project based learning • Edutopia.org • Kindergarten • 5th grade • Geometry in the classroom • Think Quest inquiry based learning/PBL • Dodge Template
Class Assignment • Visit several of the WebQuests, choose 2 • Compare the 2 on the following criteria to determine how well they each address the 3 neural networks that make an assignment UDL • Representation Network (is it clear what the students are to do, what is important to the learning experience, etc). Give specific examples to support your evaluation. • Strategic Network (does the WebQuest provide activities, rubrics, and resources that enable the students to accomplish the goals, assignment, tasks) Give specific examples to support your evaluation. • Affective Network (does the WebQuest motivate students to learn, does it relate to real life experiences, does it provide an emotional experience. Give specific examples to support your evaluation. • Use the rubric provided
Choose From These Examples or Find Your Own to Review • Physical Education – history of baseball • English – Rewriting Romeo and Juliet • Think Quest inquiry based learning/PBL • Weather • Planets