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

ct

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 curriculumn. 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 BLC18 in Boston (July) and FETC19 Orlando (January) supporting teachers in PBL and more. See booking info and please contact me anytime at (mjgormans@gmail.com). Thanks so much.  Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech).

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 equiped to fast a world which is constatnly 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 sovle and come up with algoritms that provide the solutions.

For thsi 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 undertand 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 metacognitive abity of the human mind. Enjoy the quote and resources that follow.

“The computer is incredibly fast, accurate, and stupid. Man is incredibily 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, Inormation, 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 2018  calendar is filling fast. In fact, it might be time to begin thinking about next January and 2019! Look for contact information at the Booking Site.

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Part 1: Computational Thinking: 10 Ways To Promote CT Across The Curriculum

ct

Welcome to part one on this series based on Computation Thinking. This first post will provide the “what” 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 BLC18 in Boston (July) and FETC19 Orlando (January) supporting teachers in PBL and more. 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 transformative practices 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 metacognition 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 metacognition 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 rigouous 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 2018  calendar is filling fast. In fact, it might be time to begin thinking about next January and 2019! Look for contact information at the Booking Site.

 

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Part 2 Starting PBL: 30 Amazing Resources To Help Plant A New PBL Idea

startPBL

Welcome to Part Two of starting a PBL project.   In this series I wish to help educators find ways to get ideas for a PBL they may wish to do with their class. I often think that the hardest part in PBL is coming up with an idea. In Part One I provided thoughts that can help you get that idea . In Part Two (this post) I will provide some valuable web resources. I do hope you enjoy!  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 PBL!  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 BLC18 in Boston (July) and FETC19 Orlando (January) supporting teachers in PBL and more. See booking info and please contact me anytime at (mjgormans@gmail.com). Thanks so much.  Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech).

Part 2 Starting PBL: 30 Amazing Resources To Help Plant A New PBL Idea

I sure hope you enjoyed that last post on ideas to get you started with that PBL unit. If you missed it then be sure to check it out here. As you know, the web provides us with many possibilities. As you suspect, there are a lot of PBL ideas out there. I often tell people you can begin a search in some of the following ways:

  1. Go to google and use key word PBL along with some other keywords… what do you find?
  2. Check out Twitter… use hashtag PBL along with some other keyword(s)… what might your tweet uncover?
  3. Perhaps there is an online competition that you have used or just come across… how can you turn it into a PBL?
  4. You may have found that perfect lesson at your favorite curriculum site… can it be expanded to a PBL?
  5. Don’t forget your local newspaper or favorite news outlet( local, national, and world)… what interesting story might engage students and also start a project?

There are also specific sites that are geared toward Project Based Learning.  Some provide an entire project. Others will give a lesson or activity that could be turned into a project when mapped out. Let me share some of those with you in the space below. Keep in mind that I am trying to keep it simple so you have a starting place. You may want to consider your subject area and organizations that support that specific curriculum. This will allow you to do your own search. Let’s get started!

1. BIE Tools – This is the BUCK Institute Project Search Database/ Here you will find a collection somewhere around 450 proven lesson plans to set any PBL desire into action. Look at the database but also click on the BIE home tab to view the entire site.

2. PBL Projects – This is a list of PBL possibilities for all grade levels in multiple subject areas.

3. Edutopia –This link brings you to a wonderful PBL treasure chest of ideas, resources, and research.

​4. Unit Starter Resources – These are from the Read to Be Ready Program in Tennessee and provide some great possibilities for building a PBL.

​5. Sites Supporting PBL – Use these resources for your Project Based Learning and collaborative based teaching. While you are using PBL in the classroom, search here for data sources, biography and inventor topics. Check subject area topics for development like math, science, and weather, and projects on countries and continents. There are projects for elementary levels as well as project ideas for middle and high school. Also listed are Problem Based Learning topics. Please explore them all! You will find great ideas for PBL learning

6. Learning Reviews – This website claims to connect kids to learning on the web. It really connects kids to awesome, engaging, rigorous, and relevant projects. It points to numerous websites on the internet that house some great PBL possibilities. Be sure to check out all of the subjects and grade levels.
Here are more than 30 websites with free PBL examples, guidance, rubrics, and templates. To see Project Based Learning lessons sorted by subject go to:
PBL Language Arts Projects by grade level
PBL Science Lesson Ideas by topic
PBL Math Project Ideas by topic
PBL Social Studies Project Ideas by grade level

7. TeachThought – Here you will find a long list of ideas for Project Based Learning. Take some time to explore for inspiration.

