From High School Freshman to College Senior, A Former Student Shares Her Final PBL Reflections

There was a time that I shielded Maddie’s identity while she was a minor, writing reflections on my blog about her experiences in my classroom. Today, however, there is little need to as many of you who follow the blog already know her story well. (Oh, and the fact that she is graduating college this semester with an aerospace engineering degree from Georgia Tech and is well on her way to full-fledged adulthood!) I asked Maddie to write one last reflection that would encompass her experiences from a freshman in my first ever project-based learning (PBL) classroom to her impending college graduation. What follows is a heartfelt reflection on her experiences and the advice she has to give to all of us–students, teachers, employers, parents, etc. I am truly honored she continues to be so willing to share her story here. For context and interest, I’m linking her other writings below. I hope you enjoy what Maddie has to say as much as I do.

1st Post (2014) // 2nd Post (2015) // 3rd Post (2016) // 4th Post (2016) // Bonus Studio Reunion

by Maddie Sibilia

It’s been a whole two-and-a-half years since I last wrote a piece for this blog. At the time, I was in the midst of my second internship and had just finished my second full year as a student at Georgia Tech. To say a lot has changed since then would be an understatement.

I’m now in my last semester of my fifth and final year at Georgia Tech, and man, did time fly by. In the time between, I had the privilege of serving as a director for Wreck Camp, an extended orientation program at GT (which – side note – all incoming students should attend), as well as two Wreck Camp staffs and one FASET orientation staff; assisted in the founding of College Club Swimming as a new national governing body (NGB) under the U.S. Masters Swimming umbrella; added a minor in Engineering and Business to my plan of study; planned and ran not one but two College Club Swimming National Championship swim meets that boasted nearly 2100 and 2200 athletes, respectively; took my first solo trip abroad to London to visit one of my dearest friends who is now living there; got more involved with masters swimming becoming a member of the Georgia LMSC (local masters swimming committee) board of directors and later being elected to serve as the youngest-ever member of the U.S. Masters Swimming Board of Directors; and, most recently, accepted my first big girl job at the Boeing Company, specifically within Boeing Commercial Airplanes, in Everett, Washington.

Read more…

A Note: A Former Student Recalls the Value of Her Project-Based Learning Experience

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This will be a rather busy week, so the next part of the “Building an Ethic of Caring in the Classroom” will likely be delayed. As a quick preview, the post will explore the nature of how a classroom, at times, sets itself up to have winners meaning there has to be losers, and the dire implications that can have on a student’s education. See parts 1, 2, 3,  and 4 by clicking the linked numbers.

Today I am simply sharing a note I received from a former student, Tiffany, who was part of my first project-based learning (PBL) immersive classroom (The Studio) with my friend and colleague, Nic Carroll. Her note is a reminder why teaching is such a rewarding occupation, and it certainly champions what PBL as an instructional approach may inspire. Tiffany is a recent graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Enjoy!

Hi Carroll and Jones-y,

Before I begin, I am typing this on my slow, laggy phone, so I apologize (particularly to Coach Jones) for any typos…

I just wanted to send you a little note to thank you both AGAIN for being such an influential people early in my career. I know I have thanked you both before, but I will be eternally grateful for the impact you made in my life.

PBL completely changed my life aspirations early on, teaching me to pursue my passions, regardless of what the world was telling me. PBL allowed me to explore my creative side, transforming PowerPoint presentations into memorable experiences and creating websites and logos, early in my ‘career’.

On Wednesday, I interviewed for a graphic design position that also includes PowerPoint design/animation. Let’s just say that PBL came up, and I found myself reminiscing back to the moments with PBL that truly changed my life.

Fast forward to today… I was just offered the position a few hours ago and am so excited. While I have loved and will continue the freelance life as the Founder/CEO of TDang Designs LLC, I am super pumped to be learning and working under someone else. And as I celebrate with my friends and family, I just wanted to share my life update with 2 people that have been an integral part in shaping who I am today.

I can’t thank you both enough…

So much love,
Tiffany

No, Tiffany, thank you!

Student Voices: Intern Edition “WBL is What You Make of It”

Student Voices

by Andy C.

“I’ve been yearning for the experiences and professional growth I’m getting everyday at [GCPS TV].”

When you think of the term intern, what immediately pops into your head? To me, I think of someone running around the office tending to the needs of senior staffers, getting their coffee, copying meeting agendas and performing the lowest of tasks in the office. For me and my experiences, that could not be farther from the truth. I work for Gwinnett County Public Schools’ EMMY award-winning educational access TV station, GCPS TV, producing long-form programming and timely Focus Moment news stories as well as assisting in live and live-to-tape in-studio and on-location productions. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been yearning for the experiences and professional growth I’m getting everyday at the station. As I begin to reflect on my past year at GCPS TV, I realize how grateful I am to be apart of such an amazing team of industry professionals. Continue reading

Next Month: Teacher & Student Voice Series

I’m excited to announce (after a month long hiatus) two series that will be posted in tandem next month:

 

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While I will write a post as part the the ‘Eye Heart Teaching‘ series, most of the posts will be completed by guest writers–both students and teachers.

The ‘Student Voices: Intern Edition‘ series will include entries from my current internship students who are wrapping up their year as industry interns. They’ll reflect on their experiences, the benefits of interning, and may even critique the methods of the internship course itself.

The ‘Eye Heart Teaching‘ series will include entries from colleagues who will share everything from their recent research to evolving teaching and professional philosophies to sharing narratives about their favorite moments in their classrooms in 2017-18.

The first posts will be up by the first week of May. Stay tuned and be sure to share using the hashtag #EyeHeartTeaching and #StudentVoices

Revisiting Banksy (Again): Leveraging Visual Literacy & Documentary to Promote Critical Thinking

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As part of working on a publication that comes out later this year, I worked closely with my colleague and friend, Glenn Chance, in his classroom where he trusted me to help him implement work with visual literacy and connecting it to the work he was doing with memoir. Since I currently do not have my own ELA classroom, I truly appreciate Glenn allowing me to invade his planning and class time. There were several goals of this project and unit, but in today’s post I am only going to concentrate on how we developed visual literacy skills for students and how we partnered them with both memoir, author’s purpose, and documentary. Inside the post there is a breakdown of what we did and or reflections on those actions from our planning and class time in hopes what is shared can help you in your classroom or at the very least continue the conversation for the value of the explicit instruction of visual literacy. For anyone attending GCTE this year, we’ll be presenting this information there as well. Continue reading