Teacher Appreciation Week 2021…It’s True…  I Teach Because I Can’t Do Anything Else

“To find out what one is fitted to do, and to secure an opportunity to do it, is the key to happiness.” ― John Dewey

it is especially important this years to say… Happy 2021 Teacher Appreciation Week!  The amazing work that teachers have been doing at meeting student needs has really been apparent during this past year. Keep in mind that educators have been doing this all along! As I extend my best wishes to all educators I wish to share with you one of my favorite annual  postings. I hope you find this reflection, one that you will continue to enjoy and share with others!   Also, please take a moment to subscribe to this blog by RSS or email and  join me on twitter at mjgormans . I have some great posts coming your way involving PBL, STEM, tech integration. Most of all, thanks for being one of those over 30,000 visitors a month and over 14,000 subscribers.  I would appreciate it if you pass this special post on to others through email , your blog, school newsletter, or a retweet!  Help me honor all of those amazing educators!

Sign up and retweet… – Mike Gorman (21centuryedtech)

Booking Info –  Look for contact information at the Booking Site. I have a distance learning workshop and session entitled “STEM is a Verb”. In fact… the Workshop is also a Verb! i also have a new 1 hour workshop “Preparing for  PBL”. It really promotes that 4C Classroom. Perhaps you wish to investigate PBL in the eLearning and Blended Classroom. These can also be builts into a 1/2 day or full day session and are very interactive! Schools have loved it! Talk with me about your winter,spring and summer… or even fall planning for 2021. You can also contact me at mjgormans@gmail.com. Happy holidays!

Teacher Appreciation Week 2021…It’s True…  I Teach Because I Can’t Do Anything Else! (21centuryedtech.wordpress.com)

OK, so it’s true! I have spent  over 42 years in education because I cannot do anything else! Today, I travel around the country providing professional development involving all sorts of exciting educational possibilities. In those school districts I do my best to provide learning experiences for students and educators just as I have always done in the classroom. The idea of not being able to do anything else actually is something I have learned in the last ten years,  something I did not know  when I  presented my very first classroom lesson! I actually  began my undergraduate career in the College of Business with an eye on marketing. In the early stages of my teaching career, I became licensed to sell securities with the idea of becoming rich!  Little did I know that because I could only teach, I would find richness beyond monetary wealth! I dedicate this list of reasons to all of those great educators who teach because they cannot do anything else! Again, please retweet and share with all of our colleagues that really can’t do anything else! I would really appreciate you taking the time to share!  Most of all enjoy the week and know that you are appreciated! – Mike Gorman

“To find out what one is fitted to do, and to secure an opportunity to do it, is the key to happiness.” ― John Dewey

The List

  1. I can’t be a banker or work in the financial business because while I might enjoy counting money and financial growth, I would rather count and measure the success of my students.
  2. I can’t be a doctor or dentist because  while I enjoy seeing people smile as they leave and are healed, I get even more satisfaction if I see a smile when they first sit down.
  3. I can’t be a professional athlete because while I do enjoy competition, I get even more satisfaction coaching young people to play each game with honor, integrity, and respect.
  4. I can’t be a computer programmer because while creating new digital applications is exciting, finding ways to integrate technology to inspire real learning is rewarding.
  5. I can’t work in agriculture or landscaping because while supplying food and natural beauty is appreciated by all, I enjoy planting seeds of life-long learning knowing that it will nourish one’s life.
  6. I can’t work as a cook or chef because while I appreciate the art in a great meal, I enjoy even more finding just the right ingredients that allow for a child’s success.
  7. I can’t work in sales or marketing because even though I have learned from their great people skills, I would rather sell students on their abilities and possibilities.
  8. I can’t be a pilot even though I appreciate them as I travel to new places, as I would rather facilitate young people as they climb in altitude and arrive at new destinations.
  9. I can’t be an artist despite my appreciation for the beauty they bring, as I have found that my art is the ability to inspire and nurture children as they discover their innate abilities.
  10. I can’t be a scientist or inventor because, while I am aware of the great advances they bring, I wish to create  innovative learning experiences that always end in success.

I could go on and on! As you can see, I really do appreciate all of the other professions and realize there are so many I can’t do. After all, as teachers, we really are preparing students for what they will do best in the world. Possibly in the future, those we teach will not be able to do anything else, because we have assisted them  in becoming the very best at what they do!  As I continue my journey I have expanded my teaching horizon and understand that a genuine educator, whether being a teacher, administrator, or educational leader, continue to teach and inspire others because they really can’t do anything else.

Historical Look – Both Political and Educational leaders started discussions for a day to honor our teachers in 1944.  Finally in 1953, Eleanor Roosevelt persuaded the 81st Congress to proclaim National Teachers’ Day. Remember this is a day to not just recognize teachers of today… but all of those teachers that made such an impact in all of our educations.

Quick Notes – Opportunities and resources you may want to be aware of for Teacher Appreciation Week. Teacher Appreciation Week is May 3 – 7, 2021

PTO Teacher Appreciation Resources – Popular ideas, printables, clip art, and planning tools to help you celebrate your teachers in May (and all throughout the year).

7 Meaningful Ways to to Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week – Take a look at these ideas and take a moment to recognize those special teachers.

National PTA  – Join National PTA  in saying “Thank You” during Teacher Appreciation Week, .

Google Teacher Appreciation Page – A great page filled with new resources for 2020!

Donors Choose – Check out these donation possibilities that will help teachers as they help students.

Booking Info –  Look for contact information at the Booking Site. I have a distance learning workshop and session entitled “STEM is a Verb”. In fact… the Workshop is also a Verb! i also have a new 1 hour workshop “Preparing for  PBL”. It really promotes that 4C Classroom. Perhaps you wish to investigate PBL in the eLearning and Blended Classroom. These can also be builts into a 1/2 day or full day session and are very interactive! Schools have loved it! Talk with me about your winter,spring and summer… or even fall planning for 2021. You can also contact me at mjgormans@gmail.com. Happy holidays!

A  big shout out to all  educators on a very special week!  Thanks for joining me on another journey dedicated to learning in the 21st Century! As always I invite you to follow me on Twitter (@mjgormans), I will return the favor and we can teach each other! I also encourage you to sign up for this blog by email or RSS.  I invite you to share this posts with others through email or a retweet!  Thanks for your visit and know that I will keep  sharing, teaching, and facilitating all learners, after all, I can’t do anything else! – Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech)

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Part 7… Critique and Revision: Free Blended and eLearning PBL Gold Standards Resources

Welcome to the seventh in a series of posts regarding Blending the PBL Gold Standards. I am very excited to share ideas relating to PBL and Blended/eLearning as it relates to this Blog’s topic of Student Critique and Revision. As I reflect, PBL has always been blended. Our challenge is… how to break down the classroom walls even more with the technology we have today. In this series, I am investigating each of the PBLWorks Gold Standards. I have been providing a short explanation and some free resources examples for each of the Gold Standards! Keep in mind that you may want to start small. That might include looking at a past project, or even a large multi-step lesson through the lens of the Gold Standards and free Blended/eLearning resources. The Gold Standards from PBLWorks are posted in the picture above. Enjoy this wonderful journey of learning. Before continuing, I would appreciate having you take a moment to subscribe to this Blog by RSS or email and follow me at (mjgormans). Taking that moment ensures that we can continue to network, something that is very important to me. Also, please share this post with others and even provide a re-tweet with tools at bottom.  Last, please check my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans.  Enjoy your PBL Journey! – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)\

Part 7… Critique and Revision: Free Blended and eLearning PBL Gold Standards Resources

It is often said that a cycle of authentic learning demands that students reflect, critique, and revise. In the last last blog I presented the important idea of reflection and how it is integral to the learning process. This is a step that so many time educators run out of time to do because they have to get to the next standard. We must remember that John Dewey Quote:

“We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.”

We must remember that reflection is an important element, but learning does not stop at this point. It is important to complete the cycle and continue with a critique of our learning and follow that with revising our thoughts. In this way, new understanding of the content is created. Let’s take a closer look.

Critique: It is important that students learn about, and have, the opportunity to critique. This can be a critique of a learning experience, project, lesson, concept, proposal, publication, etc. This critique involves a reflection and thorough inspection of the experience. Critique must be ongoing through out the project. It must involve peers, mentors, and teacher. Most important, it must involve the individual student. A part of this critique is a flow of constant inquiry, answers, and new questions. It should also include students in a collaborative setting. In the is way, they can see and understand learning experience from other’s perspectives. At the same time, it builds a culture of providing and accepting kind and meaningful feedback. This deepens the learning opportunity and builds out those important 4 C’s and the related success and career skills. It also allows for students to recognize and accept those hurdles that come up in their educational journey, while also providing an opportunity for celebration when success is found. Most of all, it opens the door to the next segment of this important cycle of learning.

