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A Step-by-Step Guide to the Best Projects

A Step-by-Step Guide to the Best Projects
Manor New Technology High School in Manor, Texas, is a 100 percent project-based learning school. They are part of the New Tech Network of schools and their approach has yielded remarkable results, including a 98 percent graduation rate, with all of their graduates accepted to college. The success of their PBL approach is largely attributable to the fact that their process is designed to stimulate student inquiry. Additionally, their process can be applied to any project in any subject, which means there is a consistent approach across grades and subjects at Manor. We followed a sophomore world studies class through a three-week project called Controlling Factors, created by teaching partners Mary Mobley (English) and Michael Chambers (world history). They designed a project that capitalized on the wild popularity among their students of the best-selling novel The Hunger Games. Here is a breakdown of key steps, with some examples from Mobley and Chambers's project:

Jux--Easy as 1, 2, 3! You know what they say. "A picture is worth a thousand words." But suppose the message you intend to deliver requires a thousand and one, or two, or twenty words. If you're looking for a way to share a photo summary of a wonderful school year with your students and their parents, consider one of the many possibilities at Choose from a number of ways to share your photographs that can be embedded in a class web page or blog, and shared with families, or view on your big screen whiteboard. Free Project Based Learning Resources from Edutopia Edutopia, the George Lucas Educational Foundation, is an excellent resource for educators. Their site has a huge variety of resources, tips, and research on education and is accessible for free. They are a big proponent of Project Based Learning (PBL) and also have a lot of resources on best practices in education. Resources include lists of reading materials on PBL, links to schools that are using PBL, Resources from Edutopia on PBL, Resources from Maine on PBL including examples of PBL, lesson plans, assessments for PBL, planning guides for teachers and schools, professional development resources, resources for parents, and links to organizations and other resources on PBL. This is an excellent collection of resources about PBL and how to implement it in your school and classroom. Related: Free Classroom Guides and Downloads for 2011 from Edutopia More free classroom guides for educators from Edutopia Project Based Learning Resources for Educators

Free video lectures,Free Animations, Free Lecture Notes, Free Online Tests, Free Lecture Presentations Project Based Learning (image from Project Based Learning (PBL) is a great way to teach students content, 21st century skills, and engage them in something fun and educational. I spoke more about PBL in an earlier blog ( and we had some great reader comments (Tech&Learning, May 2009, page 14). Today I'd like to give some tips and ideas on how to get started with PBL in your classroom. First of all, PBL can be used in any classroom, in any subject, at any grade level. PBL does take planning. For instance, I teach physics and developed a project for my classes on structures and stress and strain. Another example of PBL is having the students research a topic and present it to the rest of the class through a multimedia presentation, website, or poster. Start small. Another idea for projects is to look at your school or community and see what they need. Some web resources to get you started:

Think-Pair-Share Variations Learning is a collaborative venture. The more we can provide opportunities for our students to think, collaborate and learn from each other – the more we are preparing them for their futures! Do you use the strategy Think-Pair-Share in your classroom? The General Strategy: Think-Pair-Share – Teacher asks a question or provides a prompt.Students are given time to THINK about their responses.Students PAIR up and discuss their responses.Student pairs SHARE their ideas with a larger group. Do you want to spice it up with additional variations? The strategy Think-Pair-Share, along with a variety of twists, is a versatile strategy that can be used before, during or after a reading, viewing or listening activity. Fran McVeigh challenged me in my last blog post, Check for Understanding, to think in terms of no-tech and tech variations. Think-Pair-Share (Listen) – When student are sharing ideas with their partner remind them to listen to their partner’s ideas. Formulate-Share-Listen-Create -

How to Make Your Classroom a Thinking Space Editor's note: The following is an excerpt from Thinking Through Project-Based Learning: Guiding Deeper Inquiry by Jane Krauss and Suzie Boss. It was published this month by Corwin. Take a moment and imagine a creative work environment. Don't worry about the kind of work going on. Just focus on the space. Was your mental picture anything like either of the workspaces shown in these photos? Photo of High Tech High in San Diego. Photo credit: High Tech High Think back to your mental image of a creative workplace. Fine-Tune the Physical Environment for PBL Birkdale Intermediate School in New Zealand has a long tradition of teaching through inquiry projects. This school has intentionally developed a climate and curriculum to encourage deep thinking, which is reflected by the physical environment. Many schools don't have budgets for this kind of wholesale remodeling. Independent work. Partner and small-group work. Check-ins and seminars-for-some. Reimagine who the stuff belongs to. Color.

