Part 2: Facilitating Inquiry in the Classroom… Student Owned Questions… 10 Resources

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Welcome to this second post in a series that promotes student inquiry in the classroom. I believe that inquiry involves the art of knowing how to ask a question. At the same time, it is important to understand the science of answering the question asked, and knowing when it brings up a new question. I often call this the inquiry spiral. In this second post of the series I feel a need to expand on the idea of student owned inquiry. To many times we are telling students what to ask and what to answer. This slowly through the grades begins to shut down inquiry. After-all, students soon learn the teacher will have the question and the answer.  In this post you will discover multiple resources that promote student owned inquiry in the student centered classroom.  Before reading, please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS and also give me a follow on Twitter  at mjgormans.  I promise you will find some great information coming your way in the posts that follow…So sign up now and please pass this on with a retweet.    – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Booking Info –  Talking about inquiry… how about inquiring about some best  of the best PD?  I will be at Alan November’s  BLC19 in Boston (July) presenting workshops and sessions to support educators and students. Checkout my conference half day workshops: Making Makers Mainstream and Project Based Learning Quick Start.

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

Part 2: Facilitating Inquiry in the Classroom…Student Owned Questions… 10 Resources

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!

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!

Ten Amazing Resources and Ideas To Promote Student Owned Inquiry

1. Discover QFT at The Right Question Institute -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.

  • 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

Visit the Right Question Institute to learn more and discover some wonderful educational material.

2. Explore Habits of the Mind – It is really is time to promote metacognition at get your students to think about thinking. It is only when this takes place that real learning happens. At the Habits of the Mind Institute, you can take a moment to become familiar with these important “Habits of the Mind” that will encourage the important thinking and metacognition to support “genuine learning”.

3. Read Driving and Investigative Questions -A unit of learning should start with a question that promotes more questions while also uncovering the standards. You can learn more about constructing Driving and Investigative Questions at this prior 21centuryedtech Post. Just remember that these are constructed for your students to answer.

4. Establish a Classroom Wonderwall – 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 Edutopia article providing ways to incorporate the idea in the classroom.  It really can help build a culture of wonder.

5. Practice the 5 E’s – This is a model that allows for some teacher explanation, only after some student exploration and inquiry. After-all some concepts do need an engaging teacher lecture to encourage understanding. You will find the 5 E’s below in this included link from NASA along with further explanation.

6. Include a Genius Hour – Teachers across the country are finding ways to put that Google 20% in their classroom, while still supporting standards and 21st-century skills. This Genius Hour 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.

7. Establish a Maker Culture – The idea behind the Maker Culture includes allowing students to question, imagine, envision, create, innovate, play, learn in a formative manner, experiment, collaborate, share, and most of all dream of possibilities. I have numerous posts in regards to the Maker Culture and suggest this four-part Maker Series at 21centuryedtech with background and a goldmine of resource links.

8. Examine Inquiry Based Learning -Learning through inquiry can be powerful when done correctly under proper constraints. The standards must be kept in mind, and when needed, a proper explanation must be provided.  (5 E approach above). Edutopia provides some wonderful ideas and possibilities.

9. Incorporate PBL – Project Based Learning is a wonderful approach providing students with ownership in their inquiry and learning. Not only that, their final answer after many questions provides authenticity and can make a real world difference. To learn more about Project Based Learning a visit to the PBLWorks (BIE) is must journey. As a member of the BIE National Faculty, I am sure you will find a wealth of resources, research, and ideas!

10. Facilitate inquiry with Internet Resources –  You will find some amazing opportunities such as the ones below. Can you add to the list?

Next Post … Inquiry and the Presearch

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators.  As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st-century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week… enjoy the Websites! – Mike (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  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.  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I am now  almost booked through August and the rest of the 2019 calendar is filling fast. In fact, it might be time to begin thinking about next January! Look for contact information at the Booking Site.