Revision: Educators often ponder the idea of instilling rigor in the learning experience. How do they ensure that student experience deep and understandable learning while producing high quality work? The important act of reflecting and critiquing must be followed by revision. As students question, they must come up with answers that they act upon. These answers provide an opportunity to improve their understanding, or a product they are working on. Once again, this revision must be owned by the students and promoted through both individual persistence and group interaction. The classroom learning and production becomes more then a “do it… hand it in… and done”, but embraces the idea that learning and doing are an iterative process. This iteration includes reflection, critique, and revision and promotes the idea of life long learning.

Ways to Promote Critique and Revision in the Classroom

  1. Promote a culture of rigor by showing the importance of reflecting, critiquing, and revising. Provide modeling and bring in examples found in real life.
  2. Teach students that hurdles along the way are learning opportunities and help create better products and understanding.
  3. Set benchmarks and promote formative assessment that involves individual, peers, mentors, and teacher.
  4. Support kind yet specific and meaningful feedback along with an openness to critique. This must be modeled and students must be provided expectations which means rubrics are provided throughout the project and may even allow student input. Rubrics should be both content and skill driven.
  5. Provide protocols that include opportunities to reflect, critique, and revise learning and work. This might be a student gallery walk or a making thinking visible session such as Think Pair Share. How might some of these be done online?

Resources for Critique and Revision in PBL with Blended Opportunities  

I am including just a small set of resources that might help you develop critique and revision resources in PBL as you blend the possibilities. There are only five, and as you read them, think of ways you can take these ideas and blend them with technology. These resources provide possibilities that might be an entire PBL, just a learning activity inside a PBL, or possibly an online resource to help you better facilitate this gold standard. My primary focus was to find a few resources that might allow for some real student critique and revision across a wide range of subjects. Check out the links within the links… along with the sub links I provided. I realize there are so much more… but that will be for a later Blog or Book!

Better Lesson: – This article provides information on the Gallery Walk protocol including ways to promote it in the Blended Learning environment. Do you want more ideas on using the Gallery Walk Protocol in the classroom? Check out this video for some great possibilities.


New Tech CF: Discover a protocol that provides students a ways to critique their work and projects with an emphasis on reflection, critique, and revision
provided by the amazing New Tech School Network. You can learn more about the Critical Friends (Tuning Protocol) from this video at PBLWorks.

National School Reform Website – Discover a rich collection of learning protocols that can be used with teachers and with students. Remember that protocols must be strictly followed in order to work best. There are a lot to pick from. As you explore, think of how these might be used in an online environment. How might a Zoom Breakout Room, Google Slides, or Learning Management System Discussion Board work in?

Making Think Visible from Project Zero (Links to an external site.) – These are a group of metacognitive group protocols and activities that promote critical thinking through reflection, revision, and critique. They are powerful and will lead to student ownership of education with deeper learning and understanding. As you explore consider ways these could be brought into the online environment. I especially like this virtual look at Making Thinking Visible by John Spencer. You may want to spend more then a moment at these wonderful sites.

Common Sense Media Collaborative Tools – One of my favorite places to find peer reviewed education tools. With this link you will land on some tools that promote student collaboration and have possibilities to focus on reflection, critique, and revision. It is all about how the teacher sets it up. You can see an example for the free applications, Padlet and Google Slides from the article The Art of Education Digital Critique . Also, consider your LMS and always check your school Acceptable Use Policy before using with students.

Reflection on Critique and Revision

As you can see, the cycle of reflection, critique, and revision are an important part of the learning experience and critical to the PBL Classroom. It involves a formative process with constant assessment from peers, teachers, mentors, and the individual. As a student goes through setbacks and successes there is a growth, learning. quality work, engagement, rigor, and excitement, much like arriving at the next level of a video game. Students learn to produce quality products by working through cycles of teacher, peer, and self-critique. This iteration of learning turns into a flow while promoting and facilitating perseverance. Best of all, students conquer higher level content, while building on skills that will serve them in future schooling, the job place, and a wonderful future of life-long learning.

Next Post: Critique and Revision, PBL and the Blended Classroom… Sign Up Now!

Booking Info –  Look for contact information at the Booking Site. I have a distance learning workshop and session entitled “STEM is a Verb”. In fact… the Workshop is also a Verb! I also have a new 1 hour workshop “Preparing for  PBL”. It really promotes that 4C Classroom. Perhaps you wish to investigate PBL in the eLearning and Blended Classroom in another practical workshop. All of these and more can also be built into a 1/2 day or full day session, and are very interactive! Schools have loved it! Talk with me about your spring and summer… or even fall planning for 2021

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Part 6… Reflection and Metacognition: Free Blended and eLearning PBL Gold Standards Resources

Welcome to the sixth in a series of posts regarding Blending the PBL Gold Standards. I am very excited to share ideas relating to PBL and Blended/eLearning as it relates to this Blog’s topic of Student Reflection and Metacognition. As I reflect, PBL has always been blended. Our challenge is… how to break down the classroom walls even more with the technology we have today. In this series, I am investigating each of the PBLWorks Gold Standards. I have been providing a short explanation and some free resources examples for each of the Gold Standards! Keep in mind that you may want to start small. That might include looking at a past project, or even a large multi-step lesson through the lens of the Gold Standards and free Blended/eLearning resources. The Gold Standards from PBLWorks are posted in the picture above. Enjoy this wonderful journey of learning. Before continuing, I would appreciate having you take a moment to subscribe to this Blog by RSS or email and follow me at (mjgormans). Taking that moment ensures that we can continue to network, something that is very important to me. Also, please share this post with others and even provide a re-tweet with tools at bottom.  Last, please check my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans.  Enjoy your PBL Journey! – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)\

Part 6… Reflection and Metacognition: Free Blended and eLearning PBL Gold Standards Resources

You may have noticed that I have added Metacognition to Reflection. I feel these two concepts go together. Reflection must be meaningful and intentional providing students the opportunity top think about their thinking in relationship to the content and success skills that are part of the learning experience. John Dewey said it best in the following quote:

“We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.”

Project Based Learning is so much more then covering content though lecture and reading, followed by doing a project to show what one has learned. The project is the vehicle of reflection and metacognition allowing the students to get to a final destination with new and deeper learning as a reward. That final destination is a project that has been built along a highway filled with on and off ramps allowing for experiences filled with individual and collaborative investigation, reflection, research, experimentation, inquiry, metacognition, and authentic learning, These ramps have been built intentionally by the teachers to provide that important reflection and metacognition that will allow the project to be so much more than a noun, but  also a verb built on action and process. Learning really is a process. Let’s take a closer look at Reflection and Metacognition in PBL.

Reflection and Metacognition (Thinking about Thinking) – Often  the two terms metacognition and thinking are used together to demonstrate the need for students to be aware and reflective in their learning. Together these concepts allow for a deeper learning by asking students to reflect, think, critique, and apply learning. So many times, in a rush to get to the next content objective, education fails to allow students to focus on their learning. In PBL this happens at the entry event, through out middle project cycle of learning, and at the close of the project. Perhaps one of the most important post reflections might be… what can I now do with my learning?  It is important that students have that opportunity to think about thinking. Through this… learning is not the end product, but an important process, one that will last a lifetime. I will take a moment to dig a little deeper.


Emphasis on Process over Product (Doing) – PBL emphasizes the importance of the journey and not so much the destination. While the final product can be a wonderful and exciting occurrence, the journey is filled with important contents standards, skills, experiences, and intellectual growth. As John Dewey reminds educators, it really is the doing. There is an emphasis on the verbs found in the standards highlighting Bloom’s higher orders of process. It not just what one learned in school today… it is what one did and reflected on while building a type of internal self knowledge. Before looking at resources let me share one more Dewey quote. Please take a moment to reflect on it.

“Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results.”

Resources for Reflection and Metacognition in PBL with Blended Opportunities  

I am including just a small set of resources that might help you develop reflection and metacognition in PBL as you blend the possibilities. There are only five, and as you read them, think of ways you can take these ideas and blend them with technology. These resources provide possibilities that might be an entire PBL, just a learning activity inside a PBL, or possibly an online resource to help you better facilitate this gold standard. My primary focus was to find a few resources that might allow for some real student reflection and metacognition across a wide range of subjects. Check out the links within the links… along with the sub links I provided. I realize there are so much more… but that will be for a later Blog or Book!

