Wednesday, April 3, 2013

My First PBL!

Ok, so I know what you're thinking: "Two posts in one day?  Usually she doesn't even post every month!  What's blown up her skirt?".  Yeah, well, it's Spring Break and I have a lot of free time to catch up.  I also quickly realized I wasn't going to get much done at home so I came into work and, as a result, you got 2 posts in one day!  

Anyway, to get to my point, I finalized my first PBL today!  Whoo hoo!  This is pretty exciting stuff here.  Some of you might be thinking "What is a PBL?".  Well, to answer your question, PBL stands for Project based learning (or sometimes referred to as Problem based learning).  If you've never heard of it, look into it and learn about it.  Marty's PBL Symbaloo was created by Marty Creech and was shown to me in a PBL professional development workshop.  I found it to be very helpful and insightful.  It's pretty fascinating stuff.  The basic idea is to get students to learn information by creating projects or solving problems/scenarios.  They are having to figure things out on their own, with some guidance, as opposed to us spelling it out for them.  This is, from what I can tell, meant to replace your standard powerpoint lecturing and worksheets. FYI: I fell asleep just thinking about that.  

Now, if you are one of those teachers, don't feel discouraged or think I am putting you down by saying that.  I have just been shown a new light and feel like it is an AWESOME approach to student learning.  I'm a changed teacher. If that works for you keep chugging down that track.  But, may I present you this question:  How many worksheets does the average working adult complete?  I can honestly say my boyfriend has never brought home a worksheet to do that must be completed by the next day and he works for a multi-billion dollar corporation.  

Now, please understand that I have not completely re-done all my lesson plans....yet.  I still have powerpoints and tried-and-true worksheets I give out to my students.  DisneyWorld wasn't built in a day. All I'm saying is that it's obvious that our standarized tests are moving away from the multiple choice format and more toward an open-ended problem solving format.   

MY FIRST PBL has to do with understanding the lines of evidence that help support the theory of evolution.  Instead of giving them fill in the blank notes, I am giving them a scenario in which they have to create a presentation for their fictious 12 year old daughters class.  If you'd like to check it out, you can click here to be redirected to the google doc.  

As I was researching trying to get some ideas, I ran across a pretty awesome rubric for an Evolution project by  Everett Public Schools Online HS which helped inspire my scenario.  I modified my rubric I plan on using to fit my scenario a little better (but still gave them credit of course) and feel like this could be a pretty solid start to PBLing. To view the rubric I created, click here.  I also created a Symbaloo for my kids to use to help them find the information they need to create their presenation.  To view the symbaloo my students will be using, click here.

I plan on trying to do this over a 3 day period April 15th-17th so we'll see how it goes.  I'll make sure to blog afterwards to reflect on it.  Until then....

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