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Part 1: Facilitating Inquiry in the Classroom… The Driving Question and PBL

question

Welcome to this first post in a series that promotes student inquiry in the classroom. I believe that inquiry really involves the art of knowing how to ask a question. At the same time, it is important to understand the science of answering the question asked, and knowing when it brings up a new question. I often call this the inquiry spiral. As we begin this series I dedicate this post to the writing of that Driving Question which is so important in STEM and PBL. You will discover multiple resources in this series along with some great ideas for finding student success in student owned inquiry.  Before reading, please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS and also give me a follow on Twitter  at mjgormans.  I promise you will find some great information coming your way in the posts that follow…So sign up now and please pass this on with a retweet.    – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Booking Info –  Talking about inquiry… how about inquiring about some best  of the best PD?  I will be at Alan November’s  BLC19 in Boston (July) presenting workshops and sessions to support educators and students. Checkout my conference half day workshops: Making Makers Mainstream and Project Based Learning Quick Start.

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

Part 1: Facilitating Inquiry in the Classroom… Driving and Investigative Questions

I really like Diving and Investigative Questions. In fact, I like them so much more than Essential Questions. You might ask why? I think it just might be my affection for the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy. You may remember that in the revision the different levels were changed into action. In fact, I strongly believe that learning is a verb and is based on action. Take away the word “Question” and both Driving and Investigating are wonderful verbs loaded with action. The word “Essential” standing alone is only a word devoted to describing… a colorful but inactive adjective.

Another reason I am fond of “Driving and Investigative Questions” is that they allow students to work together in the amazing process of divergent thinking. As students bring this process around to identify answers and ideas that finally converge, they are suddenly back on the path to even higher order divergent thinking. It is amazing to watch students become aware that answers can bring on even more questions. Seems to me that it is a lot as if they are moving up Bloom’s Taxonomy.

I believe that both DQ and IQ allow students to take part in real inquiry and research. If the question is Google-able then it probably is not deep inquiry. Now, using advanced Google skills to find answers that create more questions fits the bill for common core skills. Literacy that is built to comprehend, analyze, compare, contrast, and make meaning of nonfiction across the disciplines is essential. Take a look at portions of standards educators must facilitate with students. These really do sound like some great inquiry action that can be found on the super highway of Driving Questions.

Last,  I like “Driving and Investigative Questions  because there are  so simple, that they can be difficult to construct. Let me explain. The Driving Question or Investigative Question in Project Based learning and STEM can be often the hardest concept to get across to teachers. Even after a workshop devoted to PBL… questions will come across my email asking for help in constructing and refining the Driving  or Investigative Question.

Writing The DQ and IQ’s For Student-centered Learning In PBL, STEM, and Inquiry

Why are driving and investigative questions so difficult? Perhaps it is the powerful and simple concept they ride upon in a world where teachers have been taught to use so much of their “educationese language” Educators must work at being aware of the important standards in their content area without blurting them out. It is at this point that educators come across that often talked about the idea of uncovering, not covering, the standards.  Educators are so often told to practice this methodology but are seldom told how to do it.

This is the power of the Driving and Investigative question and its importance in PBL and STEM. The question must be simply stated so that students can uncover the content standards themselves. It should not give away the contents standards which students may not really care about. It should engage the students and create wonderment through relevance to their world. It should drive them to “uncover the standards” Through carefully planned PBL and STEM the teacher then facilitates this learning experience. The added bonus of building important 21st-century skills is a natural outcome. In order for students to “uncover the standards” they will need to communicate, collaborate, think critically, and provide creative thought.

Examples comparing an Essential Question to a Driving or Investigative Question:

  • EQ: Can you describe a typical food chain for the herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores in the deciduous forest biome.
  • DQ/IQ:How can we as authors write a restaurant storybook menu for animals that live in the forest ?

 

  • EQ: How are measurement skills and our knowledge of math and geometry related to building a dream park with a given set of dimensions and budget?
  • DQ/IQ: In what way can we design, plan, and pitch a needed park for our community ?

 

  • EQ: What are the characteristics of the planets in our solar system in regards to atmosphere, surface, and composition?
  • DQ/IQ: How can we, as NASA scientists, write a proposal that recommends which planet should be explored by the next space probe?

 

  • DQ/IQ: How can robots provide automation and use computer programs and code to deliver a given task?
  • DQ/IQ: Can we program a robot to …. ?

 

  • EQ: Can we name the various reasons that the American Colonies declared independence from England?
  • DQ/IQ: How might we write and produce a play that could be used today, or in our countries early history, to show why the colonies should (or did) declare independence?