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Project Based Failing: The Goal is NOT Student-Centered Over the past five years, I have spent a great deal of time shifting 20% of my class from being teacher-centered to student-centered. That was a fail. I’ve written a fair amount about the 20% Project and why I believed that it was important to have class time when the teacher is off center stage while shifting emphasis on the students. This model energized and liberated many of my students, while it confused and terrified others. Either way, I was committed to establishing a project where students can take on challenges and solve problems any way they saw fit. As a result, my students are currently wrapping up some amazing projects. The problem, though, is that a 20% Project should NOT be a student-centered project. However human-centered is a specific term that comes from the design-thinking framework that Molly Wilson introduced to our entire school last week. Next year during the 20% Project, I would like to see empathy be a more structured component of the project.

Hieroglyphic Typewriter Egyptian Hieroglyphic Name Translator alphabet writer | Home | Hieroglyphs | Pyramids & Temples | Rebuilding Temples | Kings & Queens | Mummification | Hieroglyphic Typewriter hieroglyphics translator write your name in the ancient Egyptian script. Egyptian Hieroglyphs for Windows You can now get the popular iPad app (with extra print features) for Windows Hieroglyphic Print Machine Make T-Shirts, posters, greetings, write secret ancient Egyptian messages to your friends and have fun creating all sorts Egyptian themed stuff with your printer. Steve Pinker's hair and the muscles of worms : Pharyngula I’ve been guilty of teaching bean-bag genetics this semester. Bean-bag genetics treats individuals as a bag of irrelevant shape containing a collection of alleles (the “beans”) that are sorted and disseminated by the rules of Mendel, and at its worst, assigns one trait to one allele; it’s highly unrealistic. In my defense, it was necessary — first-year students struggle enough with the basic logic of elementary transmission genetics without adding great complications — and of course, in some contexts, such as population genetics, it is a useful simplification. It’s just anathema to anyone more interested in the physiological and developmental side of genetics. The heart of the problem is that it ignores the issue of translating genotype into phenotype. And the “one gene, one trait” model violates everything we do know about the phenotype and genotype. Here’s the problem: you can’t always reliably predict the phenotype from the genotype. How can this be? See the big red question mark?

30 Ways to Make Today a Good Day post written by: Marc Chernoff Email One today is worth two tomorrows. -Benjamin Franklin Yesterday is history and tomorrow is merely a figment of your imagination. Get started a few minutes early.Work on something that’s meaningful to you.Complete an important piece of unfinished business.Spend time with positive, friendly people.Do something nice for someone else.Be present. And remember, a smile is the most beautiful curve on the human body. Photo by: Joisey Showaa If you enjoyed this article, check out our new best-selling book. And get inspiring life tips and quotes in your inbox (it's free)... Student Loans An education loan is a form of financial aid that must be repaid, with interest. (Scholarships, on the other hand, do not have to be repaid.) Education loans come in three major categories: student loans (e.g., Stafford and Perkins loans), parent loans (e.g., PLUS loans) and private student loans (also called alternative student loans). A fourth type of education loan, the consolidation loan, allows the borrower to lump all of their loans into one loan for simplified payment. A recent innovation is peer-to-peer education loans. Since July 1, 2010, all new federal education loans have been made through the Direct Loan program. Making payments of at least the new interest that accrues during the in-school and grace periods avoids negative amortization. Federal law sets the maximum interest rates and fees that lenders may charge for federally-guaranteed loans. Few students can afford to pay for college without some form of education financing. Loan Volume Outstanding

Top 10 Ways to Wake-up Students in Class The following is a guest post from Michelle Doman, a 7th and 8th grade Language Arts teacher at Brandon Middle School in Wisconsin. Top 10 Ways to Wake-up Students in Class Many people get a little squeamish, wiggly, and offer a scrunched expression when I respond to the question, “What grades do you teach?” I teach middle school, and with heart and honesty, I find great joys (and challenges) in teaching the group referred to as “tweens” and adolescents. So, I invite you into the quirky world of middle school. Here are the Top 10 Ways to Wake-up Students in Class... 10. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. If anyone has more ideas to capture the wondering, daydreaming, (hormonal) minds of middle school students, I would love to read about them. Related Articles 10 MORE Ways to Wake-up Students in Class About the Author Michelle Doman is a 7th and 8th grade Language Arts teacher at Brandon Middle School in Wisconsin's Rosendale-Brandon School District. P.S.