Showing posts from June, 2016

Reflections of an ISTE16 Noob

I believe it was the summer after my first year of teaching that I first heard about the ISTE Conference, a mega conference that attracted the elite of the edtech world. Each year, I followed people's experiences at ISTE and each year I cursed myself for not attending. It soon became one of those "I'm going to do that eventually.." goals that could easily be put off year after year.

So this year I made the executive decision that I would attend.


Its only the second day of the conference, but I can confidently say that #ISTE16 was one of my best decisions.

For starters, I'm killing it with Step Challenge; the day isn't even over and I'm already over 10,000 steps.
I'm also connecting with SO many of the people I have followed on twitter for the last three years as well as meeting SO many new people with awesomely creative ideas! (I would put everyone, but its too many to list and I don't want to accidentally exclude anyone.)


Honoring the Past

The Cold War: a complex event that lasted over forty years with a wide variety of players and foreign policies. An event that has lasting-effects that we still witness and experience. So as a teacher with the school year coming to an end, I was torn on how to cover such a complicated event with one project.

The year before I would have just lectured about the Cold War, which was easy for me and painful for the kids. Besides, nowadays "if we have an Internet connection, we have fingertip, on-demand access to an amazing library that holds close to the sum of human knowledge," as said by Will Richardson in Why School? So obviously that wasn't a viable option. But how could I expose students to the variety of events in the Cold War without just telling them all about.

Of course, I started doing research on ways other #pbl teachers have used the Cold War, but either I wasn't inspired by the project or I had already done something similar with another project. I searched…

Revision in the PBL Process...Part 2

As I said in my earlier post, revision is a necessary part of project-based learning. In fact, its even embedded into the Minarets Cs, the skills and goals we that emphasize for our students at Minarets:

This is why I continued improving the ways my students revised their work even after I found success with Student Completion in Schoology. Since I had students participating more readily in the scaffold project process, I found another weakness in my process: Peer Reviews.
I love peer reviews because it allows students an opportunity to get feedback from their peers in order to help them improve the quality of their project. It also gives them the opportunity to dissect the rubric and gain a better understanding of what the final expectations are. 
At the start of the year, students filled out a Google Form that was based around the rubric for the project. There would be spots for comments, but students wouldn't always get to see the feedback. I wouldn't share the sheet with t…