It’s been a while now since I read all the articles, etc. Which sort of proves the value of reflective blogs, I’m forced to go back just a bit and think about what I read almost a week ago now. Glancing through my notes—highlights on Diigo, etc., a couple of things do come back as having made a big impression on me.
One—an expected time period for a problem based learning project is 3-7 weeks. This allows time for students to plan their work, schedule tasks, set goals, assess their progress, do some metacognition—reflect, etc. I quite agree that the more time put in to these sort of tasks, the better the final product, and the more lasting value it will have for the students.
This presents somewhat of a problem for me—not being a classroom teacher. One, the lesson has to be taught by the end of the third week of Feb. I have to borrow a classroom teacher’s class. We are on block scheduling—4x4. The new semester just started last Thursday or Friday. The teacher wants to take a week or so getting his class going before handing it over to me.
Last semester I worked with a teacher who wound up giving me one fewer days that she at one point said I could have. So, I concluded that I ought to include the teacher more in the planning of the lesson—the teacher needs to be sold on the value of the lesson, and to do that, they’ll need to help plan it. I had designed a research PBL for government classes—grappling with a current issue. However, the teacher felt it would be better to work with his dual enrollment U.S. History class. Back to the drawing board—I designed a PBL around current issues that have been ongoing issues throughout our history—immigration, the solvency of Social Security, fiat money, a federal department of education. I put these in a real world setting—Ron Paul is elected and wants to do away with the Federal Reserve System, etc. Still, the classroom teacher seems to view this doing me a favor and giving up real teaching for the duration of my stay in his classroom. He gave the guidance department two days and feels that he is already behind on his agenda….
So, I have to do a mini version of a problem based lesson. If I spend too much time on any of these tasks that really deserve time---I’ll no way finish in five days--to do it right, I really do need the 3-7 weeks.
So, I’m sweating it tonight, somehow I’ve got to work on my portfolio this week, and also make significant progress on getting this lesson planned—the classroom teacher and I also had a major conference on grading today—he want individual grades from a group project, but, objects to letting students evaluate each other—we have a county policy against students grading each other’s work—as in don’t let them exchange papers and correct—which Mr. Peccia thinks applies here as well. So, I have to do some rethinking, flesh out the lesson, let him look at it, probably revise it again…..
On the brighter side, I am working on this digital storytelling project with a foreign language teacher. She is enthused about doing it, we probably will stretch it out over a number of weeks. We also have found a wonderful teacher in Barcelona to work with. You can Google Susan Dreger and you’ll find her in a couple of places. She has a technology blog, she has done this sort of thing before, and she has set up a Weebly page –plans to send me a password so we can create a page for our school to go along with the one she has for her school. It looks like we will also be working with two other schools—whose pages are also blank at this point. Susan, who was born and raised in Canada, is reluctant to have students pair up as individual pen pals, because she has tried that and always wound up with some students whose partners don’t respond. Rather, she wants to have the whole class work on exchanging web pages, skyping, etc. I’m quite excited about all of this.
I’ve also managed to get several teachers enthused about the doing “fakebooks” in the past week. From reading my posts (oh, and I’ll put my name in the heading next time) you already know that I discovered fakebook as part of my “research” for Capstone Two.
I have gotten several tips from the readings which I do intend to incorporate into my exhibit lesson. First, I am going to ask them to plan their work, come up with a schedule, and take a look at the rubrics (both before starting and as we progress). I also read about just dragging favorites from the browser into a desktop folder while working on the assignment—I’m going to look at that option, the Diigo option, and the idea of just having students insert links into their Wiki—this is another decision I’ll have to reach in the next couple of days. I also intend to use some of the “big six” vocabulary as I fill in the details on the Wiki where the project is explained.—keep in mind that this is a work in progress—until next week when the progress will be being made by the students.
Oh, and you've probably figured out by now that I haven't thoroughly reviewed the grading rubric for this blog. If it isn't exemplary--you know what, at this point, that's okay--unlike some, I won't get caught up in the rules for posting, etc. because I am not especially concerned about the grade--I am VERY concerned about the portfolio and the certification, but not the grade for the class....unless it gets to the point where I think it may really be in trouble, if I recognize that in time, I'll dot my i's and cross all my t's from then on out. In the meantime, I am afraid that my attitude has led to some sloppy oversights, like not putting my name in the heading for the last forum posting, etc....I do get annoyed at myself for such things and I hope it isn't a source of too much frustration to you.