8. ​New Tech – A great collection of resources from an amazing school (New Tech High School). You will find authentic student owned PBL.​

9. Google Project Slide Resources Ideas – While not full-blown PBL there are some possibilities fo using Google Slides for presenting a PBL.

10. Seventeen Examples of STEM PBL – Take a look at this list of STEM activities that can be brought into PBL.

11. PBL Math Ideas – This is a wonderful collection of Math possibilities from  various location made possible by Thomasville City Schools.

12. Fifteen Classroom Literacy Ideas for Early Childhood – The folks at NWEA have assembled a wonderful list of real literacy ideas to bring your students not just in their early education years, but also ideas that can be adapted for older students. They can also work into a PBL. I like these as a base due to the authenticity possibilities.

13. Fifty Student Competitions – I mentioned competitions and how they can build into a PBL. Take a moment to check out the possibilities.

14.  Real Projects – Inspired by approaches pioneered in the US, and developed through a partnership between Innovation Unit and High Tech High in California, REAL Projects are now being used by schools all over England.

15. PBL U – Here are several great project already designed by the people at BIE. Take a look and learn more!

16. Global School Net – This organization supports 21st century, brain-friendly learning, and improves academic performance through content-driven collaboration. They engage educators and students in brain-friendly e-learning projects worldwide to develop science, math, literacy and communication skills, foster teamwork, civic responsibility and collaboration, encourage workforce preparedness and create multi-cultural understanding.

17. Imagination Foundation Cardboard Challenge – Take a break from digital technology and devices and find a way to bring old fashion technology in the classroom such as… cardboard! You will imagine some great PBL possibilties.

18.  iEarn – Join this interactive curriculum-based groups where students are creating, researching, sharing opinions and becoming global citizens.

19.  Roots and Shoots – Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots is the Jane Goodall Institute’s (JGI) global youth-led community action program, consisting of thousands of young people as they connect knowledge and service with the real world.

20.  ePals – This is another wonderful site allowing students to collaborate across the globe. Check out the amazing possibilities for PBL.

21.  Taking it Global –  Visit one of the world’s leading networks of young people learning about, engaging with, and working towards tackling global challenges.

22.  The Globe Program –  Take a look at this organization that inspires to promote the teaching and learning of science, enhance environmental literacy and stewardship, and promote scientific discovery.

23. New York Times Learning Reviews – Check out these wonderful and thought-provoking lesson plans that could be built into a PBL. You will be amazed!

24. NASA Search – Take a look at this data base of lessons and activities that could be empowered into some PBL possibilities. Not only might you get the idea for a PBL, you could also get specific lessons to put in your PBL map.

25. Arts Edge – One of my favorite places for the Arts from the Kennedy Institute. You are bound to find some wonderful ideas for a PBL.

26. The Exploritorium Tinkering Studio – Tinkering is at the very heart of formative learning, allowing for iterations that encourage revision and reflection.  Kids develop an understanding of how to learn from failure and setbacks in order to experience eventual success. The Tinkering Studio is primarily an R&D laboratory on the floor of the Exploratorium, but whenever possible they try to share their projects, activities, and developing ideas following an “open source” model. Learn how you too can enjoy their activities in your classroom while allowing your kids to Tinker and Make!

27. EGFI – If you are into STEM… than take a look at EGFI and all of its possibilities. Many of these activities and lessons can be scoped out to bring about a PBL. Give it a try!

28. Project Approach – Reading about—and seeing—project work in the classroom provides an excellent way to learn about or enhance one’s use of the Project Approach, a kind of project-based teaching and learning. The projects compiled here are sorted by grade level, with many making use of local surroundings and resources, integrating technology in purposeful ways, raising awareness about “green” issues, and achieving other goals aligned with best practices in 21st-century education.

29. PBL Clearing House – This University of Delaware site provides some interesting possibilities for secondary schools and PBL.