Keep in mind that the Driving or Investigative Question may take on many names. The important point is that it drives an investigation based on student owned inquiry. It really is the very first step in providing students that opportunity to not just answer the question, but come up with their own inquiry.

Next Post … Facilitating Student Questions

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators.  As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st-century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week… enjoy the Websites! – Mike (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  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.  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I am now  almost booked through August and the rest of the 2019 calendar is filling fast. In fact, it might be time to begin thinking about next January! Look for contact information at the Booking Site.

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Part 2… 34 NCAA Basketball Lesson Plan Resources and Links … A PBL Series

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image CC

Welcome to a second post containing 17 more   amazing links to use during the NCAA Basket Ball Tournament. First, please take a moment to subscribe to this blog by RSS or email and  join me on twitter at mjgormans .  You see… we really must learn to put into practice some of the best lessons never taught! Talking about best lessons… how about some best PD? I will be at Alan November’s  BLC19 in Boston (July) presenting workshops and sessions to support educators and students. Checkout my conference half day workshops: Making Makers Mainstream and Project Based Learning Quick Start.

 Also, please explore my Booking Info. I would like to bring practical and affordable PBL, STEM, Makers, and Standards Based Technology Workshops to your school of conference.    You see… we really must learn to put into practice some of the best lessons never taught! Have an exciting tournament and a wonderful week! – Mike Gorman (21centuryedtech)

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

Part 2… 34 NCAA Basketball Lesson Plan Resources and Links … A PBL Series

In the last post I shared an almost PBL story that I hope you enjoyed. The post also contained 17 links to help bring the engagement and excitement of the NCAA tournament to your classroom.  When basketball can be integrated with content standards and 21st century education, everyone wins. Please stake a moment to enjoy these next 17 links.

What is a Slam Dunk? – The website Wonderapolis provides this interesting question, video, and related ideas. It could just be a slam dunk lesson!

Who Invented Basketball – You and your students can explore another wonder of the day from Wonderapolis. Students will enjoy the video, accompanying fact, and any activity incorporated with it.

The Harlem Globetrotters and Early Professional Basketball – Perhaps you can design a lesson from this podcast at the Smithsonian History Explorer. Student will discover how this group of amazing basketball players became the world’s most recognizable sports team

Math in Basketball – This is a wonderful learning interactive from PBS Learning Media. Students follow a profile of Elton Brand, an accomplished basketball player who uses math in his work, students are presented with this mathematical basketball challenge. This site does require free registration for educators.

PBS Learning Media – Check Out all of these other basketball resources that are free from PBS Learning Media. Great multimedia and ideas for your project!

Robot Basketball – This lesson comes from Try Engineering.  It demonstrates the difference between precision and accuracy. Students design a device that can shoot a basketball free-throw shot accurately every time.

Engineer Hoopsters – A great article from eGFI that lets students know you can excel in the STEM fields while also playing basketball… and winning. A wonderful article that promotes both sports and academics.

Math Basketball Games – Are you looking for a way to bring a little basketball into your elementary of middle school math class? These games can be used in the classroom in connection with smart boards and Promethean boards.

Penny Basketball – A site that poses a lesson that involves penny basketball. Best of all, students learn how to make sense of the data they collect.

Energy Transfer – This is a great lesson in kinetic energy and energy transfer. It is also a wonderful time to use a basketball to display the laws of physics.

Math In Basketball – This is a fantastic lesson plan from Get the Math.  Using video segments and web interactives, students engage in an exploration of mathematics, specifically reasoning and sense making, to solve real world problems.  Best of all,  students focus on understanding the Big Ideas of Algebra: patterns, relationships, equivalence, and linearity.

Science of Hang Time – Can your students answer the question, “How High Can You Jump?” They can experience this great video for PE, Math or Physics as students learn about the science behind the hang time in basketball. Perhaps you can create an activity around this.

PBL, Physics, Basketball, and Inquiring Minds – Check out this PBL unit with math and basketball.

Where Will it Go? – This is a lesson plan aimed at lower elementary allowing student prediction of where a ball will go when bounced. This is a perfect opportunity to use any ball… or perhaps a basketball?

Sports Science – Look for some great basketball videos from this ESPN archive. It might be the basis for a great STEM lesson during this exciting basketball season.

