Monday, February 17, 2014

Invent to Learn Week 4: What Makes a Good Project? and Teaching

There is so much great stuff in this week's chapters. What project(s) do your students do that they talk about when you run into them at the grocery store or mall years later? What do you think of the matra "Less Us, More Them"? What is your biggest concern about moving to a making and tinkering classroom? For next week, read chapters 6 and 7, "Making Today" and "The Game Changers."

9 comments:

  1. As I read these two chapters, I couldn't help but think about what we're required to do in the classroom, which goes against everything that most of us know we should be doing. The last "project" that I incorporated, which students still talk about today, is a scrapbooking project. Students still come up to me and brag how they've kept them all through school and even set them out during graduation parties.

    I completely agree with less us- more them. As teachers, we have definitely been programmed to tell students what to think, how to think, and even when to think. Launching Genius Hour in my classroom a month ago- has been a true eye-opening experience. It's been amazing how many students had no idea of how to get started. Some of them even said to me, "I don't get it." They didn't get it, because they never get to think for themselves. We're constantly assessing and preparing them for another test.

    I am excited to move towards a tinkering classroom. The difficult task is integrating what we're told to do and doing what we know we should do. I'm sitting here tonight grading argumentative essays. As I read these chapters, all I can think about is the purpose of the rubric, the grade, and the purpose behind our assignments. A truly thinking chapter!.......

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have my seniors create a social satire video. Each student can incorporate friends, family, or other classmates. These videos have been shared on Facebook and with other family members. I know that this project works because the students keep asking other teachers if they can watch the videos in their classes too.

    My biggest concern about projects and project-based learning is that I will not be able to focus on the English 10 skills needed for my students to pass the required End-of-Course Assessment.

    ReplyDelete
  3. When I had a classroom, I felt I could give my students the opportunity to invent, inquire and tinker if I had the standards form the framework but the outcome was the work of the students. My students' best projects were ones that had real world connections to our learning. Teachers I know that can provide a meaningful learning experience for their students are inventors and tinkerers themselves. What if the teacher is not creative or imaginative? That seems to be the biggest challenge for an administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The "less us more them" portion was so timely for me. I have working on preparing a workshop for our "New Teacher Academy" entitled "Integrating Technology for the 21st Century Learner." I had all of the tools I wanted to share with them organized in LiveBinders or on my Symbaloo, my struggle was what should I actually be teaching (ie- guiding them through) during the presentation. The "old school" portion of me said that I need to guide teachers through these resources and maybe even take time to actually set up an account or two for resources that I felt would benefit them the most. My evolving mindset said I should give them a good start by integrating a few tools in my introduction, and then give them time to explore the resources on their own during the session. While I knew it would be best for my audience of K-12 teachers who have access to various technological resources, I still struggled with the decision to actually run the session in this manner. It became very apparent to me that I'm still inclined to be the "sage on the stage." I had to keep telling myself that giving them time to explore their own interests was not taking the easy way out. It indeed was not only what they needed, it is what they wanted. I used Socrative to take a quick poll of my audience to ask who would rather explore on their own or tour the resource with my guidance, and I only had one person indicate they wanted more instruction from me. I'm glad my evolving mindset won this argument, and I think those attending the presentation would agree too!

    ReplyDelete
  5. The idea that really stuck out the most to me was the notion of projects being less prescriptive. I am a firm believer and strive for “less me, more them” however, I tend to let my type A personality get the best of me and overly direct students. I have been guilty many times of giving too much direction and therefore stifling creativity and new ideas. This reading helped me to see ways to keep this from happening. The reading also confirmed for me the idea of not being afraid to let students attempt projects or pursue ideas in which I am unfamiliar.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Less us and more them! Reminds me of the saying "Be the guide on the side, not the sage on stage." I love to have my students be tech helpers. We even have Tech Buddy classes with older classes helping the younger classes with tech projects. Teachers and students need time to explore and learn from each other.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow. Again I'm overwhelmed at the thought of trying to change how we teach to how we know we should teach. I feel VERY underqualified as most of my own learning experiences as a student were instruction based and I've rarely seen this kind of teaching modeled. As I continue to plan my lessons, I will keep the "less me-more them" thought at the forefront of my mind. I look forward to more concrete examples of how to implement "making" today in Chapter 6.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I appreciate them emphasizing that a learner’s curiosity, experience, discovery, or wonder, is an important part of education. The stories I have loved over the years would be what they applied and live from serious life lessons I taught them and those skills gained from hands-on projects. During my teaching career, I have been fortunate to have more of those moments than the average educator due to the subject area I teach.

    On project based learning, I am already seeing that some basic principles are being skipped over in the core subject areas. Often project-based learning involve groups with some not doing their share and/or does not even involve much inventing or tinkering.

    In my Advanced Child Development, some of my students picked low cost items but before I know they have added expensive items. I am thinking for that cost, they could have made such and such. I must step back and realize that it must satisfy them more than me.

    We have already run into problems, but we are working to solve them. We are using our brains and hands trying to resolve issues that have cropped up. When I think of Matra, in that class it is definitely more them and less me. They have taken ownership of their projects. My biggest concern is not so much time invested but money spent and possible project failure. I know our snow E-learning days forced and/or inspired them to pick their own project, so I am trying harder to take a backseat and let them drive. Sometimes I jump in the passenger seat and try to help them along the path to our unknown destination.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This was such an interesting chapter to me. I realize I need to do a better job of expressing to students and their parents that sometimes frustration leads to thinking. I have several students and parents this year who constantly want very specific, detailed instructions for the simplest of assignments. I know this is their insecurity in wanting to do well or wanting their child to do well. It does stifle thinking and creativity at times. A former ninth grade teacher in my building frequently said, "I want students to take charge of their autonomy." Now I know what he was trying to say. Ninth grade is a year in which students make a developmental leap; they are no longer "junior high/middle school" and their grades "count" toward their high school GPA. Some students are ready and willing to make that leap, and some are scared they will make mistakes. I need to remember to emphasize to students that everyone makes mistakes, but this is how we grow and learn.

    My biggest concern with project based learning is that sometimes one or more students in a group don't do much work. In the past I've been more of a fan of project based learning with individual projects. However, I know this is only taking the concept so far. Students need to be actively involved with other students to enhance learning at times. I continue to look for ways to do group work that I can like. I am still in the tinkering stage of including more project based learning in my own classes.

    ReplyDelete