30. High Tech Elementary – Their high school projects are awesome. Take a look at these student projects aimed at the elementary

There you have it! I do hope you enjoy these thirty possibilities. I do plan on adding as I get more resources. If you know of one please let me know at (mjgormans@gmail.com) or on twitter at mjgormans.  I wish you the very best as you come up with that new PBL idea. Perhaps you now have at least one from your journeythroug this post. Enjoy the PBL journey!

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 2018  calendar is filling fast. In fact, it might be time to begin thinking about next January and 2019! Look for contact information at the Booking Site.

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Part 1 Starting PBL: 15 Strategies To Help You With A New PBL Idea

startPBL

Welcome to Part One of starting a PBL project.   In this series, I wish to help educators see ways to get ideas for a PBL unit of learning. I often think that the hardest part in PBL is coming up with an idea. In Part One, I plan on giving you some thoughts that can help you get that idea… and in Part Two,  I will provide some valuable web resources. I do hope you enjoy!  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 PBL!  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 BLC18 in Boston (July) and FETC19 Orlando (January) supporting teachers in PBL and more. See booking info and please contact me anytime at (mjgormans@gmail.com). Thanks so much.  Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech).

Part 1 Starting PBL: 15 Strategies To Help You With A New PBL Idea

So… you are trying to come up with an idea for that PBL. Like I said earlier, this is often the hardest part of designing PBL. Of course, you have so many questions and possibly not enough answers! Great… you are on your road to coming up with a great PBL. Before helping with these concepts here are some ideas you should consider first.

  1. What standards are to be covered? – Remember that whether we are enthusiastic about standards or not, standards probably are a reality we must live with. In some ways is does keep us grounded.
  2. Should standards or project idea come first? – This always reminds me of “Who’s on First”. My answer, it does not matter as long as the standards and project align. I have done it both ways. Although, it is sometimes hard to ignore that local authentic idea that is in our community. Can you match it to those standards?
  3. How long should my project last? – Many times this depends on how often you spend with students each day. Elementary may be different from high school.  You might be in a middle school that teams. I always recommend that the time period should match the standards. To much time spent could cause problems later in the year. Watch out for making the project so big that it engages all of us way outside the standards. Many times we plan something in the summer that we wonder what we were thinking once the school year starts. Start simple and you will find success!
  4. Can I use my past lessons in a project? – This is a great idea. Don’t reinvent everything.  Please take time to honor those succesful learning opportunities we have provided from the past. That analog file cabinet can be a gold mine! This is actually part of making that project map (See prior series post).
  5. Does a PBL have to include more than one subject? – The answer is no… but making connections is good. In fact, in elementary almost any subject can connect to ELA. Sometimes those connections to the real world outside the classroom are more important then to another discipline.

Now that we have defined some of these foundation concepts, we need to look to where we can get the idea for the project. Let’s explore!

  1. Borrow from the web or other professionals – This is always a great idea and sometimes a nice way to start. If there are ways to localize it… even better! The next post is for all of those that are looking for that opportunity to borrow from the web! As a side note… make sure you share back!
  2. Re-engineer a past project or lesson – So you have just learned about the PBL Gold Standards from BIE. Perhaps you have looked at my A-G Building Blocks. It might be time to look at that old project and consider ways to make it live up to authentic PBL Use or create vetting form based on these elements to determine the area of needs. Decide what elements of PBL that past unit must take on, and the make it happen! Perhaps you have a lesson that can actually be scoped out to become a small PBL. What a great place for those starting to begin their PBL journey!
  3.  Think world to local problems – Take a moment to brainstorm some of these problems. Consider the skills needed to solve these problems. What a great $C’s connection!  What questions might need to be answered to solve these problems? Look at you curriculum to see where this might fit. How can you integrate the questions,  problems, skills, and content together to provide an authentic and real world learning experience?
  4. Read the newspaper or watch the news – In relationship to “world and local problems” this can be an eye opener. It is amazing what we can see in the news. I often tell people, the more local… the better! Perhaps your students might even come up with project ideas. Once again remember… how does it fit to the standards?
  5. Brainstorm Open Ended Questions – With a group, think of open-ended questions that also might integrate with curriculum. List as many as possible and then investigate how these might lead to a project, and an even possible Driving Question.
  6. Empower Students – Perhaps you are doing a Genius Hour. Remember that ELA can always connect to that. There could be a unit of study in the near future where  students might come up with their own questions, which might lead to their own project. Remember to constrain this to standards.
  7. Observe your community – Take a drive, look at Google Earth, read and watch the news, listen to students and community concerns, discover community treasures, find out about unique community and business resources, and find out about area experts, heroes, and common folk. Take a moment to just imagine!  Do you see connections with the standards?
  8. Connect with others – Get ideas from a conference, put hashtag “PBLproject” (or something like that) into a Twitter search, talk with other educators nearby or far away, check out sites using a PBL as a keyword along with your subject area. You are bound to get some ideas!
  9. Go beyond problem solving – So many times we feel PBL must solve a problem. Perhaps the PBL will share an idea, promote a local landmark, recognize a person or people, design an opportunity, serve the public, create a material or nonmaterial possibility, celebrate success, provide a unique story and opportunity, or best yet… bring people together. I am sure you can keep going with ideas!
  10. Look at what is being done – So many times I see teachers struggle with PBL  while at the same time they are having students create something in a Makerspace, problem solving with Computational Thought, having students  create using Design Thinking, inquiring with STEM (STEAM), or having students take part in a local or online competition. All of these are great opportunities to investigate what it might take to transform one of these initiatives into a PBL that is standards based. Perhaps that PBL is already  or almost there!

