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How to Reinvent Project Based Learning to Be More Meaningful

How to Reinvent Project Based Learning to Be More Meaningful
By Thom Markham This is a crucial time for education. Every system in every country is in the process of figuring out how to reboot education to teach skills, application, and attitude in addition to recall and understanding. That’s why so many educators are using the project based learning (PBL) model. However, it’s also time to reboot PBL. If PBL is to become a powerful, accepted model of instruction in the future, a vocabulary change may be in order — preferably to the term project based inquiry. 1. Infusing inquiry into the curriculum is the goal, so that instruction starts with questions rather than broadcasting content. First, think skills. Think strategically. Use PBL for entrepreneurial inquiry. Differentiate subjects. 2. It is impossible at this historical juncture to figure out how much students need to put into hard-wired long term memory versus how much information they simply download, pass through, and apply. Let go of theory. Analyze the project. Use direct instruction.

Why Teacher Staff Meetings Suck--And How To Make Them Better - Bring TeachThought Professional Development To Your School! Why Teacher Staff Meetings Suck–And How To Make Them Better by Terry Heick Time for a staff meeting? Lessee. You could play an inspiring video from YouTube. Maybe use an ironic or inspiring quote as a writing prompt to discussion point. You could play music. You could even encourage teachers to get up and move around the room–maybe modeling a literacy strategy like a vocab stir or a gallery walk of some kind that uses their phones. Or you could do a Hawaiian shirt day. But if the above doesn’t change the culture in your building–and thus your staff meetings in parallel–you may need to think more ambitiously. Problem: They don’t help anyone. Solution: Ask them what they need. It may not be true that they’re useless–they’re good for to keep the gears of the school twisting–but rarely do they meaningfully impact the learning and lives of students. Problem: They focus on minutiae and “housekeeping items.” One idea? Final Thought

What It Takes to Become an All Project-Based School | PROJECT BASED LEARNING In many schools, project-based learning happens in isolated cases: in certain teachers’ classrooms here and there, or in the contexts of specific subjects. But for students to benefit from project-based learning, ideally it’s part of a school’s infrastructure — a way to approach learning holistically. For one quickly growing network of schools, project-based learning is the crux of the entire ecosystem. The network has not only grown in size, but also in notoriety. The nod from the president comes at a time when New Tech is attempting to position itself as a successful model to follow. Here are a few of the statistics New Tech has gathered from their schools: students graduate at a rate six percent higher than the national average and enroll in college nine percent more than the average. New Tech offers whole-school change to any school interested in contracting with them, including public schools. New Tech schools are entirely project-based and cross-disciplinary.

The 4 Cs of Learning You know the four Cs right? I mean everyone is talking about them. The four Cs that are going to change education in the 21st century? They are amazing! Do a Google Image Search for 21st Century Skills and you get a beautiful display of the four Cs. Great colors, wonderful wording and multiple ways to explain: Communication Collaboration Creativity Critical Thinking I look at this list from the lens of a 4th grade teacher, a tech coach, a consultant or a substitute teacher and I can’t help but think…really? As I work with schools and educators, we do focus on these four Cs. Communication: Teaching to communicate the way the world communicates Not sure if you have noticed, but we no longer write letters to each other. How to create and send an email to a variety of audiences? Yes…communication isn’t new to education but how we communicate has changed. Collaboration: Across space and time Collaboration isn’t new. In 2016 collaboration means across space and time. Creativity: To a global audience

20 Classroom Setups That Promote Thinking 20 Classroom Setups That Promote Thinking by TeachThought Staff This is part 1 in our #iteachthought campaign. Part 1: Classroom Setups That Promote Thinking Part 2: Learning Profiles: What Great Teachers Know About Their Students Part 3: 50 Questions To Ask Your Students On The First Day Of School Learning Is An Ecology Can how you setup your classroom impact how students think? Desks are a staple of the ‘modern’ classroom as we know it. So what can we do? So, the bit about “classroom setups impacting thinking.” You can also setup a “Google Room” or “Maker Space” and not promote thinking at all, or have students performing stunning cognitive acrobatics sitting by themselves on a cold floor. In fact, if you think of rows and rows of desks as having pros and cons, causes and effects, you’ll see that these rows lend themselves well to certain things (organization, paper passing, etc.), while not so well to others (collaboration, movement). 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 2 Groups + 2 Rows 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

Can Project-Based Learning Close Gaps in Science Education? Putting kids to work on meaningful projects can transform classrooms into beehives of inquiry and discovery, but relatively few rigorous studies have examined how well this teaching method actually works. An encouraging new report describes preliminary, first-year outcomes from a study of 3,000 middle school students that shows kids can, in fact, learn more in science classrooms that adopt a well-designed, project-focused curriculum. When researchers analyzed test scores from those classrooms by students’ gender and ethnicity, there were no differences in learning performance. That’s a preliminary indication that high-quality project-based curricula might be able to help narrow the science education achievement gap in children from low-income backgrounds or other groups that are underrepresented in STEM fields. How well the benefits hold up or grow in the second year of implementation remains to be seen. Access to good science curriculum materials is a “vexing issue,” Harris said.

3 Ways to Teach Everything Through Inquiry Kimberly Mitchell Anything that jolts me out of the discomforts and monotony of flying is welcome to me these days; an extra bag of peanuts, an empty row, a surprise upgrade to first class (never happens). But nothing could have prepared me for this recent experience. Seated right behind passengers in the exit rows, I could overhear the flight attendant’s instructions about their responsibilities in the unlikely event of an emergency landing. Upon listening to the flight attendant, each passenger usually affirms his or her understanding and commitment with a simple head nod. But this drill didn’t take place as I usually see it happen. Instead, the flight attendant asked everyone to not just listen but follow along with the brochure (meaning, they were asked to hold one in their own hands). Brain science is on this flight attendant’s side, too. This flight attendant applied the most powerful teaching strategies in a non-classroom context. 1. 2. 3. Learn more:

School Library Surfer: Library Design Considerations The first year of librarianship at Northbridge InternationalSchool Cambodia has been less a roller coaster ride and more a rocket blastoff. I arrived to find a very capable Khmer paraprofessional who was just waiting for the opportunity to learn more about Destiny Quest, helping patrons, and increasing circulation. By the end of the 2012-2013 school year, circulation had increased 70% over the previous year and a culture of reading is beginning to take hold of the school. How did we increase circulation by 70%? Over holidays, children were not only permitted to checkout books but checkout limits were extended and promotional events were held to attract parents to the library. To gain entry to Parents & Pancakes, all students needed was a parent or grandparent. Book talks targeted at specific grade levels also helped to improve circulation. In the secondary school, we had an author visit from Neal Shusterman scheduled for May. At NISC a culture of reading is growing larger each day.

Using Google Tools in Project-Based Learning Infographic Teacher Infographics Using Google Tools in Project-Based Learning Infographic Using Google Tools in Project-Based Learning Infographic Project-based learning is a dynamic approach in which students actively explore real-world problems and challenges and acquire a deeper knowledge. Project-based learning should be student-driven, with a real-world connection. It should be core to learning, include structured collaboration, and have a multifaceted assessment. Many of the digital tools used in classrooms are made especially for education. Inquiry Tools Once you’ve decided what the students will be focusing on, they’ll need more information on the topic. Communication and Collaboration Tools As a part of their work, students will likely need to connect with others – with collaborators in the classroom and with folks around the globe that can help them learn about what they need to know. Expression Tools An integral part of project-based learning is students having a voice in their work.