Blog 1: How do I test the water?
My middle school is going one to one next year. Yikes! We’ve been given plenty of warning and have been preparing throughout the current school year so why do I still feel overwhelmed? Some of my colleagues are already testing the waters in the computer lab and already appear comfortable with the DyKnow platform that our school chose. They teach languages so perhaps for them it’s just transitioning from paper to screen. It can’t be that simple though, they are just braver than I am and jumped right in. I subscribe to the sink or swim method most of the time but for some reason I need to walk in one toe at a time in this case. I have a master’s degree in Innovative Learning and use technology often in the classroom with my students but have yet to figure out how to incorporate daily use of laptops and continue my hands on approach to science learning. Daily labs have been successfully engaging my students and helping them learn science skills and concepts for years so I don’t want to change that part. It’s time to ask for help. Does anyone out there have one to one science teaching experience? I need a floaty.
This is the first video blog in a series that shows a project from beginning to end. The entry event is shown here as well as what makes this project more difficult than others.
I became extremely discouraged after watching other teachers do PBL. I thought I was doing it all wrong, but I had to remember that I am new and my PBL lessons do have an impact.
Since this video blog was made, I have altered a few things. Keep in mind, I'm a new teacher, so what might seem obvious to some, wasn't to me. After this project, where students were mapping their ancestry, I sent emails home to parents and made a few phone calls. Part of the problem was motivation and since I have asked for help from parents, things have been much better.
The other change I made was I reevaluated my project and realized that there was no presentation at the end. I'm not sure what I was thinking, but having the students present their material, even to the class, gets such a better product than not presenting at all. Many students are first motivated by not looking bad in front of their peers, then their parents, then they are motivated by grades.
Initially, I was afraid that PBL wouldn't be rigorous enough for my students and that they would find class too easy. I was wrong.
Some thoughts on having a project planned out ahead of time as well as using Evernote as a brainstorming session as I walk around school.
In this blog I will focus on the fun we are having with our projects in kindergarten and how we are using our iPads and computers to help us learn. This blog will be an integration of 5 key aspects of my classroom this year.
1. Developing 21st Century skills in kindergarten.
2. Meaningful projects and common Core Standards
3. Our cross-age partnership with 6th grade iTeam Buddies.
4. How we use student-teacher created rubrics and self reflection to help us learn.
5. Using technology as a learning too.
Fair warning! I am learning and experimenting everyday. Sometimes everything comes together beautifully and at other times it all gets messy. My students and I are learning to laugh at our 'mistakes' and try to understand our own learning process. I hope this blog provides the opportunity for reflection and a bit of musing about what it has been like to change my instructional practice from a 'prescribed direct-explicit' instructional model to one of inquiry based projects aligned with common core goals. A chance to share and learn from other teachers venturing into the world of innovative learning.
The Learning Innovators' journey
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