Discovery Education – Basketball resources that you can use with your students. You will find some great activities.

NBA Virtual Field Trip – Check out this whole site even if you did not visit the live event. There are some amazing resources presented by Discovery and the NBA.

So there are the rest of those NCAA links. Please follow and sign up.  If this has been useful please give a retweet! It means a lot!

Thanks for joining me in my tribute to education and the need to include student voice, choice and relevance to learning. In the coming weeks you will discover posts devoted to 21st century education including such topics as Flipped Classrooms, Project Based Learning, Assessing 21st century skills, technology integration, web resources, and digital literacy.  I enjoy learning from all of you. Also, remember to subscribe to this 21centuryedtech  Blog by RSS or email and follow me on twitter at mjgormans. I also appreciate your sharing of this post and any retweets.  I hope you enjoy your journey of  best lessons never taught.  Have a great week! – Mike Gorman (21centuryedtech)

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  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.  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I am now almost booked through April. Perhaps you need to think about summer conference dates or PD needs. It is also not too early to think about the 2019/29 school year! Look for contact information at the Booking Site.

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NCAA Basketball Bracketology 2019: Classroom Lessons Never Taught…. It’s Madness… Plus 34 BB Lesson Links

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Creative Commons Img

As you might know I am a big time fan of Project Based learning.  In this post I provide a mix of educational ideas pressing full court toward the NCAA Basketball Tournament. I also have some great educational basketball lesson possibilities. Please enjoy and share this special story through a retweet or email.  I am sure you will understand my thoughts in regards to PBL as defined by the PBLWorks (BIE (BUCK Institute).  Please let me share this special story and dream about educational transformation possibilities based on authenticity,  relevance, and student centered learning.  First, please take a moment to subscribe to this blog by RSS or email and  join me on twitter at mjgormans .

 Please note I will be at Alan November’s  BLC19 in Boston (July) presenting workshops and sessions to support educators and students. Checkout my conference half day workshops: Making Makers Mainstream and Project Based Learning Quick Start.

 Also, please explore my Booking Info. I would like to bring practical and affordable PBL, STEM, Makers, and Standards Based Technology Workshops to your school of conference.    You see… we really must learn to put into practice some of the best lessons never taught! Have an exciting tournament and a wonderful week! – Mike Gorman (21centuryedtech)

A Classroom Lesson Never Taught : Welcome to my PBL Reflection… it really is a good read… but if you want the links right away… scroll down

It was twenty minutes before the first school bell would ring, signifying the beginning of another day of learning. Students were beginning to enter and fill the classroom.  There was air of extreme excitement as the teacher looked from nook to corner. It was a typical room filled with students, desks, chairs, and a few computers. This morning seemed to be different from the others. The teacher stood perplexed, in awe of an  amazing event that was beginning to unfold. Students were using computers and  printers to produce what appeared to be a complicated worksheet. Some kids were on the floor while others were seated at tables eagerly filling the paper out! Their eyes were filled with inquiry and enthusiasm as they completed the graphical sheet from top to bottom! It was definitely a worksheet experience like no other the teacher had ever witnessed! Upon closer inspection the teacher realized the students had searched for and found the new NCAA Basketball Brackets.

The teacher watched students engaged in a true spirit of collaboration, as they learned from each other some interesting facts about various college teams. Geography was a main topic, as students discovered using Google Maps, the location of various universities. The teacher could hear students compare and contrast strengths and weakness of the various competitors, while others children used mathematics to perform some comparative scoring.  There was a massive research symposium, as students looked on the internet to find out what the experts of the newly found science of “Bracketology” thought!  Some students sought out other students ready to present their reasoning for their selections and amazingly showcased their persuasion skills. Any observer would have been amazed by the critical thinking, creativity, and reflections that the students were able to share. It appeared that that the students were in control of this very special time before education would begin. They had created their own learning experience before the bell rang. Their was engagement based on their interest in the real world. It was much like watching a game of neighborhood baseball long before the advent of sanctioned  coaches, leagues and teams.

