Teaching or Learning...Which one is it?
Paul Andersen stated one very intriguing thing that ties in to what I stated above. He said "I don't think you've learned something until you can explain it to somebody else". While he did it differently by reviewing/interviewing his students it was also done by Mr. Crosby with the blog posts. Mr. Andersen also had a summary quiz, which, while I feel it is ok for assigning a test grade, I don't feel that it is absolutely necessary for the students to show what they know. Haven't they already done this during the review session? Mr. Andersen did state that he won't even allow them to move on the summary quiz until they have explained to him what they have learned during the review session. So, is the summary quiz really necessary? The only benefit I see is for the teacher and not so much for the student. If a lot of the students are missing the same questions, maybe that objective was not clearly covered in any of the material they have gone over or maybe it is just a bad question. To really get at what a student knows we need to, as Mr. Andersen did, probe them until they can justify why they are giving certain answers. I believe a summary quiz should only be given as a tool for the teacher to know if they have covered every objective intended and it should not be keep "guessing" until you get it right. See what was missed. Marry this up to the verbal responses and go from there. If they explained it well and justified their answer, they clearly know what they were talking about. Maybe the problem is not with the students but with the questions.
Mr. Church decided to get some brainstorming going on in his classroom. Having worked in business for 10+ years, I can say that it is a very useful tool for a student's future. People need to be able to collaborate. Groups need to come up with ideas, a task, and then develop that idea into something tangible. While he had the students get into small groups and come up with ideas, the next step would be developing these ideas through research. Also, through research, collaboration, and candid discussion, these students are able to refine their idea and justify their position on such a topic while producing tangible evidence that supports their position.
In the Project Based Learning Video I truly enjoyed how three different teachers came together and was able to show the students how all of the things they were learning worked together. If students have the chance to see how math and science is related, how Literature, Social Studies, and Information Processing are related, and how if they work together they can accomplish an enormous feat, isn't this worth pursuing? The students want to be able to see why they need a certain subject and a lot of times it is hard to tell/show them how it can be applied elsewhere. Being that I will be teaching math next year, I want to be able to show my students the math involved in science, and how they can create with math. I want them to see how it is all connected and the way the teachers did that in this video was just amazing. I liked, even more, how a student saw that they had done sub-par work after viewing another students' presentation and wanted to go back and make it better. I liked how after receiving feedback from the teachers, three students had stated that they were proud of their work when they thought they might have been done before the feedback. Students want to do the best they can and sometimes all they need is a little nudge. This nudge can come in many different ways. It can come from several teachers asking about similar things. It can come from one teacher saying "I see this, but what about that" which inspires them to dig deeper. It's all about invoking curiosity among the students. If we can get students interested in what they are learning, we can teach them to learn about anything.
Roosevelt Elementary's Project Based Learning (PBL) approach should speak wonders to teachers around the world. The statement made by one teacher that said that every child has a spark really hit home with me. This means, to me, that every child is learning but in their own way. Without PBL some of these student's may have not ever realized their potential for academic success and as such would have gone through school failing and feeling like a failure their entire life. You can see it in adults even after they have left school. You can see that we are all different and we have differing strengths and weaknesses so why are we trying to teach every child the same way? Why do we expect every child to learn the same way? With PBL, as mentioned in the video, it allows students to have a sense of ownership; PBL allows for different learning styles within a classroom and makes sure every student is allowed to show that individual spark. In the video it also spoke about one very important aspect of PBL and that is public speaking. Why is this important? It is important because as adults, to even get a job, you must be able to present who you are to an audience and prove that you are that right person for the job. You will constantly be tasked with presenting ideas/sharing your thoughts with an audience. This may be an audience of 1 or of millions but if you are confident in what you have done and have the experience of speaking in public without being ridiculed, you will be a confident and very good public speaker and I believe PBL is preparing these students for such a thing. Today a classroom, tomorrow the world!