Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Like Sands through the Hourglass...

Seriously.  I am sorry to report that with all the new implementations going on in my district, "Ain't nobody got time for that!"  Blogging, that is.  Geez o'Pete.  It's all I can do to [sort of] keep up with all that's expected of me this year, much less blog about it.  PHEW.  This teacher is exhausted.  Excuse me.  Educator.  Oh yes, one of the many things I'm having to relearn.  I am no longer a teacher.  I am an EDUCATOR.  Get it right, folks.  Also?  The students?  No longer.  They are now to be referred to as LEARNERS.  Get on board!  :)

We've also begun Project-Based Learning (PBL) on our campus, which has been lots of fun, but lots of work.  OY.  The kids are LOVING it, and I am loving the collaborating and critical thinking that's going on, but it is a LOT of work.  Mostly upfront work, but still.  Holy Moses!

PBL on U.S. landmarks, their significance, and how they make places unique:

These photos are from today's mission...they learned about the Golden Gate Bridge, and then they
constructed their own long bridge spanning between 2 desks.

Their bridges were judged and scored based on length (3 points for each inch),
beauty, and teamwork.  Every team received the full 2 points for teamwork today!
Whoo hoo!  I was one happy teacher, er, educator.

This mission came from the book Mind Missions, which is AMAZING for turning boring Social Studies units into ENGAGING, hands-on experiences for learners.  I highly recommend it.  Also, it works GREAT for PBL if you use it--the missions are perfect Scaffolding Experiences.

The teams have a few more landmarks to learn about and missions to complete, and then next week they'll receive a Game Changer.  This is where they'll be issued their main task/challenge.  As a whole group, we will be creating and naming our "class town."  Each team will then become a committee--one team will be the Bridge Committee, one will be the Statue Committee, one the Monument Committee, one the Seal Committee, etc.  The committees will be developing and constructing a model of their landmark to stand on a raised relief map of our "Class Town."  I envision them choosing something like "Cockrellville," haha.  

Eventually, each committee will record a video in which they describe our town, including the significance of the landmark they designed and what U.S. landmark it compares to.  These videos will be linked to QR codes so that visitors to the school can scan them to see what our learners created and what they've learned.  They'll also be taking their Kinder Buddies on a "gallery walk" of our town, explaining the landmarks.  OY.  Serious stuff, y'all.

If your school uses PBL, I'd love to hear any thoughts or tips you may have!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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