The twenty minutes were soon past as the bell  rang, and announced yet another day of learning. The students obediently put away their Brackets Papers, while the room came to a silent halt. Students left their collaborative groups and sat in their individual seats lined up in precision rows. They pulled out a worksheet, some only half filled out, assigned  from the day before. The teacher initiated a well thought out lecture entitled ” Making Predictions Using Compare and Contrast”.  As he described predictions as they have been made through observing math sequences, the students  appeared to listen as they took notes. After all, this was an important standard to be repeated for a test. What a change the bell had made.  The March of Madness was over.  It was now a time to learn?

NCAA Basketball Links – The First 17 (Next 17 next post… sign up now and please retweet!)

Live Interactive Bracket – Watch the NCAA live interactive bracket for this year’s tournament. Note that this page also contains a printable bracket.

NCAA Big Dance Basics – Take a look and get ideas from the STEM site eGFI. You will get hooked as your read their statement: “ From long-shot “Cinderella” teams to “field goal” averages, “giant killers” and “bracketology,” the NCAA Div. 1 men’s college basketball championship has generated a host of pet terms and traditions since it first tipped off in 1939”. This is a 2013 article …but still filled with great thoughts and ideas.

The Art of the Free Throw – It really is about STEM! Take a look at this eGFI article and video that really goes through the math and science of a free throw.

Basketball Physics – This lesson comes from Science Friday. It contains the Driving Question, “ How does physics affect your game?” John Fontanella, a physicist at the U.S. Naval Academy and author of The Physics of Basketball, explains the role of physics in basketball, from foul shots to side-arm passes. You and your students will find out what forces are acting on the ball, and what players have to do to offset these forces.

Physics of Basketball – A great basketball thinking video  from Dragon Fly TV.

Basketball For Better Verse – This lesson from Education World provide students the opportunity to look at various basketball poems and the publish their own.

The Team at Home – Another lesson from Education World that allows students to locate an NCAA basketball tournament team on a map, research the relationship of the team’s name and mascot to the history and geography of the college. This is a great social studies lesson.

Who’s Number 1? Investigating the Math of Rankings – In this amazing lesson, students explore the use of quantitative ratings by examining how Division I college basketball teams are ranked, and how specific mathematical decisions can and do have significant consequences.

Thinking About The Future… A Poem of Possibilities – This resource from Read Write Think focuses on the poem “Ex-Basketball Player” by John Updike, analyzing the details and the format of the poem. From there students are then introduced to a writing assignment in which they write a poem about themselves in five years.

Mathematicians Agree… Picking NCAA Bracket More Luck Then Science – Do you really want a fascinating reading about the science of the brackets? This is a great read and could be a part of any language arts or math class.

Busting The Brackets – You will enjoy this wonderful lesson from the New York times.

Bracket Lesson Activities – You can use the idea of brackets to help your students discuss and take part in meta-cognitive activities in almost any subject area. Take a look and give it a try.

Smithsonian March Madness – This is a wonderful exhibit from teh Smithsonian. Examine the multitude of March Madness articals.

James Naismith… Inventor of the Game of Basketball – This is another awesome activity from Read Write Think. Students look at the original rules of basketball, allowing a perfect opportunity for students to practice their expository reading and writing skills. Best of all, students end up with some their own innovation as they put together their own hand out to explain a game.

Should LeBron James Mow His Own Lawn? – Discover this lesson that explroes absolute advantage, comparative advantage, specialization and trade with an example using professional basketball player LeBron James.

Using NBA Statistics for Box and Whiskers Plot – You may wish to substitute a student’s favorite NCAA player for the NBA player. This lesson from Illuminations requires students to use information from basketball statistics to make and compare box and whisker plots. The data provided in the lesson come from the NBA, but you could apply the lesson to data from the NCAA men’s or women’s. You may need to join.

So there is my story and links… want the next 17 links? Please follow and sign up. I have them scheduled to be published before the end of this week. If this has been useful, please give a retweet! It means a lot!

Thanks for joining me on another reflection of 21st Century Learning! Please take a moment and follow me on Twitter (@mjgormans), I will return the favor and we will learn from one another. You are also welcome to visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki filled with free and amazing resources.   Again take a moment to subscribe this blog by email or RSS. Read below to see some upcoming articles and if you liked this article there is a button below for a retweet! As you  follow the NCAA Basketball Tournament make sure the real winner is your facilitation of 21st century educational transformation! Put the kids in center court! – Mike

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  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.  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I am now almost booked through April. Perhaps you need to think about summer conference dates or PD needs. It is also not too early to think about the 2018/19 school year! Look for contact information at the Booking Site.

