Showing posts from May, 2016

Revision in the PBL Process...Part 1

After using project-based learning for a full school year, I have found that getting students to critique and revise their projects is a struggle.

We all know that it is an essential part of any process that involves a final product, but some of my students do not seem to see the benefit of revising their work before submitting it, which means that I end up with projects that seem more like a rough draft than a final draft. Of course this is not just a weird quirk about Minarets; I experience it at my old school site and my fellow teachers at a variety of levels and schools also experience this frustration.

At the start of the year, I knew that I needed to make revision part of the PBL process in my classroom. I decided to do this in two ways:
Scaffold Process: Rather than assigning a giant project that was due in two weeks and saying 'Well, good luck!',  I have students complete their projects in steps. For example, they  turn in a topic proposal then a research organizer, a r…

My [Bumpy] Road to #COL16

I think it was almost three years that I discovered that you could become a Google Certified Teacher, an educator that got prestigious training at Google Headquarters and got to collaborate with some of the most innovator educators in the world. Even though I was still in my first year of teaching and was just learning the potential that Google and edtech had in my classroom, I knew that one day I wanted to become a Google Certified Teacher.

Flash forward to January 2016: Google had revamped its Training Center and "Google Certified Teachers" were now Google Certified Innovators. I was eagerly awaiting my email from Google about whether I had been accepted into #MTV16, the first cohort for the new program to meet in Mountain View. Even though I knew that getting accepted into the prestigious Google program typically required multiple applications, I still hoped that maybe I would somehow get in on the first try.

When it came to the application, I had trouble coming up with c…

Evolution of Warfare

Warfare is always a favorite topic for my students. Maybe its the excitement from the action or the emotional response that is brought on by the death involved, but student engagement always improves dramatically as soon as we start discussing a war, especially WWI. This year I had the opportunity to push student engagement even more by mixing the War to End All Wars and project-based learning.

When I was in college,  I always wanted to take the History of Warfare, where we would have studied how warfare evolved. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to take the class I used it and the fact that WWI resulted in dramatic changes in how wars are fought as inspirations for my students' WWI projects.

I introduced this unit by having students analyze primary resources to determine the causes of WWI, beyond the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. Once the causes were determined and the trenches were experienced by the students, they began work on their Evolution of Warfare present…