When this year began I was attempting PBL with no clue what I was doing. We had serious technology struggles and fell behind with our first unit. The 7th grade team teachers didn't actually go to training for PBL until september.
We came back and I jumped in wholeheartedly. It was incredibly difficult for me and the students. The students weren't sure they liked this "non traditional" schooling that they were getting. I was sure that I was going to be able to survived doing all of this "front end" work and giving the students to the control to do or not do.
When we returned from our training we didn't feel like we had the time to do all of the teaching of the culture that the students needed. That is what we are trying to accomplish now and get feedback from the students on the how, why and when to do these things. Understanding that PBL is an entirely different culture is the first key.
We all must be trained in how this entire thing works. The four of our 7th grade teachers got together and brain stormed what we were going to teach during our 2 hour final time. (we were already finished with our finals last week) 4 things that we came up with that we felt the students needed about the PBL culture that we saw first hand struggled with were:
1. Dress For Success
What does it look like
What are the rules for presenting
3. Digital Citizenship
What if you had to wear your post
4. Teamwork and Collaboration
What does it mean to work with others
We weren't sure how this was going to work. We decided as a team that we would all 4 teach all for parts. The first question was "you are all teaching the same thing?" Yes. At this point the teaching of the culture was more for us and how we are introducing it next year. We taught the same 4 ideas but all had a different take on each part. After our first class we were able to meet as a team and the consensus was that it was AWESOME! We knew the true test would be when we had our 2nd group of kids. They heard the same things but in a different way. We used different videos, articles and teaching methods. I was actually impressed by the response of the kids. THEY LOVED IT!
During the teamwork or collaboration part we were able to do the "Minute to Win It" activities. This was really neat to share different ideas with the kids. The kids who quit and don't turn in work are the same ones who don't want to look stupid playing a silly game. The ones who were shy and self conscious are the ones who actually did the best.
The activity that we did is the one where there are ping pong balls in the empty kleenex box and it is tied around the waist. They had 1 minute to empty the box by "jumping" or "dancing" around. This was the funniest thing that I have seen in a long time!!! Great participation.
The deal was that no one leaves without participating. Too many times kids are allowed to quit. Today they were put on the spot. They were uncomfortable. They had to face fears of being in front of people. They had to face embarrassment. They were loud and obnoxious. They had to face encouragement from their peers! It was great!
So much was learned and I cannot wait to do this again tomorrow!!!
My last class challenged me to do the activity and I could not say no to a challenge!!!