There are my 15 ideas and strategies! Perhaps I could come up with more, but I will leave that to you. Afterall this is PBL! I hope you can see that in many ways you might be right on the edge of PBL on the road to coming up with another great idea. In the next post I plan on providing some of those PBL resource links, if you have not already found them. Afterall, I hope to help you start your own inquiry. Getting better at PBL is known to do that. It  really is engaging!

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information usefull to yourself and others.  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 2018  calendar is filling fast. In fact, it might be time to begin thinking about next January and 2019! Look for contact information at the Booking Site.

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Part 2: Ten Reasons for Mapping Out PBL… Scaffolds That Makes Project Based Learning Work

tm1Welcome to part two of mapping a PBL project.   In this series I wish to investigate that “why” and “how” while providing some ideas and resources to support PBL planning. I hope you enjoyed the information on how to scaffold and map a project in the first post. You can read it at this link.  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 BLC18 in Boston (July) and FETC19 Orlando (January) supporting teachers in PBL and more. See booking info and please contact me anytime at (mjgormans@gmail.com). Thanks so much.  Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech).

In this post I will share both why mapping in PBL is so important and several template ideas you can use based on the scaffold process I have described in the prior post. I sometimes feel that having a map is the difference between doing a project and doing a PBL Creating a map is the front-loading often described when designing PBL Note that not every lesson or activity needs to be designed or completed.  All the map needs are the titles of these learning activities. Once a map is created the products,  lessons, and assessments are tranfered to a calendar. Educators often ask why they should create a map. I thought I would provide ten reasons below.

Ten Reason for creating a scaffold or map for PBL

  1. Provides the teacher the needed intentional organization to make the PBL happen by providing the students and teachers a road map and sense of direction as they go through the project.
  2. Allows teachers to bring transformative and traditional methods together.
  3. Ensures that the standards are facilitated and assessed through the project.
  4. Facilitates individual assessment in and outside the group.
  5. Allows for proper alignment from the beginning question to the final project answer and assessment.
  6. Provides needed benchmarks for learning opportunities and assessments.
  7. Facilitates the movement of the project in a proper and productive timeline providing students and teachers a sense of direction and purpose.
  8. Encourages teachers with the idea of using prior successful lessons honoring past practice and time spent developing such learning opportunities.
  9. Allows teachers to vet a project ensuring lessons and learning activities contain all steps of Blooms Taxonomy and much of Webb’s Depth of learning, along with the 4 C’s (Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, and Creativity).
  10. Allows teachers to use a collaborative document that can be used in both group planning and sharing with others.

I have included a link to a mapping form that I have developed that you can even turn into a Google Form to collaboratively design a PBL with other educators.  You might also want to investigate a powerful template provided at the BUCK Institute (BIE) with  the provided link below.  Refer to the third page of the BIE document.

