Skip to main content

What Students Want in PBL Classroom: Round 1

 When students have completed and presented their work, the project isn't over. We don't just throw it out like the trash.

  One of the key design features of Gold Standard Project Based Learning is reflection.  We ended our first project in AP Physics 1 today,  and I asked students to reflect on the project process and reflect on what helped them learn and what improvements could be added to the system.  So, here is what they said was good for their learning.

The big takeaways for me are that although I assign problem sets to be completed outside of project time, they still find them beneficial.  Project time does take away from the ability to go over problem sets together or correct them as a class.  So, having a posted solution has been key.  Also, I have the feedback board where students can list problems that we can go over as a class when necessary.  We used this a few times in the momentum unit and I though it was a great way to help with the most difficult problems that I'm guessing most students had problems with but we're afraid to ask about.

The next feedback board features what we did that did not help.  Looking at the first point, there seems to be some disagreement about the comment.  I didn't have time to talk about it today, but we'll definitely need to clear that up.  The next comment about not wanting to derive formulas in lectures goes to the what students want when we take the time to go over information,  if they really want to see the derivation of formulas, they could do that in the book.  That is not what is going to help them complete the task at hand.

The last category of feedback was to see what we should be doing that we are currently not doing.  The biggest thing is more quizzes as a class.  Now remember these are the practice quizzes we use to track progress.  I look forward to building more of these in to help break up a 90 minute class period of project time.  But, as you can see students were still asking for more time to work on the video.  Hopefully as time goes by, the students will become more familiar with the workflow of creating the video, but I understand the desire for more time.  But, we can't have more quizzes and example while still adding more project time.  If we tried this we wouldn't be able to cover all the required AP content in the course.

The other comments include AP review sessions which aren't necessarily tied into the project based course.  It is a strange situation.  We are on the block, so I'll be done with my students in January and the AP test is in May, so we will need to have several review sessions in preparation.  I did 5 last year and about 20% of students attended. We'll see what the turnout is like this year.
Moving to a curriculum that is not focused on testing as the primary summative assessment, it's interesting to see students ask for a practice test.  I think it could be interesting to assign a practice test and go over it in class the following day.  I'll definitely take this suggestion to heart.

As my stu dents continue to move forward with more projects, it'll be interesting to see what the feedback will be like as it relates to the projects.  Right now, though, it seems like the major feedback is trying to find a way to include a little more assistance with content not directly tied to the project work.

Popular posts from this blog

Waves of Innovation in Elmbrook Part 1

As a part of a graduate project, I am looking at innovations in education within my school district, Elmbrook Schools. I am specifically focusing on those looking to provide learners with more ownership over their own learning (a.k.a. personalizing learning). I've completed 4 interviews so far.  I had no intention of sharing them via this blog.  But, I think the stories and insights of these educators really are important for all.  They were vulnerable in a way that shows their passion for what they are undertaking.  They want the best for all learners not simply students, but educators who may hear their words.  So, please take the time to listen to their stories.  

In this video, Jeff Ortman a teacher in his 22nd year, discusses implementing strategies to give students ownership of their learning in his high school English classroom.  He discusses why he wanted to change his learning environment, his first steps to bring change, how choice and feedback are key to his classroom, a…

Can I Believe These Numbers?

Our union put out the results of a recent district survey.  The number of those who responded to the survey was low in comparison to the total number of certified staff. But the number and comments related to personalized learning struck me as troubling.

Based on this data, over half of the district staff polled are not onboard with the district's vision for personalized learning.  I would argue that not knowing the district vision for personalized learning is synonymous with not understanding what personalized learning is. The mission of the Elmbrook School Districtto inspire every student to think, to learn and to succeed.  By personalizing learning, we hope to achieve that mission.
I begin to question have we put the phrase before the meaning?  Have we thrown out this word without intention?  Have we made it to much of another thing to do rather than a method to achieve our shared vision.
These numbers shake me to the core.  After the recent presidential election, I realized I was…

How to Personalize Learning Part 3: Knowing How a Classroom Learns

Now, it may seem contradictory to state that teachers should create a classroom learner toolkit.  All individuals in our class have their own profile. We can’t simply design on blanket profile for the class.  That is very true.  That’s why Bray and McClaskey take a different approach to what a classroom learning toolkit looks like.  It is a 3-step process Class Learning Snapshot Preferences and Needs Class Learning Toolkit

Class Learning Snapshot In this model of designing tools for a whole classroom, the authors first recommend the teacher identify 4 learners who are diverse.  The Class Learning Snapshot records the specific strengths, talents, interests, and challenges of those four learners. If a teacher could meet the needs of these diverse learners through UDL, the needs of the other students in the class would probably be met.

Student Strengths, Talents, and Interests Challenges 1 It's easier for me to understand content when I am taught by a teacher and then am able to get informati…