Archive for February, 2010

Grouping, inquiry and project work – what size is best?

PBL online discussion groups and other PBL resources…

Continue Reading February 26, 2010 at 3:01 PM Leave a comment

Kids want to know problems with NGOs

NGO skepticism runs rampant in today’s wrap up of the quiz.

Continue Reading February 24, 2010 at 3:27 PM 1 comment

21. Evaluating NGOs – What’s hard? What’s surprising?

Learn about the world of helping organizations. Find out how the kids are feeling about TAP with excerpts from today’s quiz and get a glimpse of an easy-to-manage assessment.

Continue Reading February 23, 2010 at 10:02 AM 2 comments

20. Student feedback so far.

What are the kids saying about the picking an action process? The use of journals to keep project based learning on track…

Continue Reading February 22, 2010 at 2:59 PM Leave a comment

19. Evaluating a smorgesbord of NGOs and finally proposing a project!

Treading the thin line between solid scientific literacy and sucking the fun out of picking an NGO to support. Find out how we did and do it way better when you try it 🙂

Continue Reading February 19, 2010 at 3:45 PM 3 comments

18. Beyond the Bake Sale! Choosing a creative action.

Get kids to come up with creative, fun and social ideas for raising funds, educating and inspiring others to act, or doing something useful in the world using what they love to do.

Continue Reading February 18, 2010 at 3:48 PM 1 comment

17. Poverty, Population and Education at the root?

Teaching “Root Cause Analysis” and how health of the planet is closely tied to our health.

Continue Reading February 17, 2010 at 6:01 PM Leave a comment

Day 16: Interconnected World Problems

What did kids get from the powerpoints of world problems? What are they learning about the interconnectedness of world problems? And how were these activities managed?

Continue Reading February 16, 2010 at 5:39 PM Leave a comment

13. PowerPoints Day 2

A second rather grueling day of kids presenting their TAP powerpoints. It’s going painfully slowly. It takes 5 minutes per student MINIMUM, no way round that I can find.

It’s really important to reduce wait time for getting up their powerpoints. Best is on flash drive. Second best is on a cd. Third is downloaded from their e mail onto the school student server. Fall back is printed pages for projection with our document camera. This option is sometimes the only way for dealing with the Mac/PC photo compatability problems.

IS IT WORTH IT? The big question.

Well, yes we think. Karen and I reminded ourselves that we really do want kids to see the connections between the problems in the world and the middle school science curriculum. And the wide range of problems out there. But do they remember anything worthwhile from each other’s presentations? We’re having them each write “What surprised me about ____?” from each presentation. The “Better Cause and Effect Web” activity that follows will help us evaluate both their enthusiasm and engagement with world problems AND what they learned from each other. So stay tuned. We’ll be getting there by Wednesday of next week.

The quality of their work is better than last year, yay, we learned something 🙂 But still have a few that don’t get the central issue and phrase stuff in a very passive way. I always finish by asking “But tell us why YOU care about this issue.” and then get the best sound bite of the presenatation.

Need to be careful with how and when to give feedback to the presenters. Too much teacher input during makes them nervous, duh, and slows the process down. I have to talk LESS and let kids talk MORE. A concept I’m still struggling with 26 years in to the profession!

Based on our experiences this year, we’ve tweaked the rubric and ppt guidelines for next and will upload it in the next day or so.

Forgive the slightly rushed sound, that’s because it is! Have a great evening, off to a writer’s conference in Sebastopol to learn how to write non fiction for kids….


February 10, 2010 at 4:26 PM 1 comment

12. Sharing the World’s Problems with PowerPoint Presentations

A scramble to get to powerpoints with finishing up some genetics sheets and it being a mystery minimum day – we don’t know why but, hey, nice to have the afternoon off! Crazy with classes though. Very little high level thinking goes on with such short periods.

School scheduling, there’s a hot potato that really influences how kids learn and the depth vs breadth that can be taught. As well as the practicality of project based learning. I’m really into some kind of block scheduling…

I was disappointed in the level of information in their powerpoints today. Kids who had not understood global warming or what ‘cause’ or ‘effect’ means. It really had not occurred to me that these words are unclear.

When I am feeling pressured, I am a little less kind when critiquing their work and need to really watch that. The point is to TEACH them to be better presenters and not to crush their enthusiasm. But it DOES need to be accurate so I have to comment on that.

I get the overwhelming feeling that most of them are just trying to get the points and are therefore not really getting the real point. I’m not hearing passionate talks about stuff they clearly care about… yet.

Maybe tomorrow will be better. It will be. Oh, I forgot, we have a full evacuation drill tomorrow – another rushed period. But maybe the day after THAT! 🙂

Mrs. Mediocrity aka Sue

February 8, 2010 at 1:51 PM Leave a comment


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