Wednesday, 14 May 2014

First Lesson doing PBL

Wow. It worked.

The reading room was having the pipes fixed in the to improve the heating in there.. So we went into the library non-fiction side - and the kids stuck to routine - putting their bags on or under the bag table - and sat at the computers.

This was the first time we had been on the computers - usual problems - slow computers, needing logins for the kids, some students having inappropriate behaviours on the computers and a couple not having basic computer skills. I took the chance to begin our Project Based Learning - to coincide with our research projects due at the end of the term.

Once I had their attention - a feat sometimes similar to a circus leader trying to tame a talkative crowd - I asked each of them to think of something that they're really passionate about - something they're really interested in. We had the usual suggestions - music and singers, hunting, driftbikes... but then there was the web design, what would happen if there was a WWIII, illusions and magic etc. My students are pretty amazing really.

So had them create a word doc with their title and a basic definition in their own words - what it is and also why they're interested in it.

They had to write three things they already knew about the topic they were studying and learning more about.

For some they could then just get started immersing themselves in the topic and collect relevant data, information and were required to copy the links for whatever they were finding.

For a few -  before they immersed themselves - I had them write a few hypotheses around the topic - what they thought they might find out -  as well as some research questions.

As I walked around and worked one on one - or with groups as I'd allowed them enough freedom to choose who they could work with... though surprisingly most chose to work individually - I noticed an engagement I hadn't seen with the entire class before. It was very cool.

One of my students asked if we would make something to do with their project - and I said .. Why not!? :) So we'll be heading towards makerspaces eventually as well with this class.

Am looking forward to seeing their research carry on and develop.

I was most impressed with one student - he is normally quite a quiet student and I hadn't yet developed a close connection with him - who was so far ahead with his web design research that he said to me - "Miss... I don't have to leave New Zealand anymore like I thought before. I can do web design here." Very cool.

Watch this space :) Makers and growth mindset students in action!