Resources:

PBL_mapping_template_2018r_mjgormans – Feel free to use this form (Template) to plan and design a PBL unit. It follows the design technique referred to in the first post. Note that the small letters after the word (Lesson) ask you to vet the lessons in reference to Blooms: remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating…  (r…u…a…a…e…c). You should have a nice cross section of Blooms. In that same line you will find;  Blocks ( A1234… B1234… C1234… D1234… E1234… F1234… G1234). This refers to the Block  Indicators I have created to support PBL design. Read the entire series. Once again, the lessons should have a nice cross section of these. Remember that PBL must be built with lessons that allow students to have a diverse collection of learning activities.

PBL Road Map Form (Example) 2018 mjgormans – This file provides a look at what a project map may look like when filled out. This was part of a Rube Goldburg Project that I had done with middle school students.

BIE (Buck Institute) – Learn from some of the various best research and planning resources from an orgaization that is a world leader in PBL I have learned so much from BIE and am honored to be a part of their natonal faculty. Take a look at their resource area for this template called the Student Learning Guide. As you look at page three you will see how this can be used to design a PBL  At another link for resources you will find filled out template examples along with other design resources.

I do hope you have a better idea of what a PBL really looks like through the eyes of a designer. As you get better at PBL you will find that the front loading gets easier and you may increase or decrease the structure I have described. It is fun to watch the students take more and more of the ownership, but always remember that this takes careful facilitation on the sideline by the teacher. As you learn to map out PBL you will discover how it really provides a scaffold for all learners allowing for authentic learning that is based on the standards. Enjoy your trip on the PBL treasure map!

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 2018  calendar is filling fast. In fact, it might be time to begin thinking about next January and 2019! Look for contact information at the Booking Site.

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Part 1: Ten Reasons for Mapping Out PBL… Scaffolds That Makes Project Based Learning Work

 

tm1By now you know that I really believe in the power of PBL.  It supports tested content standards and important 21st century skills while PBL providing teachers with the why and how. In this series I wish to investigate that “why” and “how” while providing some ideas and resources to support PBL planning.. 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 BLC18 in Boston (July) and FETC19 Orlando (January) supporting teachers in PBL and more. See booking info and please contact me anytime at (mjgormans@gmail.com). Thanks so much.  Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech).

As I travel the country I have so many teachers ask me what PBL really looks like. We analyze videos together, visit successful classrooms, and read case studies. While this satisfies part of their need I still have educators asking what does PBL look like. With some conversation it soon comes down to, what does PBL planning look like?

This is a great question to be asked because teachers can see that in many ways PBL allows for needed transformation, but also incorporates so much of what they may already do. Another question I am also asked is how a project can teach difficult standard? The answer… the project is the mechanism that the teachers uses to facilitate learning of standards. This may even involve an “explain session” by the teacher either through traditional means, or possibly a flip video, in or out, of classroom scenario. The next question usually is in regards to wanting to know how a project assesses the standards. The answer once again is through traditional means as a test, performance-based observation, ongoing formative assessment, or a combination of all. The teacher still provides assessment, but also incorporates student and peer assessment along with community (virtual or real) possibilities. Self-assessment is many times the most powerful.

Let’s go back to the question of how a PBL is planned. Of course, standards must be at the foundation. It might be that the teacher designs a project around standards, or it might be that the project comes first, and the teacher builds an integration to the standards. Both work, although some of the best will include a local community possibility, allowing for authenticity that incorporate the standards. Either way a question is the basis for inquiry and the question(s) will uncover the standards. Some of this will be addressed in a later blog.

As we talk about mapping or the scaffold of a project we refer to the design process of making a PBL. A PBL is made up of products. Take for instance a video student will make. We all know that the end-product is the video. Let’s examine what other products it took to get there. Perhaps there was an outline.. Students must be taught how to outline. There might also be a product of providing a narrative, or writing a journal, or examining details. There might be science content that must be researched which is another product, or a persuasive essay that will be the basis for the video. The persuasive essays might be an individual product that leads to a group video product.

Think of all the products I just mentioned. What lessons are needed for each product? Perhaps a lab, web quest, simulation, lecture, inquiry, video, guest speaker. All these lessons are mapped out under each product. Keep in mind these are lessons that may have always been done in the classroom. We do not always invent something new, we can incorporate the old in the product. Keep in mind that there must be assessments in the products. Some might be traditional, such as a quiz, while others might be performance-based, or even student self-reflection using an exit ticket.

