Back To The Future
Brian Crosby - 4th Grade Teacher
Agnes Risley Elementary School
This man is a wonderfully motivated teacher! He gave his 4th graders a survey to see where they stood in understanding and learned that only a few even knew what town they lived in, what country and barely knew their addresses and phone numbers. Mr. Crosby came to the conclusion of, "Narrow Curriculum BAD - Active Learning GOOD!" Using the same procedures as PBL, he made a project he titled "High Hopes". The students had to build a helium balloon with a camera and send it into the world to travel and film. These children wrote about it, blogged about it, got hopes from others around the world to send with their balloon and even TAUGHT a class in New Zealand how to make a "High Hopes Balloon" of their own. It was amazing to see the results of this project with the level of teaching these students had been exposed to all their lives. Mr. Crosby also had a new student come to class, a little girl diagnosed with Leukemia who would never be able to come to school, so he decided to include her in everyday class by setting up Skype. I've learned from Mr. Crosby that learning should motivate the children to become learners, not learn how to be taught.
Blended Learning Cycle
Paul Anderson - High School AP Biology Teacher
Mr. Anderson's blended learning cycle is a really great approach to science. The cycle has 6 parts:
1. Question - Start with a driving question, something to "hook" the students (somewhat like PBL)
2. Investigation/ Inquiry - get a theory going
3. Video - Watch a video or podcast about the subject. (Mr. Anderson makes his own podcasts for class)
4. Elaboration - dive deeper into the subject with research. READ ABOUT IT!
5. Review - The teacher walks around the class asking for the students to teach him about their work. (Mr. Anderson says he believes you haven't learned something till you can effectively explain it to someone else)
6. Summary Quiz - kind of explains itself
I like this approach and I agree with Mr. Anderson. The way you know you have truly learned something is to be able to explain it to someone else and that starting with a question that excited to students or draws them in.
Mark Church - 6th Grade Teacher
Making Thinking Visible
This short video gives a glimpse into what Mr. Church means by making thinking visible. In the video he has the students get into groups and write a headline about their project before they actually start it. Then he has them posted on a bulletin board. After the project is finished, he has them re-write their headlines and see how it has changed. He uses this to make it visible to the students how their views and understanding has changed. Which also makes their learning visible to him also. I think this is a great motivation for the students. I will incorporate this into my classroom, I think it is important for the students to see their own progress through different subjects.
Super Digital Citizens
Sam Payne - 5th Grade Teacher
Wilson Focus School
I enjoyed this video tremendously!!! Mr. Payne really gets how to excite students with their work. This video is about a lesson he gives about digital safety, but it also covers several language arts standards. He starts with the quote, "With great power, comes great responsibility" - Spiderman Movie. Then he has his students use an online website to create their own Digital Superhero and comic. The students have to use themselves as the main character and have their super hero save the day when they aren't safe online. Mr. Payne teaches about being safe, respectful and responsible online, which is a huge lesson students must learn in this day and age. I love how he incorporates this safety lesson into a language arts curriculum and the students really enjoy making their own comics! This will be a lesson I use in the future.
Project Based Learning
This video is about a school in Canada that has taken 3 different classes; History, English and Information Processing, and combined them into a single class. Using PBL they have turned their class into an environment that the students have engaged themselves in learning. While this is working for them and I am intrigued on how they make this work, I could not see myself ever doing this. So to be honest, I have not learned as much from this video except that I could not work this way.
Roosevelt Elementary's PBL Program
Redwood City, California
I enjoyed watching this video and seeing the teachers and parents praise PBL. They state in the video that PBL teaches the students to think for themselves and to learn skills they will actually use in the real world. I completely agree with this. I also love the idea that PBL encompasses all the different learning styles into it with the freedom of student choice. It is a great teaching approach and will be the one that I hope to incorporate into my own classroom, because I truly agree that it is the best way to teach students.