PBL World ‘Summer Camp’
Bob Lenz, CEO of Buck Institute opens this conference in Napa at the beautiful American River High School, with the news that the conference has grown from 450 last year, 825 attending the conference this year. Over 300 on the waitlist. This is a growing movement! 38 states represented, 26 international participants.
Day 1 is for INSPIRATION.
PBL for all, regardless of background. How do we ensure it is EQUITABLE, that all students can access it, hold same level of expectations for all students. PBL needs commitment and coherence – structure, polices that support deep PBL. PBL transformational for teachers as well as students. It makes for the most memorable experiences of school probably for all of us. Take a moment…. yeah, for me it was making a molecule exhibit for parents night, the turquoise blue ink of my 6th grade Inca report with illustrations as a little book. What were your most memorable school or college projects?
Gia Truong CEO of Envision Eduction.
It’s a PBL that culminates into a student portfolio that students have to defend. It helps reduce educational inequity by institutional racism. The system has to be interrupted. It needs to be through a collaborative learning stance. Graduates need to be academically competitive and have a strong sense of self and their connection to the world. Envision students 70% get free or reduced lunch. 4/5 are first generation college entrants.
The portfolio and defense system is a performance assessment where students demonstrate their right to advance. They have to show they have the academic content, core competencies and 21st leadership skills. You have to DEFEND THAT YOU ARE READY. Defend authentic work that you are proud of. Meaningful projects. Questions are asked by the panel, and students have to answer on the fly. They are proving both to the panel and to THEMSELVES that they really know their stuff. Many have to try again but they fail in a supportive environment. This make it much more likely they will survive the bumps of their first year of college. 90% survive their first year from Envision.
We need to strengthen and develop young people who will change the world.
Aaron Brengard, Principal Katherine Smith School. Fighting the ‘Snap Back’ by staying focused on the PBL mission. There are so many outside pressures like state testing. Are our projects good enough? Are we giving students what they need from Elementary school. Are parents seeing their students’ progress? Did an alternative to Open House where each student had to present their work. 1,500 people showed up. Mediocre PBL sucks. Work has to be put out there to more than just the teacher. A real audience.
Found that skills like asking questions from the driving question, how to work in groups did NOT do the ‘summer slide’, they were ready to go at the start of the school year. This is a big piece of equity where poorer students have the worst slide in academics over the summer. You have to TRUST ourselves through the mess ups, the process and each other.
Andrea Aust, Senior Manager, KQED
KQED provides a platform for students and teachers to share their ideas about issues that are important to them with a broader community.
#EngineerThat challenge. Started by having kids look for problems that need solving at school, home or in the community. Example: ePoints – extra credit gone digital. Teen think tank from Ca Academy of Sciences rated them.
PBL NEEDS A BROADER AUDIENCE than just the teacher grading a paper to get their best work.
See Letters to the Next President, including 1 m short videos from students. What campaign issue impacts your life the most? A great example with the effects of immigration policy on a girl who’s mother was deported.
Jessica Wood, Project Manager, Expeditionary Learning
modelsofexcellence.ELeducation.org for what 7th grade students in Chicago did in reaction to the Sandy Hook shootings.
Hooked on Books was done by 7th and 8th graders in Santa Fe giving away awards for young children reading. Then needed to get books to poor kids. So they collected books and put them on bookshelves in the DMV and doctors offices etc. Then they worked with teachers to make a 2 week summer program ‘Reading is Magic’ for little kids. The little kids made a year of progress in that 2 weeks.
Revitalize Rochester was about restoring water restoration. 1st year, the city said it was too expensive. Next year, the next 6th grade tried again and it was successful.
Perspectives of Sand Diego Bay – a field guide for the bay, that did not exist by HS. K, 1 kids made a Tide Pool Treasures kit to help other kids understand tide pools.
Models of what they could do, examples, inspires kids and doesn’t scare them.
Ken Kay, Ed Corps. CEO EdLeader 21
“Tell a story that conveys your passion about PBL.”
Produce a business plan to improve something in the school. A writing then choosing process to find the best plan and the CEO.
Sell the passion story of PBL. Create a vision that propels PBL in the COMMUNITY. Its about problem solving, critical thinking etc. which is the environment where PBL will thrive. See the next blog post for details of this talk that I attended. Cool guy who totally knows what he’s talking about.
Megan Pacheco, Chief Learning Officer at New Tech Network
What if math was were kids were working to solve problems using math, real problems in the world around them. She designed a math/science PBL course at New Tech High. Students got interesting problems to solve to become mathematical thinkers.
How do you get PBL to stick? It’s about how all the parts of the system come together as a cohesive whole. It includes:
1. A clear and shared purpose – a set of outcomes ex. critical thinking, collaboration. Student engagement. Needs problems they can’t solve on their own.
2. A culture of collaboration with staff. ex. sharing and critiquing projects and ideas. A culture of transparency. Windows instead of walls. So everyone can see what’s working. Ask students what’s working and their suggestions. Trust and respect.
3. Structures that enable: team teaching, collaborative planning time and spaces, extended blocks of time. Integrated classes across curriculum. Flexibility for kids to get out into the community.
Project Localize changing the ways that students look at food. Identify who grows their food and figure out the pathways, the problems and sustainable solutions including pop-up exhibits and dialogue with politicians.
Miki Tomita: Hokule’a and the worldwide voyage, caring for our island earth.
Polynesian Voyaging Society They rebuilt the the first traditional canoes in 600 years. One of the last traditional navigators left in the world was a very old man in Micronesia. Retraces the path of the ancestors and this revived traditional navigations in the 1970s. Canoes are islands in the middle of the ocean. Have to figure out how to survive a month at a time, like the island Earth.