The Product Map might look like what I have below. The teacher must think what lessons/activities and standards must be provided to make the learning come alive for students.

One Product for a PBL Video  (Keep in mind that this video will have multiple products. Others might in a persuasive essay, another research on a content subject, still another the outline as I spell out below)

Example: (Outline Product): (Keep in mind that standards, lesson/activities, and assessment must be aligned.

Standards (All of those outline standards that must be taught… list them on your map)

ELA001 Determining main ideas for an outline, ELA002 Supporting main ideas with details ELA003, Comparing phrses and sentences, ELA004 Proper sequencing of ideas, ELA005 Writing an outline, ELA006 Critiquing and revising techniques, ELA007 Connecting an outline to a written product

Lessons: (All those lessons and activities that must be incorporated… list them on your map)

Examination of final writing and outline , reading an outline, video on main ideas and supporting details, practice lesson on main idea and supporting details, collaborative outline writing lab, collaborative writing of outline from persuasive paper for video.

Assessment: (All those lessons and activities that must be incorporated… list them on your map)

Journal entries exit tickets, outline explanation, peer critique, teacher critique, even a basic quiz, and of course summative assessment of the final product.

This might be one product for the map of a video PBL. Think of the other products you will want to map out for the PBL. When we put all these product maps together we have a Project (PBL). They may include persuasive essay, research on a content subject, and even a product that covers prose to scripts and storyboards.

Keep in mind there is not one product grade or assessment. There are quite a few that will keep the student focused and on track. There are also a wide variety of means to facilitate the standards, including a lecture… although I believe most lectures should come after exploration and inquiry (Explain… part of  5E process). The students, through teacher guidance, may even be able to give it. As the mapping continues and is completed the teacher then takes all the products, lessons/activities, and assessments and will put them on a calendar.

In the next post I will share ten reasons why mapping in PBL is so important and several template ideas you can use based on the scaffold/mapping process I have described. I do hope you can see that thinking through the PBL with some mapping of ideas will ensure that real learning and authentic purpose are accomplished. While the students are owning the learning at the center, the teacher is involved with intentional planning at the start, effective facilitation from the side, and a shared and constant assessment through-out. These ideas provide that background look of what PBL really looks like! Be sure to gain more insight as you join me in part two of this post coming next and I hope you enjoy this PBL journey and treasure the idea of mapping!

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 2018  calendar is filling fast. In fact, it might be time to begin thinking about next January and 2019! Look for contact information at the Booking Site.

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15 Ideas to Ensure That Project Based Learning is Grounded in Content And Standards

 

PBL_content

You might know that I am a big proponent of PBL.  I believe that as we work on helping students understand the content standards, PBL provides teachers with the how. I do hope you enjoy this content driven article. 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 . See booking info and please contact me anytime at (mjgormans@gmail.com). Thanks so much.  Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech).

15 Ideas To Ensure That Project Based Learning Is Grounded In Content And Standards

It is important that Project Based Learning provides students with wonderful opportunities that allow them to take part in a culture focused on rich activities and experiences. It promotes those important 21st-century skills while balancing this acquisition with important content knowledge and standards. The lessons and activities are intentional, aligned, and mapped to curricular standards. The standards and skills are constantly assessed in a variety of ways involving numerous stakeholders.  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. The four areas that serve as indicators for grounding PBL  in standards are below.

1. Curricular Content
2. 21st Century Skills
3. Formative and Summative Learning Opportunities
4. Intentional, Aligned, Varied, and Constant Assessment

In this post, I would like to focus on the curricular content and standards that are one of the foundations of PBL. As I travel the country I will often hear teachers state that there is not the time for PBL because of the demands of the curricular content and standards. I understand this concern and the sincere desire that amazing teachers have in trying to prepare students for a successful future.  I do wonder about the difference between knowing standards and understanding standards, but I will save that for a future post.

First, I do agree that students do have the need to learn and understand base curriculum that focuses on important content standards. 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. PBL, when done right, allows teachers to focus on and facilitate important content and standards. So what is PBL done right? Let’s take a moment to investigate and reflect.

