Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 1 of PBL: On a Mission

Today was the beginning of our project/problem-based learning where I began by sharing with my students about entering a realm of the unknown to let them know that I am a risk-taker as well as a learner. It is so important to create an atmosphere of having a growth mindset and modeling for the students that I am not afraid of failing. Does that lessen the uncomfortable and uncertain feeling that I have about what lies ahead? Absolutely not! However, I will proceed with only a positive frame of mind as we all embark on a new adventure!

At the beginning of each class, I briefly defined project-based learning as a project that is student-directed. This is an opportunity where they will discover answers to questions through real world investigations. I asked them to brainstorm what they imagined their roles to be during this process, and they shared the following responses:

team players
collaborative workers
providers of feedback
technology users
recorders of information
risk takers
problem solvers
decision makers

I then asked them to activate prior knowledge by sharing the top ten reasons for going to space as well as the drawbacks from it. As they shared their answers, I typed them on our Wiki to gather all of their brainstorming ideas. They ended class by writing a reflection that had them thinking about deciding when risks were worth taking and when they weren't.

Throughout this project, I will be integrating the required grammar and writing skills for 5th grade English and I am using the science curriculum as the topic for the project. The students will apply pronouns: personal, indefinite, interrogative, demonstrative, reflexive, as well as pronoun/antecedent agreement. The writing skills that they will be strengthening will involve adding strong supports to the claims they make. All of this will done in the context of their writing as they work toward the completion of their project.

The next step will include the viewing of various videos and the reading of articles regarding space flight and space missions. They will record questions that they would like to further investigate, and after compiling the results, a final list of guiding questions will be posted from which students will choose. They will be grouped according to interests and they will find a problem to solve.

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