Making Thinking Visible: – This is a site from Harvard’s Project Zero that provides routines to promote thinking and understanding. These concepts can be expanded into the Blended environment. You may want to visit this site that provides some of these routines in a virtual kind of way. You may want to look at this site that provides tech apps that work with different routines, or this other site that provides a look at Google Slides and Routines. After looking at all of this, I am sure you will see your thinking into some great possibilities.

Institute for Habits of the Mind: – This is a resource filled with multiple ideas that promote student cognition to promote deeper understanding. Check out their many resources including one of my favorite rubrics, be sure to take a look! How might this rubric be incorporated as virtual exits tickets, online self assessment, and classroom online discussions?

Kidblog:  – Explore this student blogging tool made just for students. Primary students may start with one class blog that the teacher oversees and uploads information to. There are many other blogging sites, make sure you do get school and parent approval if needed. Again, respect privacy and check your school AUP (Acceptable Use Policy)

SRI – Protocols:  – Protocols are powerful and when applied to learning and collaboration deeper learning becomes possible. Explore all the possibilities in this website, and think about ways to blend them online. How might you use ZOOM, Hangouts, Google Docs, Padlet, and discussions to bring these protocols into the virtual world? Be sure to start with just a few. I am providing this wonderful article from Edutopia to provide an example in this unique style of blended thinking. Do you want something simple like just using a Chat Room? Check out this Edutopia article? What might you come up with?

Virtual Discussion Modules: – Take your discussion and discover ways to blend it online to make it both powerful and archived for further learning. This reading might give you new ways to use the discussion feature in your LMS and provide students reflection and metacognition time.

Reflection on Student Reflection and Metacognition

I heard someone once state that learning does not happen until we think and reflect on our learning. Providing the student with the time to do this might be the most important part of their education. As one can see Project Based Learning is very intentional in providing the student with time for reflection and metacognition.. The teacher truly is a designer, facilitator, and activator allowing students to see their thinking, along with the thinking of others. There is a constant formative process allowing students to progress through metacognition, iterative cycles, and deeper and deeper learning experiences. It is an exciting journey for both teachers and students, one where each side trip adds to the entire process. The destination is bound to be filled with a celebration of learning and new possibilities!

Next Post: Critique and Revision, PBL and the Blended Classroom… Sign Up Now!

Booking Info –  Look for contact information at the Booking Site. I have a distance learning workshop and session entitled “STEM is a Verb”. In fact… the Workshop is also a Verb! I also have a new 1 hour workshop “Preparing for  PBL”. It really promotes that 4C Classroom. Perhaps you wish to investigate PBL in the eLearning and Blended Classroom in another practical workshop. All of these and more can also be built into a 1/2 day or full day session, and are very interactive! Schools have loved it! Talk with me about your spring and summer… or even fall planning for 2021

Leave a comment

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Part 5… Student Voice: Free Blended and eLearning PBL Gold Standards Resources

Welcome to the fifth in a series of posts regarding Blending the PBL Gold Standards. I am very excited to share ideas relating to PBL and Blended/eLearning as it relates to this Blog’s topic of Student Voice and Choice. As I reflect, PBL has always been blended. Our challenge is… how to break down the classroom walls even more with the technology we have today. In this series, I am investigating each of the PBLWorks Gold Standards. I have been providing a short explanation and some free resources examples for each of the Gold Standards! Keep in mind that you may want to start small. That might include looking at a past project, or even a large multi-step lesson through the lens of the Gold Standards and free Blended/eLearning resources. The Gold Standards from PBLWorks are posted in the picture above. Enjoy this wonderful journey of learning. Before continuing, I would appreciate having you take a moment to subscribe to this Blog by RSS or email and follow me at (mjgormans). Taking that moment ensures that we can continue to network, something that is very important to me. Also, please share this post with others and even provide a re-tweet with tools at bottom.  Last, please check my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans.  Enjoy your PBL Journey! – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Booking Info –  Look for contact information at the Booking Site. I have a distance learning workshop and session entitled “STEM is a Verb”. In fact… the Workshop is also a Verb! I also have a new 1 hour workshop “Preparing for  PBL”. It really promotes that 4C Classroom. I have a number of distance interactive workshops that can be made to fit your schedule. Schools have loved it! Talk with me about your spring and summer… or even fall planning for 2021.

Part 5… Student Voice and Choice: Free Blended and eLearning PBL Gold Standards Resources by Michael Gorman at 21centuryedtech

One of the most powerful attributes of Project Based Learning is that it is both student centered and driven. The student autonomy may come in varying degrees depending on student age, student experience with PBL, and teacher experience and comfort in both facilitating and activating a PBL learning experience. PBL at its most powerful stage is a deep learning experience allowing students to self-regulate and gain insight into their own learning process. PBL employs student ownership, voice and choice, personalized and relevant experiences, and a culture of learning that can drive
engagement, rigor, and student success.

1. Ownership (Self-Regulated)
2. Personalized (Student Voice)
3. Student Driven Culture


Ownership (Self Regulated) – A goal of PBL is for the student to gain ownership of the learning and the process associated with learning. In a true PBL environment the teachers is a partner that not just facilitates, but activates this process. The goal is
learning that becomes self-regulated by the student. The amount of ownership will depend on student maturity, comfort, and past experience with PBL. The teacher must also have a comfort level built on experience in the PBL classroom. The steps from
teacher controlled to student autonomy may come in increments,, and teachers should feel free to begin at the bottom of the stairs when they first implement. As students begin to own the learning a new classroom synergy becomes evident.
Personalized (Student Voice) – A student centered learning environment allows student to choose how to learn, within given parameters, that can support essential content and skills. This personalized ownership begins with giving students voice and choice in certain areas, eventually growing to a large part of the process as comfort levels and experience rises. When students have a voice and choice there is an exciting empowerment which leads to wonderful engagement. This voice and choice may be a say in classroom operations, creation of contracts, choosing tools to demonstrate learning, and even deciding on an interest within the boundaries of the standards. The teacher in a PBL classroom provides differentiation using grouping, roles, one on one conversations during group work time, and tasks in the scaffold. At the highest levels of PBL students become familiar with their strength and strategies in learning. Having the ability to personalize the learning experience students can often see relevance of the why and what they are learning. They are able to take with them an important skill of lifelong learning which will serve them beyond their formal schooling.
Student Driven Culture – A student centered PBL classroom and related project portrays a unique and powerful culture that embraces and fosters learning. Students learn what it means to be a member of a Personal Learning Community. The classroom
is a place of opportunity, wonder, expression, excitement, and knowledge. Critique and revision by individuals and peers are a common place and performed in a kind, caring, and effective manner. Norms are established and protocols are honored. The idea of process and formative learning trumps content acquisition, although content is still rich and becomes more vibrant. Learning is student regulated. The students in a true PBL classroom genuinely display an understanding that they really do own their learning.

Resources for Authenticity, PBL, and Blended Learning  

I am including just a small set of resources that might help you develop student voice and choice in PBL as you blend the possibilities. There are only five, and as you read them, think of ways you can take these ideas and blend them with technology. These resources provide possibilities that might be an entire PBL, or just a learning activity inside a PBL. My primary focus was to find a few resources that might allow for some real student voice and choice across a wide range of subjects. I realize there are so much more… but that will be for a later Blog or Book!

Pedagogy Wheel: This wheels provides a lot of technology tools that students might be able to use to choose a way to publish their answers to the DQ while demonstrating their learning. Let students use this wheel to determine what tool they might use to present their learning. Remember to allows follow your district AUP (Acceptable Use Policy).

Google Custom Search Engine. Why not have your students research and create their own search engine after vetting websites in a certain subject area? They will be learning searching skills and website evaluation techniques. Best of all, individual, groups, or the whole class own the search engine. It is easy to learn how!

Common Sense Education: Explore this awesome site that might allow you to put students in the center of their learning. Have students look at a list of apps and websites. They can determine what to use for presenting their learning in the EdTech Reviews Section. You will note these are all vetted by educators. When putting students online it is important that they all have some learning experience in Digital Citizenship. Be sure to check out the free curriculum in this area. Remember to allows follow your district AUP.

Genius Hour – This concept really allows students to look into their passions for a whole world of learning, or areas of interest in just one subject area. It is possible to still cover content standards while also bringing out the 21st Century Skill success qualities. Any project based on Genius Hour will also bring in those important Language Art Skills of research, writing, and presentation… with a connection to any subject. Best of all, think of all of those blended possibilities.