I have heard many interpretations of Project Based Learning. Often I hear a description that suggests that the teacher delivers the content and students follow up with an inspiring and engaging cumulative project. While this involves student doing a project, it really is not PBL. I call this teaching and then having students do a project.  Resources from BIE (BUCK Institute) describe this as a “dessert project”. This comes from the idea that first there is the teaching… and then a sweet project for dessert. While this can be useful and  can reinforce some learning it is not truly Project Based Learning. In fact, I would like to give this practice its own acronym,  LBP (Learning Before Projects). I can understand how we as educators might not have time for this encore or dessert style or approach. PBL, however, is not an afterthought!

In true Project Based Learning the project uncovers and facilitates the learning of significant content. In PBL, there is a balance of learning that occurs throughout the project’s duration. It is this combination that allows for quality and rigor while helping students see the connection of content to the real world. It is important to understand that the ongoing project itself, through careful teacher planning,  must facilitate the learning.  Furthermore, it is  essential that a PBL unit is designed with proper scaffolding or mapping that includes both learning activities and effective ongoing assessment. In fact, some of these activities might actually be existing lessons that a teacher has always used. It is even possible and probable that part of the scaffold will include readings, lectures, and even a worksheet, although it is important to keep a balance using all of Bloom’s levels. While assessment is varied, there is nothing wrong with including a summative test. After all, our students will be facing these for awhile as they continue their educational careers. It is important to note that because the project is used as a base and point of reference throughout the learning, the element of time becomes much more productive than what might occur in LBP (Learning Before Projects). Through this process, the  learning, understanding, and application of  significant content  standards will become an important outcome. PBL provides the rigor of learning new content along with the engagement apparent in a student-centered program based on deeper learning. The content becomes the “what” while PBL is the “how”.  Below you will find twelve ideas to keep in mind in order to ensure that a PBL unit contains those important content standards.

  1. The entry event or launch should show a relationship to the Driving/Investigative Question promoting a “need to know” of the standards and content.
  2. The entry event serves as a link bewtween student prior knowledge and what students are about to learn.
  3. The Driving/Investigative Question should allow students to uncover the curriculum standards in a student friendly and understandable manner.
  4. Student inquiry in the project allows for motivation, engagement and ownership of the learning and the standards. The inquiry alloiws for the cycle of learning in the project.
  5. PBL shoud get students beyond the nouns in the standards allowing real life practice of those verbs that are also in the standards.
  6. Any PBL planning sheets and activities for students should line up with the standards and content in the curricular area being studied and assessed.
  7. The project should be ongoing and made up of activities and lessons that facilitate the learning of significant content.
  8. Formative learning activities and assessments that teach and reinforce the significant content should be mapped and occur throughout the timeline of the project.
  9. While innovative and student-centered learning is encouraged,  the scaffolding of the project can still include traditional lecture, tests, and textbook readings that promote significant content. Yes… rich engaging lectures can be used!
  10. The PBL map should include a wide range of Bloom’s levels and deeper learning opportunities. While digital technology can amplify the experience, it is not always neccessary.
  11. There should be rubrics developed that evaluate student learning outcomes and rubrics should be aligned with the significant content and student performance. Students and their peers should also be part of the evaluation process.
  12. The final project should not only emphasize the content standard verbs (21st century skills) but should show the learning and understanding of significant content at he highest levels.
  13. The final project should demonstrate student understanding and learning of the standards and content. At the same time it should provide an answer to the Driving /InvestigativeQuestion providing students the “why”.
  14. Since learning is embedded throughout the project, consider the number of standards when determining the length of the project. There should be a balance and productivity in the learning experience.
  15.  Remind students the importance of learning about and understanding the content standards throughout the project. This can be facilitated by providing important formative and summative assessment that ensures accountability while connecting the learning to real life.

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 the important content standards while providing that needed foundation. In a world that is seeing content multiply at an exponential rate, it is also important to help students become seekers of knowledge and lifetime self-learners. Along with those additional 21st century skills, PBL provides the avenue to both build the content foundation while activating the natural ability to 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… 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. My 2018  calendar is filling fast. In fact, it might be time to begin thinking about next January and 2019! Look for contact information at the Booking Site.

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