BlogWalker

Muddling through the blogosphere

April 20, 2014
by blogwalker
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PBL Workshop – A year later

A year ago, a wonderful principal at one of my district’s elementary schools invited me to give a 1-hour workshop at his site on Project-Based Learning (PBL). I was thrilled to have the request come from an administrator and for the opportunity to organize my thoughts and resources into something useful for teachers.

I set to work on a Google slideshow, so that the teachers would have an easily-edible presentation to use with their students and parents. As you can see from the presentation (which includes the talking points), I pulled mainly from Edutopia and BIE (Buck Institute of Education), two rich, dynamic, free gold mines for PBL samples, resources, and best practices. The only thing missing from my slideshow was a PBL sample from my district, since this was an in-district workshop.  Thanks to the amazing work of 5th/6th grade teacher Jim Bentley and his students, that missing district element no longer exists.


On Thursday, one year later, I’ll be headed to Jim’s site to co-facilitate a PBL workshop that’s open to all district  teachers and administrators. What makes this workshop very special is that some of Jim’s students will also be presenting with us.

I celebrate that one year later, there is a small, but growing number of teachers in my district embracing PBL – with a common thread of having supportive administrators who recognize the value of students being engaged and feeling a genuine purpose for their work. So my idea is to offer our PBL workshop each quarter, with a different site/teacher(s)/students hosting the workshop.

In collaboration with Jim and other contributing PBL teachers, we’ll continue updating the slideshow. We’ll also be adding to our PBL digital handout. We would welcome more snippets of what PBL looks like from primary grades through high school, across the curriculum and content areas. If you have sources we should add, please share them via a comment.

February 11, 2013
by blogwalker
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A 60-Minute Introduction to PBL

On Wednesday, I will head over to an elementary site in my district to give a one-hour session on Project-Based Learning (PBL). I am thrilled for the invitation and the opportunity to initiate conversations on how technology can support teachers in taking student learning to new levels.

Within a 60-minute limit, my goal is to make clear that Common Core Standards are “the what” and PBL is “the how,” with technology there to help fuel the scope and impact of authentic learning.

Image from Ginger Lewman, ESSDACK, 2012

Thanks to the outstanding PBL resources available online, I did not have to start from scratch to build my presentation. Between Edutopia’s dynamic PBL resources, with Suzie Boss leading the way; the Buck Institute for Education’s PBL site; and Ginger Lewman’s PBL in the Primary Classroom LiveBinder and her Life Practice blog site – where I found her wonderful “At the Intersection” illustration  – gathering links to share with the teachers was like hitting the jackpot every time I Googled PBL.

My slideshow presentation walks teachers through the definition and some sample best practices, gleaned mainly from Edutopia. My goal for the remainder of the school year is to replace Edutopia best practices with PBL samples from my district.

I’ve included my notes in the slideshow – again crediting Suzie Boss, Ginger Lewman and BIE for much of my narrative.

If you have resources, samples, or activity ideas (appropriate for a 60-minute workshop), I hope you will jump into the conversation and leave a comment.

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