Edutopia Article: This article provides several ways that a teacher can provide for putting students in the center of their learning. What tools are in your blended learning portfolio that might facilitate ideas in this article? There may even be ways to leverage your student learning management system (LMS).

Reflection on Student Voice and Choice

Learning will always be most powerful when the student is in the center of the experience. Putting the student in the center provides a motivation and engagement that will serve well beyond the formal education years. Perhaps the most learning a child ever does is in those years before school. These are years when a child is in the center asking observing, questioning, and trying. There is no formal instruction, and perhaps that is for the best. PBL allows students to go back to that amazing time period of wonder and excitement while the teacher carefully crafts experiences and activates possibilities while keeping in mind that the student must be in the center.

Next Post: Reflection and Metacognition, PBL and the Blended Classroom… Sign Up Now!

Booking Info –  Look for contact information at the Booking Site. I have a distance learning workshop and session entitled “STEM is a Verb”. In fact… the Workshop is also a Verb! I also have a new 1 hour workshop “Preparing for  PBL”. It really promotes that 4C Classroom. Perhaps you wish to investigate PBL in the eLearning and Blended Classroom in another practical workshop. All of these and more can also be built into a 1/2 day or full day session, and are very interactive! Schools have loved it! Talk with me about your spring and summer… or even fall planning for 2021

Leave a comment

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Part 4… Authenticity: Free Blended and eLearning PBL Gold Standards Resources

Welcome to the fourth in a series of posts regarding Blending the PBL Gold Standards, I am very excited to share on PBL and Blended/eLearning as it relates to this Blog’s topic of Authenticity. As I reflect, PBL has always been blended. Our challenge is… how to break down the classroom walls even more with the technology we have today. In this series, I will look at each of PBLWork’s Gold Standards. I will provide a short explanation and some free resources examples! Keep in mind that you may want to start small. That might include looking at a past project, or even a large multi-step lesson through the lens of the Gold Standards and free Blended/eLearning resources The Gold Standards from PBLWorks are posted in the picture above. Enjoy this wonderful journey of learning. Before continuing, I would appreciate having you take a moment to subscribe to this Blog by RSS or email and follow me at (mjgormans). Taking that moment ensures that we can continue to network, something that is very important to me. Also, please share this post with others and even provide a re-tweet with tools at bottom.  Last, please check my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans.  Enjoy your PBL Journey! – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Booking Info –  Look for contact information at the Booking Site. I have a distance learning workshop and session entitled “STEM is a Verb”. In fact… the Workshop is also a Verb! I also have a new 1 hour workshop “Preparing for  PBL”. It really promotes that 4C Classroom. I have a number of distance interactive workshops that can be made to fit your schedule. Schools have loved it! Talk with me about your spring and summer… or even fall planning for 2021.

Part 4… Authenticity: Free Blended and eLearning PBL Gold Standards Resources by Michael Gorman at 21centuryedtech

Learning must be authentic and meaningful in order for the content to really be understood and usable. While there are several education models that promote this idea, it is a necessity in a well-planned Project Based Learning (PBL) Unit. While memorizing and reciting facts may actually give some positive results on a test, it demonstrates only the lowest levels of learning as represented at the bottom of Bloom’s Taxonomy. PBL provides students that authentic learning experience that allows for real world applications, purpose, student relevant, and an audience beyond their classroom walls. Read more about these four special indicators of an authentic learning experience. While a PBL project may not always have every indicator, it is important to keep these qualities in mind when designing a project

  • Real World (True to the World)
  • Purposeful… The …So what
  • Relevant to the Here and Now
  • Audience and Mentors

1. True to the World – Learning must have meaning which extends to the real world, outside the walls of the brick and mortar classroom. The equations of math and the theories of science are a language of their own and reside in that real world. Today’s technology allows students to interact with the larger community, visit another continent, and even travel across the solar system. Curricular concepts and standards can become real and filled with meaning.
2. Purposeful – PBL provides students a purpose, allowing students to work on purposeful projects that can make a difference to others. This project is the process and the final results not only provide a reason and purpose. While a diorama displaying a garden can demonstrate some basic learning at the end of the unit, a student initiated vegetable garden that provides food to the community provides real purpose. Students begin to see why they are doing and learning and are provided the opportunity to contribute to a greater community. As students envision the project and its results… it must really answer the… So What?
3. Relevant to the Here and Now – A common question from students is often, “Why do we need to learn this?” The typical answer is often, “Because you will need it someday. Students should be learning concepts and ideas now, because they also need it now. A PBL Unit might put them in the middle of saving a building, helping the less fortunate, communicating with a culture across the world, creating a museum, writing books for younger children, or authoring an article for Wikipedia. When students know why they are learning and using their knowledge to make a difference, a whole new deeper learning results. They may actually be able to tell their parents what they learned in
school today, and more importantly describe what they did!
4. Real Audience and Mentors – A classroom is filled with students and a teacher and their interaction can be powerful. PBL promotes the idea of the classroom being the entire world. Providing students an authentic audience beyond their classroom is powerful. It promotes rigor and quality work because students realize their work is to be on display and will be viewed by more than their teacher and peers. It could be another classroom or better yet, of the world whether it is real or virtual. Audience can also be an ongoing part of any project in the form of mentors and experts. This capability can exist in the classroom or even online using proper procedures.

Resources for Authenticity, PBL, and Blended Learning:  – I am including just a small set of resources that might help you develop authenticity in PBL as you blend the possibilities. There are only five, and as you read them, think of ways you can take these ideas and blend them with technology. These resources provide possibilities that might be an entire PBL, or just a learning activity inside a PBL. My primary focus was to find a few resources that might allow for some real authenticity across a wide range of subjects. I realize there are so much more… but that will be for a later Blog or Book!

iEARN: A global site crossing all disciplines promoting class to class collaboration throughout the world. Provides connection to UN Sustainable Development Goals. Here you can get your class involved across multiple disciplines with schools across the community, state, county, and world. Best of you will find PBL that is already blended.

Taking It Global – A Global space that promotes projects perfect for a PBL and Blended Classroom while making learning authentic for students. The connections and ideas are amazing and will engage students while supporting the standards.

Nepris – Welcome to a site that connects educators with a vast network of industry professionals to engage students in their learning and prepare them for their future. Professionals now have the opportunity to share their skills and knowledge with learners to inspire the next generation of the workforce. I believe that every PBL should have some kind of career connection. This site provides an experience that connects student to career and college possibilities!

Virtual Fieldtrip Collection – This is an amazing spreadsheet filled with authentic virtual PBL fieldtrip possibilities. How might you build these into a blended lesson that allows students to leave the classroom and their home? You will find a wonderful collection from museums, zoos, parks, industry, business, and even Skype sessions with experts. These examples just scratch the surface of possibilities.

Teachers’ Guide To Global Projects – This organization brings great resources to the classroom through the support of the Longview Foundation. Be prepared to spend some time looking at possibilities for real world connections using the blended classroom. The resources are sure to make learning in your school and classroom come alive with amazing authentic connections.

Reflection on Authenticity
As you can see, an authentic learning experience is of prime importance when designing and planning Project Based Learning for students at any level. Through this practice students can see real world application that provides meaning. They are involved in a purpose that facilitates engagement and passion. They interact with an audience and mentors providing a gateway that employs rigor and quality work. Best of all, technology and the blended classroom allows authenticity to become amplified creating new possibilities for applying real meaning to the standards. The result… learning that is deeper and rich in understanding.

Next Post: Student Voice and Choice, PBL and the Blended Classroom… Sign Up Now!

Booking Info –  Look for contact information at the Booking Site. I have a distance learning workshop and session entitled “STEM is a Verb”. In fact… the Workshop is also a Verb! I also have a new 1 hour workshop “Preparing for  PBL”. It really promotes that 4C Classroom. Perhaps you wish to investigate PBL in the eLearning and Blended Classroom in another practical workshop. All of these and more can also be built into a 1/2 day or full day session, and are very interactive! Schools have loved it! Talk with me about your spring and summer… or even fall planning for 2021

 

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Part 3… Sustained Inquiry: Free Blended and eLearning PBL Gold Standards Resources

Welcome to the third in a series of posts regarding Blending the PBL Gold Standards, I am very excited to share on PBL and Blended/eLearning as it relates to Sustained Inquiry. As I reflect, PBL has always been blended. Our challenge is… how to break down the classroom walls even more with the technology we have today. In this series, I will look at each of PBLWork’s Gold Standards. I will provide a short explaination and some free resources examples! Keep in mind that you may want to start small. That might include looking at a past project, or even a large multi-step lesson through the lens of the Gold Standards and free Blended/eLearning resources The Gold Standards from PBLWorks are posted in the picture above. Enjoy this wonderful journey of learning. Before continuing, I would appreciate having you take a moment to subscribe to this Blog by RSS or email and follow me at (mjgormans). Taking that moment ensures that we can continue to network, something that is very important to me. Also, please share this post with others and even provide a re-tweet with tools at bottom.  Last, please check my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans.  Enjoy your PBL Journey! – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Booking Info –  Look for contact information at the Booking Site. I have a distance learning workshop and session entitled “STEM is a Verb”. In fact… the Workshop is also a Verb! I also have a new 1 hour workshop “Preparing for  PBL”. It really promotes that 4C Classroom. Perhaps you wish to investigate PBL in the eLearning and Blended Classroom in another practical workshop. All of these and more can also be built into a 1/2 day or full day session, and are very interactive! Schools have loved it! Talk with me about your winter,spring and summer… or even fall planning for 2021.

