1. What are you more certain of now after attending this PD?
The importance of ensuring that the competencies are visible and well understood by students. This really made me realize how important inquiry and reflection is for students. It really affirmed my dislike of pre-made resources as a primary mode of instruction instead of using it as a support for students who need that direct instruction and practice to build their skills prior to working on a project.
2. What are you less certain of now after attending this PD?
How to make the students understanding of them and how they are using them visible to parents. Should it be in Power School? Should the students be writing reflections that are sent home? Should we be recording/blogging/tweeting? What kind of exciting things can we do to make those connections more visible.
3. How can you take what you learned at this session to hone your own practice as an elementary teacher?
I would like to continue to use them in the creation of my projects. I would also like to record my students talking about their learning more often. One thing I have committed to is putting the competencies into my project plans/write ups like I do with the outcomes and using them to base my reflection questions around them more explicitly.
I will write a longer reflection but there were a few key things I took away from today that I wanted to write before I forgot them or worried about how to take everything I scribbled down and summarize it or how to format my pictures to match my thoughts. Most of my key learnings either came from what was presented, my observations, my own thoughts or the debrief that our school team had.
- If you are always “Busy”, you are no longer busy as that is the norm and you need a new word for it. MSS uses “energetic”. A former manager of mine always said “Busy is the new Normal”.
- Stop making “Time” the excuse. We always have time. We should be thinking about making space for things. Moving things around and shifting priorities temporarily in accommodate a project, expert, learning, and so on.
- The focus of PBL should actually be the learning and the process. My principal, Carolyn put it best in saying that the showcase is really the “Birthday Party” of the learning. I personally feel the product is just the final piece of the puzzle. If it works, excellent! If not, we learned more along the way than we would have if it did work because we found out where we went wrong.
- There needs to be a reflective piece. I am not a fan of the word “metacognition” but the kids need to think about what it is they are doing and why they are doing it. It isn’t enough to just do something for the sake of it. Yes there is buy in when it is cool and personal but it doesn’t satisfy the point of education which is to make students cognizant of their learning and develop the skills and processes. Curriculum only goes so far.
- Projects should be intentional. Well planned, linked to learning, focused on process skills and competencies. If it is just to satisfy curriculum, we are only hitting the crust of the metaphorical educational pie. The good stuff is the learning, reflection skills and competencies. A project also shouldn’t just be done to do something.
- We need to look at the 10 Competencies and the 3 Es when planning. We tend to forget those things when we get focused on curriculum.