Battle of the Ultimate Animal: a PBL project for 3rd grade students
I have personally learned a lot through this course about project-based learning. I have learned that much of what we do in the classroom has some elements to PBL and we probably just haven’t been aware of it. I feel like I have a good grasp on how to write a driving question and found the Tubric the most helpful when it came time to really write it. I also feel like I have a good understanding of assessments (both summative and formative) and I really do understand the importance of detailed rubrics. If I have learned nothing else from my time as a graduate student it is the value of a detailed rubric. Clear and concise expectations eliminates a lot of fears and I have come to truly value them. I really appreciate having the rubric BEFORE beginning any assignment as it gives me a clear direction of where the professor wants me to go. I believe that all students, no matter the age, deserve the same. The thing I feel I understand the least is how to “let go” and let the students guide themselves. I suppose it is the teacher and parent in me that wants to resist that a bit. I feel that it is one of those “practice makes perfect” ideas and that over time I will become more and more comfortable. I just have a clear understanding of time constraints in the classroom and keeping students on task and moving at a similar pace is the most difficult.
To be honest, I had no idea what to expect in this course. I had read the course description and I thought I understood the theory behind project-based learning but after perusing BIE.org it is just so much bigger and detailed. I definitely learned more than I expected and am excited to implement more PBL into my practice.
Going forward I know that I need to “let go” of the reigns more and let the kids have more discovery opportunities for their learning. I think the greatest thing I have discovered is that I do not have to invent my own PBL projects by myself, there is a plethora of resources already written and ready to go. That is a huge relief to me and I know that it will be easier to get my team on board as well. As a former professor once told me, “there is no need to reinvent the wheel.” I believe that the information I have learned in this course will help me to “tweak” any PBL project I will use in the future to better meet the needs of my students without having to write a new one from scratch.
I was grateful for the peer review process. Tammy Rodriguez offered many good ideas and questions for me to ponder and make better. Not only was she a valuable second pair of eyes on formatting and links, she had some suggestions on some content I could improve upon. She gave me some good insights on how I can improve my assessments from her own experience and I appreciated her wisdom and expertise. While there were some things I would love to change and make better (including even more technology), I felt that given my current school issues with infrastructure I felt it was best to keep it as is at this point. I know that the two major school districts I have worked for both in Idaho and Utah have been very short on funding and technology in the hands of every student is only available in Title One schools. The majority of the children I have taught have not had daily access to electronic devices and computer lab visits are minimal.