Part 3… Sustained Inquiry: Free Blended and eLearning PBL Gold Standards Resources by Michael Gorman at 21centuryedtech

As a teacher, it is very hard to not answer student questions. Yet, if we want students to own the inquiry, it is important to practice “answer restraint” in order to promote not just student answers… but more great student questions. As we all know, children are born with a natural inquiry  and those first five years are a gold mine of inquiry, questions, and wonderment! As children enter school they soon learn to stop asking questions, and instead look to the teacher for answers! PBL allows students to not only ask questions, but they also own this inquiry. As they own the inquiry not only do they find the answers… they also learn to ask even more questions that become deeper and facilitate authentic understanding.

Sustained Inquiry:  Need to Know(s) that allow students to uncover the standards.

In a world filled with so much instant information, it is important  to teach students to ask even more questions as they seek possible answers. So many times we talk about “lifelong learning” and its importance to personal adaptability in a rapidly changing society and workplace. It is developing student skills to ask good questions while seeking out more questions, and eventual answers, that are at the foundation of “life-long learning”! It is only when students own the inquiry that they also begin to own, direct, and self-regulate their own learning. At this point, learning becomes both passionate and authentic. The question remains, how do we as educators make it happen? Please take a moment to reflect on some of the major ideas and resources I have listed below. I am sure as you find answers, you will also begin to have even more questions. Embrace this idea, as it will lead to even more answers and even deeper understanding.  Enjoy the journey!

Resources for the Driving/Investigative Question and Challenges:  – I am including just a small set of resources that might help you develop student owned inquiry in PBL. There are only five, and as you read them think of ways you can take these ideas and blend them with technology. The most important part is framing a question so that it is open… but still constraining it so the question is certain to support the standards. This was my primary focus in finding resources. When we address the Gold Standard of Inquiry we will look even deeper at some student owned blended inquiry that helps answer the question. I realize there are so much more… but that will be for a later Blog or Book!

  1. Discover QFT at The Right Question Institute (https://rightquestion.org/)  – QFT, known as Question Formation Protocol is a simple way of promoting inquiring through collaborative groups of students. It incorporates the simple steps below and will allow your students to own the inquiry process while reflecting on their questions. Pay special attention to the templates that are provided for you to bring students to the blended world. They are amazing and free.
  • Brainstorm Questions
  • Identify questions (open and closed)
  • Advantages of open and closed questions
  • Rewrite an open to closed and a closed to open
  • Prioritize
  • Investigate

2. Edutopia: Establish a Classroom Wonderwall  (https://www.edutopia.org/practice/i-wonder-questions-harnessing-power-inquiry) – How about constructing a class Wonderwall where students can post their wonders? These can be tied to the curriculum or provide the foundation for student owned inquiry research. Take a look at this wonderful article to incorporate the idea in the classroom. As you do this, how might you make this happen in the online and blended world. Think of Apps such as Padlet, Google Docs, or even you own LMS using a classroom discussion. It really can help build a culture of wonder.

3. AnswerGarden (https://answergarden.ch/) – This site is best described as a minimalist feedback tool that is easy to use in the classroom. A teacher can create an Answer Garden by entering a topic on the Create New Answer Garden-Page. From there you will be redirected to your newly created Answer Garden Website. Since no-one has posted an answer yet, your Answer Garden will still be empty. The next step is to share your Answer Garden URL. Use it live in the classroom, to pose a question, or place (embed) your Answer Garden on your classroom website. A Driving Question could be posted with a request that students post their Need to Knows. There are countless possibilities. All student feedback  is then represented in your Answer Garden. One neat feature is to be able to export the feedback into a Word Cloud using Wordle or Tagxedo! Imagine the possible reflection and discussion that can spark great research.

4. Miro Brainstorming Tools (https://miro.com/templates/brainstorming/) – Mind mapping tools help students working together in colaboration to inquire, brainstorm, and look for answers. Miro has some free capbilities that you might find useful. Some of the tools include KWL, 5W’s, and Mind Mapping to name a few. You might want to even look at examples and find a way to duplicate these in Google Draw or Docs. Remember, that as students brainstorm, questions get bigger, deeper, and more numerous. How might you allow these ideas to facilitate student owned inquiry in PBL?

Genius Hour Site – Teachers across the country are finding ways to put that Google 20% in their classroom, while still supporting standards and 21st-century skills. This site might just help you get started in providing students the opportunity to learn how to learn, while practicing self-regulation. Best of all, it supports that important voice and choice along with spiraling inquiry!  It really encourages that important Maker’s Culture of Innovation. You may visualize how this easily works in a blended environment. Think of Zoom interviews, online research, student virtual presentations, collaborative on-line production, and so much more. This is a great way to teach digital inquiry, research, web evaluation skills.

Reflection on Student Sustained Inquiry
Project Based Learning facilitates and activates that essential human desire to learn, investigate, and inquire. It fosters the ability to ask that open ended question that uncover the curriculum content. A PBL Unit facilitates the student owned process of inquiry while seeking knowledge, along with high level skills that will serve a lifetime of learning. T

Next Post: Authenticity and PBL… Sign Up Now!

Booking Info –  Look for contact information at the Booking Site. I have a distance learning workshop and session entitled “STEM is a Verb”. In fact… the Workshop is also a Verb! I also have a new 1 hour workshop “Preparing for  PBL”. It really promotes that 4C Classroom. Perhaps you wish to investigate PBL in the eLearning and Blended Classroom in another practical workshop. All of these and more can also be built into a 1/2 day or full day session, and are very interactive! Schools have loved it! Talk with me about your winter,spring and summer… or even fall planning for 2021.

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Part 2… Driving Question and Challenge: Free Blended and eLearning PBL Gold Standards Resources

Welcome to the second in a series of posts regarding Driving Questions and Challenges, I am very excited to share on PBL and Blended/eLearning. As I reflect, PBL has always been blended. Our challenge is… how to break down the classroom walls even more with the technology we have today. In this series, I will look at each of PBLWork’s Gold Standards. I will provide a short explaination and some free resources examples! Keep in mind that you may want to start small. That might include looking at a past project, or even a large multi-step lesson through the lens of the Gold Standards and free Blended/eLearning resources The Gold Standards from PBLWorks are posted in the picture above. Enjoy this wonderful journey of learning. Before continuing, I would appreciate having you take a moment to subscribe to this Blog by RSS or email and follow me at (mjgormans). Taking that moment ensures that we can continue to network, something that is very important to me. Also, please share this post with others and even provide a re-tweet with tools at bottom.  Last, please check my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans.  Enjoy your PBL Journey! – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Booking Info –  Look for contact information at the Booking Site. I have a distance learning workshop and session entitled “STEM is a Verb”. In fact… the Workshop is also a Verb! I also have a new 1 hour workshop “Preparing for  PBL”. It really promotes that 4C Classroom. Perhaps you wish to investigate PBL in the eLearning and Blended Classroom in another practical workshop. All of these and more can also be built into a 1/2 day or full day session, and are very interactive! Schools have loved it! Talk with me about your winter,spring and summer… or even fall planning for 2021.

Part 2… Driving Question and Challenge: Free Blended and eLearning PBL Gold Standards Resources by Michael Gorman at 21centuryedtech

Project Based Learning supports a child’s natural tendency to acquire and learn more about the
world they are a part of. The very hook that engages the student is a sense of inquiry of the world
they are a part of. As in many Inquiry Based Models, PBL begins with a Driving or Investigative
Question. This question could be called the open question, focus question, driving question,
essential question, or probing question. The investigative nature of the question cannot be
answered in a yes or no, but instead must call for student investigation. It will require students to
uncover their need to know.

