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Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Challenging Day: Next Steps

Today was a challenging day.

First the PARCC trial was long and challenging. Students were a bit cranky after all that work and effort. I was a bit anxious too as I navigated the new terrain of the test and troubleshooted the few problems that arose.

Next we hit a tough juncture in the marble maze project. As the project turned the corner from the excitement of the project start to the challenge of collaboration and making every simple machine, students got frustrated. The frustration is part of the learning. It builds perseverance and problem solving skills, yet it's not an easy part of the project. We met with this same frustration during the fall's cardboard challenge project.

At the end of the day, students were tired and cranky.

Next steps?

Now that students have become familiar with the marble maze project it's time to step back and study each simple machine with greater depth. It's also time to better organize project places, supplies, and project diagrams.

As far as PARCC, I must say I'm glad we did the trial. Now I have a better sense as to how to organize the classroom and prepare for students' success.

All in all today's challenges were a necessary part of the learning path. Though it wasn't one of our most joyful days, it was a day that sets the stage for good learning to come.