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An Ed Tech Ground Hog Day Project Based Learning Story

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Welcome to my Groundhog Day Posting.  I thought I could still do this with it still being February. If you are a fan of PBL,  I think you will enjoy my story. This is a true venture into my right brain! You may wonder how I connected groundhogs with 21st Century Learning.  It wasn’t easy, but after I found out that Punxsutawney Phil had a Facebook account, I couldn’t resist contacting him. I do have a link to his Facebook below in my closing.   I have some great posts coming your way involving PBL, STEM,  Makers and Tech Integration.  Most of all, thanks for being one of those over 30,000 visitors a month and over 14,000 subscribers. Also, remember that I can come to your conference or school district and provide engaging authentic, practical, and purposeful professional development . Please note I will be at BLC19 in Boston (July) presenting workshops and sessions to support educators and students. See booking info and please contact me anytime at (mjgormans@gmail.com). (21centuryedtech). I  hope you enjoy my very special Ground Hog story. May spring soon be with you! – Mike

An Ed Tech Ground Hog Day PBL Story: Translated From Groundhogese Using Google

Welcome to another post which I hope brings a smile to your face. It was earlier this month when Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his temporary burrow which is a simulated tree stump at the rural site of Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Once again he will looked for his shadow and then speak in Groundhogese, giving the weather forecast for the next six weeks. Or so the story goes…  I recently had the opportunity to contact Punxsutawney Phil using  his Facebook account and he gives a different side of the story. One that he says is much more reliable and has perhaps been misinterpreted due to poor translation of his Groundhogese. My updated version of Google Language Converter translating Groundhogese to English gives an interesting and possibly more accurate account.

Many years ago according to Punxsutawney Phil, there emerged a theory that the earth was becoming flat. This theory networked throughout the groundhog community since their tunnels and burrows allowed for word of mouth communication to spread throughout the groundhog world. The thought of the earth becoming flat alarmed the groundhogs due to the changes it would bring to their vast array of tunnels. The earth changing from a curved surface to a linear flat surface would change their way of life and the very way they traded and worked with groundhogs of different parts of the world.

This realization caused a massive change in the groundhog educational system. A national program called NGLB (No Groundhog Left Behind) was drastically changed and reformed. You might say it turned into a new program called  ”A Race To The Top”. Something most groundhogs were familiar with if, they wanted to see daylight! Rather than memorizing groundhog history and standards, young groundhogs were given a Driving Question that asked them to plan for a future they had not envisioned yet. The groundhog students learned to problem solve, work cooperatively, research, and use high order thinking.  They were excited by this authentic challenge. The transformation led to an era of creativity and higher order thinking. Groundhogs were soon using both their right and left brain “A Whole New Mind”. It was during one of young Punxsutawney Phil’s Project Based Lessons in school that the very first Ground Hog Day came to be. You could say it was a real world presentation that the entire world tuned into, although some of the translation may have been lost especially among humans.

It was long before the internet, so Phil had collaborated with other student groundhogs across the miles. They decided that once a week in the summer they would go outside their boroughs and calculate a mathematical triangulation of the sun and their shadow.  By calculating the changes in their shadows they could then figure out if the earth really was becoming flat. To be more accurate, they picked one day each winter do the same.  Of course they were certain to collaborate, and all did their experiment on the same day, which ended up being February 2. The groundhogs realized that due to cloud cover not all would see their shadow, but were hopeful that enough would, which would render their data reliable.  As time went on, this practice became a lifelong learning experience.

The groundhogs discovered two things from their experiment.  First, the earth was not becoming flat in a physical way but in a virtual way. This flattening sensation involved the way groundhogs connected and worked with one another throughout the world. Even more interesting, an unintended consequence had also been discovered. The Feb 2 Groundhog Day of experimentation and analysis was getting attention from humans. Word spread across the groundhog world. The advent of the internet and technology allowed groundhogs both young and old to communicate through email and twitter about this human curiosity. The groundhogs were surprised to learn that the humans thought their mathematical triangulation of sun, earth, and shadow was a weather prediction. The groundhogs were amused, but understood after studying the ways of the human school system. They found the human child had no time to inquire, apply, and synthesize due to the vast amount of facts that humans held important. There was no time in the human curriculum to prepare for future needs, the past and its traditions were much too sacred. They were amused that anyone might think a cloudy day predicted the next six weeks of weather!