Challenging Problem or Question:  Based on the standards and answered by the product.

The questions can be one that is formulated by the teacher or worked out by the
students. It may have a final answer that is completely open-ended, or possibly could have a
prescribed answer in which case it may align more with PrBL
(Problem Based Learning). Think of ways, as you look at the resources, you can use technology to Blend this idea in your classroom. In all cases, it must connect and be aligned with the curriculum
standards. The more engaging and open the question, the more it allows for an investigation that
spirals. Last, the end product of the PBL, or multi-step lesson, must answer this challenge or question.

Resources for the Driving/Investigative Question and Challenges:  – I am including just a small set of resources that might help you write and incorporate that question or challenge. There are only five, and as you read them think of ways you can take these ideas and blend them with technology. The most important part is framing a question so that it is open… but still constraining it so the question is certain to support the standards. This was my primary focus in finding resources. When we address the Gold Standard of Inquiry we will look even deeper at some student owned blended inquiry that helps answer the question. I realize there are so much more… but that will be for a later Blog or Book!

PBLWorks  – A Tube and a Rubric that help teachers design a Driving Question. The video and template are all supplied. This is part of the PBLWorks resources. It really helps simplify the process of creating a Driving Question. If you have students creating their own this could be helpful, How might this be offered in a Blended Learning Set Up? You already have the template and a video, Imaginae this in a ZOOM breakout room.

Driving Question Article  – A two part series from Mike Gorman at 21centuryedtech that explains and provides information for writing a Driving Question. I have included this so you can think of ways to really write that Driving Question. I wonder how teachers could work together using Google Docs or Padlet to make this happen. Could student need to knows be posted in this fashion?

Wonderopolis (Links to an external site – An amazing site filled with wonder, inquiry, and possible Driving Questions ready to be used in the blended PBL classroom. I am sure you will find ways to bring this into your classroom learning management system. There can provide a nice crosswalk of in… and outside of school.

In Search of a Driving Question (Edutopia) –   – Great article to help you write that Driving Question. As you read the articl;e think of ways that technology could be brought in tjhis process. How might you make a virtual Wonder Wall?

Essential Question STEMS for Inquiry Based Learning (PenPal School Blog – These allow you to look at Driving Question STEMS that might help you write that driving question. I like this site because it offers some Blended Learning Possibilities as you think of those STEMS that just might help that questuion or challenge.

Reflection on Driving/Investigative Question or Challenge
Project Based Learning facilitates and activates that essential human desire to learn, investigate,
and inquire. It fosters the ability to ask that open ended question that uncover the curriculum content.
A PBL Unit facilitates the student owned process of inquiry while seeking knowledge, along with high
level skills that will serve a lifetime of learning. This we will investigate in a the next Blog along with some great free resources.

Next Post: Student Owned Sustained Inquiry… Sign Up Now!

Booking Info –  Look for contact information at the Booking Site. I have a distance learning workshop and session entitled “STEM is a Verb”. In fact… the Workshop is also a Verb! I also have a new 1 hour workshop “Preparing for  PBL”. It really promotes that 4C Classroom. Perhaps you wish to investigate PBL in the eLearning and Blended Classroom in another practical workshop. All of these and more can also be built into a 1/2 day or full day session, and are very interactive! Schools have loved it! Talk with me about your winter,spring and summer… or even fall planning for 2021.

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Part 1… The Center: Free Blended and eLearning PBL Gold Standards Resources

Welcome to a series of posts I am very excited to share on PBL and Blended/eLearning. As I reflect, PBL has always been blended. Our challenge is… how to break down the classroom walls even more with the technology we have today. In this series, I will look at each of PBLWork’s Gold Standards. I will provide a short explaination and some free resources examples! Keep in mind that you may want to start small. That might include looking at a past project, or even a large multi-step lesson through the lens of the Gold Standards and free Blended/eLearning resources The Gold Standards from PBLWorks are posted in the picture above. Enjoy this wonderful journey of learning. Before continuing, I would appreciate having you take a moment to subscribe to this Blog by RSS or email and follow me at (mjgormans). Taking that moment ensures that we can continue to network, something that is very important to me. Also, please share this post with others and even provide a re-tweet with tools at bottom.  Last, please check my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans.  Enjoy your PBL Journey! – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Booking Info –  Look for contact information at the Booking Site. I have a distance learning workshop and session entitled “STEM is a Verb”. In fact… the Workshop is also a Verb! I also have a new 1 hour workshop “Preparing for  PBL”. It really promotes that 4C Classroom. Perhaps you wish to investigate PBL in the eLearning and Blended Classroom in another practical workshop. All of these and more can also be built into a 1/2 day or full day session, and are very interactive! Schools have loved it! Talk with me about your winter,spring and summer… or even fall planning for 2021.

Part 1… The Center: Free Blended and eLearning PBL Gold Standards Resources by Michael Gorman at 21centuryedtech

Project Based Learning provides students with a wonderful experience to take part in a culture
focused on rich activities and experiences. It promotes those important 21st century skills (success skills)) while balancing this acquisition with content knowledge, understanding, and transfer. The activities are intentional and aligned with important standards. The standards and skills are constantly assessed in a variety of ways involving numerous stake holders. Most of all, there is an alignment between standards, skills,
and assessment. By incorporating these indicators teachers are ensured that they have provided a
project process that is built on standards and proper skill acquisition. Two concepts at the center of the PBL Gold Standards at the Center for this post are:

  1. Curricular Content, Understanding, and Transfer
  2. 21st Century (Success) Skills.

Curricular Content, Understanding, and Transfer – Students do have the need to learn base curriculums that will focus on those content standards educational agencies have determined are important. These are also those same skills that are many times tested on the standardized test, end of course assessment, and other high-stake tests such as ACT, SAT, and AP. A PBL Unit of Study will focus on these along with deeper learning and 21st century skill acquisition. It is this combination that allows for quality and rigor while helping students see the connection of content to real world, college and career, and other disciplines. A PBL unit must embrace the curricular standards that a class is built on.


21st Century (Success Skills) – The 21st Century (success) Skills come in different sizes, flavors, and colors.
Typically, they will represent the 4 C’s that include Critical Thinking, Communication,
Collaboration, and Creativity. These four areas can be broken down into supporting indicators.
Since collaboration is at the heart of PBL it should always be included and assessed. One or
more of the other C’s should be intentionally included and assessed. Unpacking the standards
can allow a teacher to take note of the verbs in a standard. Many times these verbs entail those
important 21st century skills. Last, there are a few other C’s to mention such as Citizenship
(including digital), Character, and Cyber (Technology). In fact, there are even more and be sure to investigate the Habits of Mind in the link below. If your district has incoporated a Portrait of a Graduate, include that as you plan,

Resources for the Center: Learning Goals, Key Knowledge, Understanding, Success Skills – I am including just a small set of resources that might help you fill that content standard and 21st century (success) skill container. There are only five, I hope thuis allows you to really investigate and find something you can blend tomorrow, I realize there are so much more… but that will be for a later Blog or Book!

OER Commons – Wonderful place to find lessons and blended learning ideas that can cover standards that fit into a PBL or just a single lesson. You could use ideas here to build out a PBL or scaffold inside of the PBL. While some provide blended lesson opportunities, other could be reenginerred to make this a possibilty,

PBS Learning Media – Great multimedia, lessons, and resources that will provide a blended experience in a PBL bringing out the Gold Standards. There are ideas that will support a multitude of standards. Again, some of these resources might be the PBL focus… or just a lesson inside. You will find videos, lessons, readings, simulations, and other leanrning possibilities. Best of all, its free and already for your Learning Management System in the blended and elearning classroom!

PBLWorks – The main page for PBL around the world. You can spend an hour or a week! Make sure you not only look at the projects, but also check out the rubrics for 21st century (sucess skills). As you check the projects, think how they could unwrap in a blended environment.

Microsoft Rubrics  – This site connects to some great rubrics that promote the 4C’s of Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Creativity. This is a great way to start tomorrow! Keep in mind the teacher does not have to do all the assessment. Student self-assessment is powerful. Use the entire rubric, or just focus on different indicators. How might these fit into online discussions and journaling?

Habits of Mind Rubric– This link brings you to a great rubric that really captures the success skills talked emphasized in PBL. It also brings out some of those Social and Emotional (SEL) concepts so important to learning. You may want to visit the main site and explore the 16 Habits of Mind. You may even find the included chart quite useful.

