Love You

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Project Based Learning

 This is seriously a case of the teacher learning as much as the students are learning.  When a project  incorporates different possible scenarios as a solution to a 'driving question', it is referred to as 'project based learning.'  It is the basis of my successful grant with BP Energy.

The students started with a real life situation, Earth Day, in April.  We read a Curious George book about planting a tree.  From there, the students were involved with an inquiry around the question "Should Recycling be Required?"  This inquiry involved understanding that some countries do a great job of recycling cans but others do not!  The students wrote a little opinion piece after the inquiry.

This led to this new 'driving question' What is Energy?  They had read that recycling saves energy, but did they know what energy was or why it should be saved?
Here's the real learning for me!  Our school district is requiring that students in Grades 4 to 12 bring their own device in September 2016.  I attended a number of inservices after school to learn about something called Google Classroom, which is a way to have students interact with technology provided by the teacher.  I decided to give this a try throughout this project.  Steep Learning curve for me!
Old habits die hard, and in doing my research about what other teachers are doing, it became clear that since my class does not have their own devices, I needed to have the good old fashioned bulletin board to refer to during the lessons.  The students could not be expected to have a device open all throughout to refer to.  They are just learning how to navigate this system along with me.
You might have heard that in Alberta, a ministerial order was signed and that school communities are being required to report of students' progress in the competencies, also known as the 3 E's: being an engaged thinker,  ethical citizen, showing an entrepreneurial spirit and in Catholic Schools, having an evangelical heart.

Here is another way to discuss the changing way we look at students' learning.  We want them to be 21st Century learners who possess these skills: communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking.
The students log into a google classroom where I ask them a question.  I also include a little video to help them think about the question, or provide them with some information.  Today's two little videos were to answer our next driving question "What types of energy are there?'
Here are the ideas that they came up with and then, using their different coloured highlighters

they collaborated and which items on this picture should be which colour. Their group had to be in agreement before a colour could be used.  It gave them a chance to really communicate.

Fingers crossed, I took a little clip of the loud but enjoyable moments of discussion today.
I hope it works!

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