Punxsutawney Phil told me that he looks forward to every Feb 2 and is constantly reminded how his personal learning community, which started when he was young, discovered the real meaning of a Flat Earth. He also pointed out that as an added extra to the day, it gives all groundhogs an excellent opportunity to get a glimpse of the human race. As Phil stated, “I often wonder what shadow of a thought those humans may be reflecting on”. He also let related that if you wish to know the weather, at least for the next ten days, the Weather Channel does a pretty good job! If you really want six weeks, then check out the Groundhog Network!

Thanks for joining me for another reflective look at 21st Century Learning. If you wish to learn more about Groundhog Day check out this article found at National Geographic. You can also visit Punxsutawney Phil Facebook Site. As always feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/mjgormans). As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st-century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week! – Mike (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  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.  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. My 2019  calendar is filling fast. In fact, it might be time to begin thinking about the summer  and start of school of 2019! Look for contact information at the Booking Site.

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Part 2: Computational Thinking: Over 50 Resources To Teach CT Across the Entire Curriculum

Welcome to Part Two on this series based on Computation Thinking. This second post will provide a goldmine of resources to get you started with your students. In the prior post I provided 10 ideas to promote Computational Thinking across the curriculum. You will not want to miss it!  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, and a continuing series on Professional Learning Communities!  Most of all, thanks for being one of those over 30,000 visitors a month and over 14,000 subscribers. Also, remember that I can come to your conference or school district and provide engaging authentic, practical, and purposeful professional development . Please note I will be at BLC19 in Boston (July) presenting workshops and sessions to support educators and students. See booking info and please contact me anytime at (mjgormans@gmail.com). Thanks so much.  Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech).

ct

Part 2: Computational Thinking: A Goldmine of Resources – Michael Gorman

The goal of computational thinking is really about getting students to use computer type thinking to solve real world problems. So often we are the users of algorithms, but rarely are we creating them. Facilitating this skill for our students will allow them to innovate,  understand, and find purpose. Most of all they will be equipped to fast a world which is constantly changing.  It is from the book The power of Computational Thinking by Paul Curzon and Peter W McOwan we find the following quote:

“The beauty of Algorithms is that steps can be followed without those involved having any idea of what they are doing and why”

I can personally relate with this quote. I found myself many times in school following algorithms of which I had no idea for their meaning. I did pass the ACT because I had answers for which I had no understanding of. We as educators must go that next step, providing students a way to problem solve and come up with algorithms that provide the solutions.

For this reason I provide to you some resources I hope you will find valuable. Keep in mind that Computational Thinking can use devices, robots, and computers to support learning. It also is valuable to do some “unplugged” activities that allow students to dive deep into their own thinking leaving the digital object to the side. I have tried to provide resources that support both. Last, the ability to understand the workings of a computer is only half of the algorithm. Keep in mind that human element. How do we find a way to use the power and speed of the computer along with the comprehension and meta-cognitive ability of the human mind. Enjoy the quote and resources that follow.

“The computer is incredibly fast, accurate, and stupid. Man is incredibly slow, inaccurate, and brilliant. The marriage of the two is a force beyond calculations” – Leo Cherne

Main Site Computational Thinking Resources:

Puzzles for Computational Thinking

Articles, Information, Ideas

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators.  As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st-century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week! – Mike (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  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.  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. My 2019  calendar is filling fast. In fact, it might be time to begin thinking about the summer  and start of school of 2019! Look for contact information at the Booking Site.

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Part 1: Computational Thinking: Ten Ways To Promote CT Across The Entire Curriculum

ct

Welcome to Part One of this series based on Computation Thinking. This first post will provide the “what” and “why”along with some steps to promote this important practice. The second post will provide a goldmine of resources to get you started with your students. You will not want to miss it!  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, and a continuing series on Professional Learning Communities!  Most of all, thanks for being one of those over 30,000 visitors a month and over 14,000 subscribers. Also, remember that I can come to your conference or school district and provide engaging authentic, practical, and purposeful professional development . Please note I will be at BLC19 in Boston (July) with workshops and sessions. See booking info and please contact me anytime at (mjgormans@gmail.com). Thanks so much.  Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech).

