It’s that time of year again when the “big people” appear all over the classroom…along with the mess that materializes with the creation of them. LOL! The students have all chosen their Feudal System area of expertise and have written their paragraphs. They will share their learning with their peers once the big people are finished! Getting the students involved in teaching the others makes the information sink in more and that’s what we want! Not only that, it is an experience they will remember!!!
The creativity that the students have with their writing and their artistry always amazes me. As a teacher, you get to know your students a wee bit in the short time each day that you have, but then they will bust out a skill you had no idea they posessed. I love it!!! It helps you get to know them even better! I asked the students to weave the information that they found during research into a story so it was a little more entertaining to read than facts dryly presented in a paragraph. Boy, did they run with it! I have new kindgoms that never existed and they have placed their “characters” into scenarios to teach their peers about life as a noble or a peasant.
Our Knight at the Museum event is taking place on February 17th at Hewes Middle School. We are going to be jumping into the rest of the PBL experience as the weeks progress. If you would like to see their projects, please join us that evening…I will be sure to post more detailed information about times as we get closer! I will also be sharing pictures and more stories about their experience and my experience as their teacher.
Have a jolly day!!!!!
The students are hard at work!!! Lots of amazing things are happening…
Stringing lacrosse heads!
Blankets for children at CHOC!
Where to shoot the lacrosse ball!
Learning the guitar!
Scaling up an architectural design!
Choosing colours for their t-shirt line!
Making t-shirts to wear as they go door-to-door to ask for towels and blankets for the pet shelter!
Learning Spanish…photobomb by Caleb!
Designing the t-shirts!
Designing the t-shirts!
Fixing a broken iPhone screen!
Cake-pop stand decorating!
Design drawings for dummies!
Learning about gods and making a comic book!
Creating the presentation for our Pitch Event!
Creating a recipe book for the Pitch Event!
Gathering signatures for a woman on the $20!
Creating a short story!
Talking to friends to get signatures!
Animation is happening!
Learning to draw!
Writing a superhero story!
Searching for wheels to put on his prosthetic leg for his three-legged cat!
Zanai and Natalie
This week was quite the adventure! The students are getting into the swing of their projects and having lots of fun while learning incredible amounts about themselves and their learning.
In my first class of the day, I had students outside playing lacrosse. One student, Joseph, wanted to learn and another student, Isaiah, wanted to teach the game, so it was a match made in heaven. I did not get any pictures or video of them today, but I will next week. Some of my students have chosen project activities where they are practicing outside of class and then recording their weeks’ experience when they have project time on Fridays. Ty and Ben are creating their own version of Yelp and are going to be rating Mexican restaurants in our area. Today they researched free website-making applications, chose an application and then started designing their website. They had the brilliant idea of including their blog links so that people could see their progress in the project in addition to their food information! 🙂 Totally brilliant!!! Another set of students, Kyle and Marcos, have chosen to do a coat fundraiser and donate their collection to One Warm Coat. Today they focused on trying to make phone calls to find out where they could donate what they collect.
In my second class of the day, I have students, Peyton and Ashley, creating their display board already. Right now they are working on a “goalie” and goal for their lacrosse statistics information. They want to teach you how to shoot and the best areas of the goal to hit. They have statistics from their own team to add to the project. Alyssa is making dresses for little girls in Africa. She is going to use pillowcases and convert them. Today we had to get the sewing machine up and running, so my lessons from my elementary school days were coming back to me! It was quite the process! LOL!!! The other images are of Caroline who is moving a pencil across the desk to test out an application she is using to make a stop-animation movie. Danny is designing his building in an app, Ella is getting illustrations ready for her How to Draw Designs for Dummies book, and Zanai and Natalie are researching mouth-watering recipes. They are going to create a recipe book in addition to actually making the food.
One of my students, Jayden, determined that he was struggling too much with his project, so he is going to stay with the bird theme and learn how to draw them instead. He researched to find the steps to drawing an eagle. I am glad he made the adjustment.
Many students are in the research and learning phase of their projects so I will need to be sure to guide them to start thinking about how they are going to present what they have learned during our 20% Time = 100% Creativity night on Wednesday, June 3rd. 🙂
A new crop of kids are excited and a little nervous about beginning this 20% Project journey. They have all chosen their topics, planned out their six weeks and have jumped in with both feet. They are all working away feverishly as I type! Here are their ideas! I can’t wait to see their progress…
So my first foray into PBL (Project Based Learning) was a success. We had a “Knight at the Museum” where all of the students brought their parents to share their learning. On top of the tour that the students gave, the parents had to answer quiz questions. This meant that the students had to be the teachers and not only share their projects but their peers’ projects.
Superintendent Franklin popped in to check it all out the morning of our museum event as he couldn’t attend that evening. It was an awesome surprise and I really appreciated his support and enthusiasm for all of our hard work. Mr. Vicario from the OC Department of Ed also came that evening and was very complimentary of the students’ projects.
Out of my seventy-nine students I had fifty-three attend which was a wonderful turnout. Parents got to see tri-fold presentations (one even had a hole cut in it for an iPad to fit through and show a video and two of them had flashing lights), Tweets from the Crusades, infographics on the Black Death (made on Piktochart), large people-sized feudal characters, and food samples of Medieval fare were distributed with the cookbook that was created. Not only did we have wall-to-wall visitors in the multi-purpose room, we had the computer lab open for parents to check out videos, Canvas, Flowboards and Prezis that the students had made and then posted on Haiku. The feedback from the parents was awesome! They had a great time and were all really proud of their students and their dedication to learning the content and then teaching guests that night.
I will be sure to post some pictures from the evening.
I continue to wade in unchartered waters with Project Based Learning…but am LOVING it and so are the students! When you have a kid come up to you and say that this is “so much fun,” you know that learning is going on and they have NO idea! Not only are they learning the social studies content, but they are collaborating, being creative and utilizing technology in so many different ways.
I have a student who was trying to submit a video but he felt constrained to the thirty seconds provided by the app he was using. So I introduced him to iMovie by saying, “Give that a shot and see how it goes!” I helped him with nothing and allowed him to explore. He had a blast and has created a Crusades advertisement that is just so much fun and full of content. I think I have created a monster because he is using it for the next portion of his project…LOL! 🙂
When the students got to choose their next area of study I allowed them to choose from topics I had taken from the Middle Ages or they could come to me with their own idea, something they were passionate about learning more about. I want to make sure that they are invested in their learning. The ideas that came my way were AMAZING! I have some dancers who are learning Medieval dance routines, a student who is interested in cooking is making a recipe book and a sample of the food, a team that is interested in fashion and they want to learn more about the clothing from that time, students who are interested in how the armour was made, and so much more. I am excited to see what they do with these topics and how they represent their learning.
An area where I am struggling just a wee bit is in the assessment of it all. I need to generate rubrics so that I can assess their work. These rubrics will be simple and to the point. Once I generate them I will be sure to share on here in a future post. If you have any that I could utilize, don’t be shy and please share! 🙂 Any advice would be welcome! Because they are working in teams of two or three this makes it more complicated and an age old teacher problem arises…how do you assess fairly? When kids are in teams there is sometimes a student who chooses to hang back and not do so much. So in addition to the rubrics, I am going to have the team members utilize a Google form and give me feedback on their experience. I will also have the students assess themselves.
Oh…we have scheduled our “Knight at the Museum” and the kids are super excited to share what they have been learning with their families. We have a food service provided so parents don’t have to worry about dinner that night and hopefully we will get some proceeds back to our grade level team. If you are in the Tustin area and want to come and check this showcase out, please do!
That’s all from me for now and more on this adventure at a future date! 🙂