Breath of Fresh Air

If you’ve read the blog recently than you know that earlier this week a few like-minded individuals, including myself, got together for what we deemed an un-PBL conference. The two days were both stellar experiences that culminated in some great vertical teaming with my middle school counterparts, new tech tools, and planning for a bright future for PBL in a few of our local schools. It was a small affair, but the intimate feel to the group allowed for some great collaborative sessions.

The bigger takeaways from the two days had to do with helping to shape what a grade 6 thought 12 model will look like in my school cluster. We are reaching an ever nearing pinnacle where solidifying a clear model is becoming necessary. It was encouraging to watch that model really start to take shape. From a personal stand point, I had a chance to consider new approaches such as devising more ‘entry events’ for new projects to heighten interest, working with students very early in the year to look closely at their schedules outside of school to see how much interference there is to finishing a project at times, and really developing a consistent format for formative assessments throughout a project phase. These are very doable improvements, but time and commitments can get in the way. It is my sincere hope that me and my colleagues can really execute some of these thoughts well this year. In a coming post I’ll address the concerns of how time consuming PBL feels and how daunting the setup feels too.

Finally, here are a few techie tools that were discussed and could be valuable to you:

1.) Wolfram Alpha – Amazing comparative search engine. This very well may change how our students research academically.

2.) LiveBinder – Not a Google Apps fan or expert? This could be a great place to have students organize and communicate digitally for projects.

3.) KickStarter – Need an idea for a project? Want to help students get their projects supported in the real world? Then check this beauty out!

A big thank you to Suzie Boss and Jane Krauss from joining us! (If you’re serious about getting PBL started in your classroom or school, these two ladies are a great place to start.)

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