Reflection on the Center
The acquisition of content knowledge that has been deemed important by society is one of the key functions of education. Project based Learning honors this by immersing students in important content providing that needed foundation. In a world that is seeing content multiply at an expositional rate, it is also important to help students become seekers of knowledge and lifetime self-learners. Along with those additional 21t century and Success skills, PBL provides the avenue to both build the content foundation while activating the natural ability to learn that is inherent in all humans.

Next Post: Challenging Problem or Question Resources… Sign Up Now!

Booking Info –  Look for contact information at the Booking Site. I have a distance learning workshop and session entitled “STEM is a Verb”. In fact… the Workshop is also a Verb! I also have a new 1 hour workshop “Preparing for  PBL”. It really promotes that 4C Classroom. Perhaps you wish to investigate PBL in the eLearning and Blended Classroom in another practical workshop. All of these and more can also be built into a 1/2 day or full day session, and are very interactive! Schools have loved it! Talk with me about your winter,spring and summer… or even fall planning for 2021.

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Authentic Project Based Learning, Santa Believes in PBL… Do You?

Did you know that Santa believes in Project Based Learning? It’s true… in fact, I have worked quite hard at finding evidence that supports this conclusion.  Upon further reflection, it occurred to me that not only does Santa believe in PBL, he practices many of its positive attributes at his workshop. By now you are thinking… what is this connection? Let me explain my reasoning by giving you an overview some of the essential elements in PBL.  Of course, I will attempt to show you how I believe Santa has put these elements into his practice.  Before continuing, I would appreciate having you take a moment to subscribe to this Blog by RSS or email and follow me at (mjgormans). Taking that moment ensures that we can continue to network, something that is very magical to me. Also, please share this post with others and even provide a re-tweet.  Last, please check my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans.  May your holiday be filled with magic! – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Booking Info –  Look for contact information at the Booking Site. I have a distance learning workshop and session entitled “STEM is a Verb”. In fact… the Workshop is also a Verb! I also have a new 1 hour workshop “Preparing for  PBL”. It really promotes that 4C Classroom. Perhaps you wish to investigate PBL in the eLearning and Blended Classroom in another practical workshop. All of these and more can also be built into a 1/2 day or full day session, and are very interactive! Schools have loved it! Talk with me about your winter,spring and summer… or even fall planning for 2021. You can also contact me at mjgormans@gmail.com. Happy holidays!

Note – If you missed my Santa believes in teachers article… check it out here and share it!

Authentic Project Based Learning, Santa Believes in PBL… Do You? – Mike Gorman  https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com

It all started on a recent visit I had the pleasure of taking to the North Pole.  It was actually a once in a lifetime experience, one that I will always remember. While I promised Santa I would not divulge secrets I discovered, he did hand me a manuscript and gave me a wink. I could see the amazing sparkle in his eyes as he waited for me to discover a power he was already aware of. I looked at the cover of this torn and faded, yet delightful looking, old book.  I could tell it had been constantly used due to the lack of North Pole magical dust on its soon to be engaging pages.  I spent the next few hours looking through a wonderful collection of written journals. This manuscript was entitled “The Santa Projects”.  How did he know my yearning to learn more about projects?  I then remembered that, of course, I was sitting in front of Santa. He probably had quite a database of everything I had ever dreamed of or desired from my very first teddy bear. Here was a compilation of all of the important projects ever done at this amazing place… at the top of the world. Here were the projects that Santa had brought to his entire staff in order to engage, motivate, educate, and provide means of collaboration and communication. The first project caught my eye. I couldn’t help but smile as I read each of Santa’s journal entries. Allow me to share one of his projects with you.

The Santa Projects –

Project Name – Mission Possible…. The Big Delivery

Need To Know – (An outstanding project is based on a student need to know. It is this desire that promotes engagement and excitement in children. It provides the motivation for learning significant content.)  Santa Notes – It will be important to communicate with all of the elves and various staff my desire to travel the world in one night delivering toys to all of the good girls and boys. We will have a meeting, record everything in Santa Docs, based on what we will need to know to make this mission possible. As we answer these important questions I will mark them off our collaborative list. I anticipate a few questions such as,  “Given that the earth is rotating… how many hours do we really have for our trip?”

The Driving Question – (The Driving Question is the key to any effective PBL project.  This question must be direct and open a student-centric understanding of what is to be eventually accomplished and learned. While giving the students a sense of mission, it is proactive and open-ended.)  Santa Notes – After working with various teams we have decided that a good driving question could be as follows: How can we devise a plan to deliver presents to all the good children in the world in one night? I know this will be exciting for the elves and I am sure the reindeer will be clamoring to get their hoofs into it. I am certain our journey to finding this answer will not only raise more questions but will also provide the rigor my staff thrives on.

Voice and Choice – (An effective project must allow for all students to have a voice and a choice. This might allow students to pick an area of study or may give a selection of various final products to demonstrate learning. This voice and choice allow the project to have individual meaning and relevance to each student.) Santa Notes – I must allow all of the workers at the North Pole to participate in a meaningful way while holding them accountable to the Driving Question. Who knows what contribution each group and individual might be able to come up with. In fact, I have already heard that my engineers are drawing a picture of a sleigh. Not sure I know why, but maybe I will learn from them.

21st Century Skills – (Students must be allowed to use skills that are authentic and provide real world opportunities. Teachers must provide learning opportunities and facilitate important skills including collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. It is important to also assess these skills as part of PBL.) Santa Notes – I plan to utilize team building activities to help facilitate project success. At the North Pole, we must realize that in order to pull off this miracle it will involve a collective wisdom from the entire crowd. We will use modern North Pole technology including Santa Docs, Twinkler, and Elfmodo to collaborate. In fact, I noticed the elves are already building a new system “The Magic Net”. It is supposed to connect the North Pole with the entire world of children’s desires. I am not sure why, but I am sure I will learn from them.

Inquiry and Innovation – A good PBL study will allow students to not just come up with answers… but also discover new and amazing questions. This will allow students to think outside the box as they remix, create, and innovate. It assures a final product that shows the learning that was acquired from the initial Driving Question.) Santa Notes – Everyone at the workshop is finding out that there is not an easy answer to our Driving Question. It seems we are getting more questions than answers right now. I have encouraged our staff to use Santapedia and NorthPoleOogle but they say it does not always give the answer… again more questions. I have told everyone to tinker… something they have experience with at the toy shop. They did come up with a new gift they called Tinkertoys which could be a hit. I had to get them back on track. Outside, I have noticed the reindeer jumping from the fir trees and one is even playing with a red light bulb. I know it seems very hectic… but I do feel we might be on to something.

Feedback and Revision – (Students must be allowed to obtain feedback through critiques from their teacher, peers, real world mentors, and themselves. Through this, students must learn to reflect and revise to create a better product as they travel a road of formative assessment.) Santa Notes – I am finding myself encouraging all my workers to reflect and critique themselves and others. This is can be more valuable than always using one of my NPARs (North Pole Assessment Rubrics). In fact, I saw the engineer and elves constantly critiquing each other on what they called OBETB (Operation Big Enough Toy Bag). Perhaps if I do a little check with one of my formative assessment rubrics I will find out what that is all about.

Public and Authentic Product – (Providing students with a public and authentic audience is crucial in the design of a good PBL learning unit. It brings meaning and provides motivation for a final product that represents the quality and rigor that should be expected. This audience can be face to face or could be virtual using the World Wide Web.)  Santa Notes – I am so excited for the workers here at the North Pole. Tomorrow night they will be presenting their plan for Mission Possible…. The Big Delivery to a live audience of the North Pole Geographic  Society, Magic Bag Engineers, Animal Aviator Experts, Portable Light Bulb Innovators, The Association of Sleigh Vehicle Workers, and NEXRAD.  It will all be available on Santa Vision. Having all of these experts in the audience will ensure that all involved will take great pride in their work while demonstrating what they have learned and have now made possible.  I am still puzzled as to why we have invited the Animal Aviator Experts and NEXRAD. Sound like a high flying idea!

Significant Content – (A PBL final outcome should provide evidence that students learned the required content set forth by curricular standards. While the 21st-century skills are important… they should complement and be used as tools for learning this content. The project is the process!) Santa Notes – Wow… while everyone has become better communicators, collaborators, and critical thinkers I see that the important concepts needed to make this project a success have become a reality. All of the workers, elves, and animals understand the important North Pole curricular concepts of magical engineering, animal aviation and linguistics, possibility planning, and bottomless bag technology. Most of all, they have discovered the wonderful skill of miracle manicuring. I really do believe in PBL!

As I was sitting in front of Santa there were two more elements that appeared before me like magic. I read the text as fast as it appeared. He looked at me as he winked and smiled… as if he was about to go up a chimney. I soon realized he had even been aware of some of the new ideas found in the new Gold Standards. Of course, he was aware! I continued to read with delight as I discovered even more amazing magic!

