This summer I had the opportunity to go to PBL World and the Technology Centers That Work Conference. I focused my learning on creating and implementing project-based learning in my carpentry class. Going in I felt that I did projects in my class that students enjoyed and learned carpentry skills and knowledge. One of the first things I learned (or realized) is that I can take what I am already doing and enhance it.
How I would enhance a project would be to add research, have students make decisions on their learning, and make their learning visible. An example of this is building a deck on our project house. Previously, I would provide students with a plan and have them build the deck. From what I learned over the summer is that I can have the students research deck designs, the location on the house (north, east, south, west), current trends, building codes, POA requirements, cost, etc. From what they learn they can design a deck for the project. I then can let the students share ideas and designs with the class and select a design or combination of designs to be built on the house. After the decisions are made the students then would build the deck. By adding the elements to the deck project, the students take ownership in the deck and obtain knowledge in areas that would not be covered in the standard deck project.
Randy Barnes | Carpentry/Construction Technology at Excelsior Springs Area Career Center
Students Set the Stage
During this conference I was coached while creating my first PBL unit and had the opportunity to go through each of the Gold Standards with other educators. The most powerful standard for me was the Critique and Revision piece. During that time, we were encouraged to view others' PBL Units and provide critique through the use of sticky-note and questioning. We called the revision process a "charette". It was refreshing to have 300+ sets of eyes viewing your work and providing feedback. It helped me to see that the products that my students make need to go beyond the 4-walls of our classroom.
Ericka Lang | 5th Grade Teacher at Westview Elementary
After learning about flexible learning spaces this past summer, Our team had huge ideas!! we couldn't wait to transform the classroom into something that was less "typical classroom" and more inviting for all students to learn!
Create Learner-Centered Spaces
We have classrooms filled with diverse learners who are asked to learn in varied ways! Different activities and outcomes require different physical spaces to "set the stage!"
Voice and Choice
*Students all have an "assigned home base"- where they start and finish the day, keep their supplies, and return to for class transitions.
*The big difference is they have the freedom to choose different options for different tasks.
*As with anything, some students need more structure and guidelines to be successful in this environment.
*The students wanted a "couch schedule" because it was too hard to keep it open for everyone ~ same students always seemed to get there first! So each day, a pair of students can utilize the couch.
*The students have been very creative in finding many "nooks and crannies" of the rooms to work successfully. Lots of caves!
*There are two desk pods and a few singles (watering holes/caves) for those students who highly prefer (or need!) a designated area to be most successful.
Buffy Nordstrom | 5th Grade Teacher at Lewis Elementary
This is a resource build by the ESSD40 staff for to aid in transforming teaching and learning.
Inspire. Empower. Challenge.
Learning Out loud