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Webinar 3 Exit Question—What is the one area of Project-Based Learning that still has you a feeling bit anxious or unprepared to do?

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Total Posts: 72

Joined 2014-06-05

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Thank you for all your replies.  Your concerns are one’s that I have heard before.  Let me see if I can address them by topic:

1.  Keeping students engaged.  As I have said, providing activities around subjects students want and allowing them to have voice in the learning will go a long way.  Ensuring that the driving question is comprehensive enough that it will take students some time to answer is important, yet not nearly as important as ensuring that the question is one the students want to answer.  For example, when a student wants to go to a concert and doesn’t have enough money or a car to get there, but they really want to go….I guarantee you they will do whatever they have to do to figure out how to make it happen.  Use the same strategy when designing an activity.  Make it so compelling that they just cannot resist.  You do that by letting them decide what is important.

2.  PBL can take time, but probably not as much as you would think.  This is especially true if you are allowing students to make most of the decisions.  You will have to do some preparation in capturing student voice, creating activities, scheduling activities, and preparing the tools necessary to walk them though mapping and designing a driving question, but once you get through the first few sessions, you hardest job is going to be facilitating that learning.  You will need to practice how to facilitate and guide students with questions, so that they can learn on their own.

3.  Time constrictions.  For those of you who have time barriers or just can’t commit to a full semester, start small.  Look at the Project-Based Learning websites on Y4Y’s Learn More Library for PBL and search for short PBL learning activities.  The goal is to begin letting students experience hands-on, self-directed learning.  So it may actually be a good idea to start with shorter projects especially if you are a novice Listen to my Podcast next week on Bloom’s Taxonomy.  Within the script, I will provide project ideas and I think that will help all of you develop some shorter projects.

4.  Teacher training.  You can ask teachers to watch the recorded version of these webinars.  You can also go to the PBL Module on Y4Y and click on the Teach section to download pre-developed trainings and training starters which will help you begin to introduce this strategy.

5.  Student resistance.  This will be novel for students.  They aren’t going to be accustomed to this kind of classroom.  Be patient with them, help them understand the process and be sure to listen to them and respect their voice.  Believe me,  they catch on to this type of learning quickly and once they get use to it, you will find it a challenge to get them back to any other way.

If you have any insights or advice you would like to add to this thread, please post it.  We all have something important to contribute.

Kathleen

     
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Total Posts: 7

Joined 2015-09-09

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DanW - 15 September 2015 12:34 PM

I am anxious on how to gather what is meaningful for the youth.  We have done interest surveys but they are mainly just for activities that we have done.

In our PBL we have used a community needs assessment model where the students begin with brainstorming, “What is a Community?”, “What things do people need to have a safe and healthy community?”.  With this list or illustrated map of a community, we ask, “Which places, items, or services are there maybe not enough of in our community?”  Projects have included demonstration gardens; partnering with Habitat for Humanity on builds; hygiene kit component gathering (PR), assembly (manufacturing), and distribution; as well as Health and Prevention (water safety, fire safety, and hand washing) related PSA presentation to a local kindergarten.

     
RankRankRank

Total Posts: 72

Joined 2014-06-05

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What a great approach Angela.  Involving students in community service projects helps them become empathetic and generous citizens.  Have you done any reflection activities with them?  I would love to hear some of the outcomes.

This approach is used here in Central Texas on a Juvenile Justice Campus.  Students who are placed in juvenile detention have community service as one of the classes.  Lead by a dynamic teacher, this activity has led to very positive outcomes.  Just to hear students discuss how they once cared only about themselves to now wanting to continue serving others is very remarkable.

     
Rank

Total Posts: 7

Joined 2015-09-09

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I made a mini-poster for each project participant that looked like a board game. They added meeting dates and project benchmarks as they progressed.  I created “game pieces” using Microsoft clipart that represented skills that were practiced or attained during the project. Participants could paste game-pieces like “met someone new” and “was a good listener” from the very first meeting.  This model helped as a visual to support continuity and intentionality.  At the beginning of each meeting, we used the game board for a reflection activity to remind us how we began and how far we had come.  “How many job skills have you gained or practiced?” “What are they?”  I will attach the skills list, used in Service Works, written by Jaimie Timmons.

     
Rank

Total Posts: 7

Joined 2015-09-09

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Reflection List

     

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RankRankRank

Total Posts: 72

Joined 2014-06-05

PM

Thank you so much for the resource Angela.  I will highlight it during next week’s webinar.  Do you happen to have a picture of the poster you all did?

I would love to show it.

     
Rank

Total Posts: 7

Joined 2015-09-09

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photo of one participant’s timeline board/reflection tool

     

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Click thumbnail to see full-size image

RankRankRank

Total Posts: 72

Joined 2014-06-05

PM

Thanks Angela.  That is so creative.

     
Rank

Total Posts: 2

Joined 2014-06-06

PM

Thank you, Angela!  I love the way you structured your brainstorming around the driving question and the reflection piece.  I appreciate you sharing it with us.