Reflection – (It is this process that demands the important skill of metacognition. It is not until a learner thinks about the learning… that real learning takes place. Educators must allow students time to reflect as they build their own understanding of important content and concepts.)  Santa Notes – I have always enjoyed the work of John Dewey… after-all he was always on my good list. I encourage all the workers at the North Pole to reflect on what they learn while as they build and innovate on all the products at the workshop! It is amazing to see all the learning that takes place as we constantly create a wonderful experience for all the boys and girls throughout the world!

Authenticity – ( It is important that students have an authentic learning experience that is meaningful. Allowing students to make a difference to their surroundings and the world outside the classroom is essential. Education must be real and provide the students that important… so what… to learning.) Santa Notes – Authenticity might be one of the most important qualities we promote. After-all like PBL… the North Pole experience is about making it real!

As I handed this precious manuscript back to Santa,  I thanked him for confirming my belief in how powerful a project can be. Upon my return, I continued to learn more about Project Based Learning and discovered the power it has for providing authentic and powerful learning experiences for students. This knowledge just might be the very best gift I ever received from Santa. I’m still smiling as I recall the other projects I read about in the wonderful book on my very special visit. Projects with names like the ones you find below.

  1. I Can Get Down the Chimney… How Do I Get Up?
  2. The Big Blizzard… Can We Find a Way to Light the Path?
  3. Conquering the 24 Hour Cookies and Milk Dilemma!
  4. Reindeer… Keeping their Minds to the Ground!
  5. Making and Keeping It Real!

I hope you enjoyed this very special message that Santa shared with me. Please take a moment to share this post with other educators across the world.  Please accept my present to you,  which is another year of postings, by subscribing by email or RSS and follow me on Twitter (mjgormans). You will also find a treasure of resources covering 21st-century learning, STEM, PBL, and technology integration for the classroom. Again, take a moment to share this blog and even give it a re-tweet so that other educators can experience the magic of PBL. May you find the peace, joy, blessing, and magic of this very special season… and to all a good night! Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Booking Info –  Look for contact information at the Booking Site. I have a distance learning workshop and session entitled “STEM is a Verb”. In fact… the Workshop is also a Verb! i also have a new 1 hour workshop “Preparing for  PBL”. It really promotes that 4C Classroom. Perhaps you wish to investigate PBL in the eLearning and Blended Classroom. These can also be builts into a 1/2 day or full day session and are very interactive! Schools have loved it! Talk with me about your winter,spring and summer… or even fall planning for 2021. You can also contact me at mjgormans@gmail.com. Happy holidays!

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Ten Reasons Why Teachers Must Be Magic… A Very Special Letter From Santa!

Welcome to a very magical entry… one that has been a traditional post each holiday season. It is a time of year that I wish to express my gratitude to those wonderful educators that have welcomed me at their schools, webinars, and conferences and also join me at this blog and on twitter through out the year. This past year the magic has really come alive. It has been unbievable what teachers have done for theri students!. Keep in mind Santa does believe.

I would like to share with all of you a very special letter I found under my Christmas Tree  many Christmas Eves ago. I have made it a practice to put it away, until just a few weeks before Christmas each year, with the idea of sharing it with educators across the world! Please take a moment to read this very special letter from Santa! He takes a moment to describe the magic that you as an educator make happen every day! While you are at it, I would appreciate that you take a moment to subscribe to this Blog  and follow me at on Twitter at (mjgormans).  Also, please take just a moment to share this letter by providing a retweet, and feel to copy and distribute (please give reference).  In this way you can help spread the magic!  My next seasonal post is… PBL at the North Pole.  May your holidays be filled with magic! – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Booking Info – Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page .  I have some powerful online interactive workshops and webinars that can be used to engage learning in this new environment. Email me and we can talk about a powerful interactive online workshop for educators that models blended learning best practices. Thanks so much.  Michael Gorman (mjgormans@gmail.com).

Ten Reasons Why Teachers Must Be Magic… A Very Special Letter From Santa!…. by  Michael Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com) ….Twitter (mjgormans)

Dear Teachers,

I have been meaning to write this letter for a long time! It is a letter that I feel is long overdue and with the elves getting all ready for my long ride, I finally found the time! I have been watching teachers for many years and I am amazed at the work they do. I have come to a conclusion that the teaching profession, like my own, must be filled with bits of  magic! Please let me provide ten statements of evidence for my belief.

1.  I travel the world one night of the year visiting all the boys and girls of the world. The teaching profession works with every boy and girl all year long. This equates to each teacher fulfilling educational needs for 30 – 200 children each and every school day. Seems like magic to me!

2. I deliver presents to all the boys and girls. From my Toy Repair Shop statistics I find many of these gifts are broken or no longer garner a child’s interest within months!  Yet teachers find inner gifts in every child. Teachers nurture these inner gifts  until they develop into true presents that will last a lifetime.  These kinds of gifts sure seem like magic to me!

3. I keep my naughty and nice list for every child. Some people believe this job is pretty amazing! Yet when I look at the teaching profession, teachers provide a constant evaluation of all their students! Their list covers all the aspects of developing and learning which they report to children’s parents and to the children themselves! This evaluation is based on a wide variety of observations, data, and student performance.  Teachers will then use this list to help improve each and every student! Wow, keeping track of every student’s ability and prescribing ways to be successful must really be magic!

4. I leave presents to students who are on the nice list and who believe in me. Teachers work with all children because they believe in every student. Teachers continue to do so, even when students stop believing in the educational system’s ability to help them achieve.  That type of persistence has got to be magic!

5. I have operated my workshop using the same technology for hundreds of years and it has worked for me. Then again, I work with children when they are asleep, delivering presents in my own way. Teachers work with children when they are awake and they have spent time learning how to engage children using googles, blogs, phlogs, glogs, prezis, and all these other words I really don’t know! Being able to teach, transform, and accommodate for this new digital generation must really be magic!

6. I have made it a practice to leave coal behind for children who do not make my good list! It seems every year the same children always get the coal. Teachers refuse to leave coal, in fact, they are working hard at leaving no child behind. To work towards a goal of leaving no child behind is a true act of magic!

7. I read the news and I am always so thankful to read all the nice articles about my work. It really does provide me with motivation to keep up my vocation. I read news articles about the education profession and it seems that most articles are unsupportive. Yet, teachers keep working hard at providing success for their students! These teachers must be operating on a little bit of magic!

8. I have thousands of elves, of course the reindeer, and the  community of the entire North Pole to assist me. Teachers work every day, many times by themselves, as they provide new opportunities for their students! Carrying that load alone must be much heavier than my bag of toys. It must really be magic!

9. I receive many a thank you and millions of pictures of happy faces as children open their presents each year. Teachers don’t always get a thank you, or may never see the present get eventually opened. When they do, appreciation may come from decades later!  A thank you that appears after many years must be the result of pure magic!

10. I discovered a light in Rudolph brightens up a dark, foggy, or snowy night so that I can deliver joy to all the children across the world. Teachers provide the light that brightens our world in both the darkest night and brightest day! It is the light of learning and knowledge!  The ability to keep that light burning  bright  must take a quite a bit of magic!

You see, I have found that magic does not come easily! It is made possible only by those who work hard and keep believing, and seek what they know is possible! As you can see, there must be a great deal of magic in the education profession! Please continue to keep this magic alive and know that you are all on my good list! After all, I had to learn all that I do from somewhere! So from across the years I know I have many teachers to thank!   Last, to all teachers across the world… I really do believe in you!

Thanks for all the magic,

Santa

I hope you enjoyed this very special message from Santa. Please take a moment to share this letter with other educators across the world. Please take the time to provide others this magival message from Santa. It will truly help bring out the magic in our profession! Please accept my present to you,  which is another year of postings by subscribing  and following me on Twitter (mjgormans). Think about contacting me (Booking Infoto see how I might fit into your conference or school PD plans. (mjgormans@gmail.com)! Again, take a moment to share this blog and even give it a re-tweet so that other educators can experience the magic.  Next post… PBL at the North Pole  (subscribe now) ! May you find the peace, joy, blessing, and magic of this very special season… and to all a good night! – Mike Gorman  (21centuryedtech.wordpress.com)

Booking Info – Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page .  I have some powerful online interactive workshops and webinars that can be used to engage learning in this new environment. Eamil we and we can talk about a powerful interactive online workshop for educators that models blended learning best practices. Thanks so much.  Michael Gorman (mjgormans@gmail.com).

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