Part 1: Computational Thinking: 10 Ways To Promote – Michael Gorman

As you might know, I believe all transformation must be based in the standards. These standards must include both content and process standards (4C’s). Too often, I see wonderful activities that engages students… but also see important standards that could have been made authentic to students through deliberate meta-cognition engaging the mind and the heart.

In this post, I would like to review a thinking processes that can be applied across the curriculum providing a process for authentic understanding of standards.  The cognitive process I am referring to is Computational Thinking (CT). This type of thinking is important not just in high stake testing, but also success in that world after school. Perhaps you have come across the idea of computational thinking in education.  The best way to describe computational thinking is to look at the way a computer thinks… or at least runs a program. This is actually the most important concept a student learns through coding and developing computer programs. We must keep in mind that it is not the coding that is important… but the thinking process. After all… one can use a computer, but not actually use computational thinking skills.

So, what is this skill set found in Computational Thinking? They are best described as the important steps taken to solve a problem and come up with a solution. As you read these steps think about your own curriculum. Where do you want your students to use computational thinking skills?

  • Decomposition – This involves the ability for students to look at a problem. and through careful observation students break down a problem or system into smaller, more manageable parts.
  • Pattern recognition – Now that the problem is broken down students must look for similarities among and within the problem. What patterns can be seen and what does this mean?
  • Abstraction – At this stage students begin focusing on the valuable information only, ignoring irrelevant detail. It really is time to look at the specific trees while blurring the forest. While determining what is important… how does this relate to a possible solution?
  • Algorithms – At this point students should be able to develop a step-by-step solution to the problem. They maybe able to also identify rules and procedures to solve the problem

As you can see these abilities are an important part of critical thinking. They allow us to use our human ability to go beyond the computer program. We have long used subroutines of thinking in class such as determining reasons for a civilization’s decline, the twists in a story, the answer to a math story problem, or the use of a dichotomous key. In past practice, we as the teacher often provide the steps necessary to find the answer. What would happen if our students created the algorithm itself, at least part of the time? How might we assess them in this style of thinking that provides deeper understanding. What if our hour of code turned into solving a real problem? What if we brought a Makers Culture into the classroom and facilitated and assessed computational thinking while emphasizing authentic and real understanding of the standards?

“We can have facts without thinking but we cannot have thinking without facts” – John Dewey

I believe John Dewey said it best with the above quote. We must provide our students opportunities to critically think. We must assess them, and they must assess themselves.  We must go beyond engaging activities for the sake of engagement. We must engage the mind!  As Dewy reminds us, providing students the opportunity to think about and do something with content is what real learning is all about. Best of all, a new and real understanding will be achieved that no standardized test can stand in the way of.

Ten Ideas to Expand Computational Thinking in your Classroom

  1. Take time to embrace the verbs in the standards… doing is learning.
  2. Facilitate and assess the 4C’s… assessment should be by teacher, peers, self, and mentors.
  3. Encourage meta-cognition and the “Habits of the Mind”. We must have moments that we think about thinking.
  4. Promote and assess collaboration as it expands and enriches the understanding of all involved. Realize that this is a foundation for critical thinking.
  5. Embrace, demand, and facilitate rigorous and continuous inquiry.
  6. Think Webb’s DOK and upper Blooms and make sure it is a part of a high percentage of lessons.
  7. Remind students…. algorithms are steps that anyone can follow, not as many can write one. They must become the creators of algorithms.
  8. Support students making and using computational thinking to expand standards while connecting to real world and other disciplines.
  9. Support standards by aligning and assessing through student making and thinking.
  10. Provide students important content connected with thinking,,,  plus doing and making

In the next post, I will provide you with a Gold Mine of resources to further investigate Computational Thinking. Please take the time to visit and learn.

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators.  As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st-century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week! – Mike (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  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.  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. My 2019  calendar is filling fast. In fact, it might be time to begin thinking about next Summer and the start of school for 2019! Look for contact information at the Booking Site.

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