Saturday, September 28, 2019

Growing PBL

For many years our team has been developing an interdisciplinary, local approach to teaching the science standards. We've partnered with Massachusetts Adubon's Drumlin Farm and others to build the project, a project we drafted above in preparation for our presentation at Massachusetts' Sharing for Success Dissemination Fair in November.

The challenge to this project work is that it is not static, but instead it is an evolutionary process that continually changes because of new learning, information, opportunity, and constraints too. For example, due to the Triple E threat in our community, children are not allowed to venture into the woods until the second frost. That means we had to rearrange planned lessons. Also due to new learning related to biomimicry and green chemistry, some of our units have been updated, and analysis of last year's efforts has opened the door to ways that we are able to deepen and better the project.

Deep, impactful project work demands time for all learners including teacher-learners, student-learners, community-learners, family-learners, and administration-learners to constantly revisit the project parameters, content, activities, and focus in a regular way that includes active learning, presentation, assessment, reflection, analysis, revision, and development.

As I worked on that process today, I found myself shifting, sorting, deleting, and adding activities to build a better unit. Of course colleagues and students will engage in that activity too, and via our collaboration we will put together a good framework for the 2019-2020 roll-out of this worthwhile project/problem based learning.

How do you evolve your units of study in meaningful, collaborative ways? What processes are in place to make this evolution timely, purposeful, engaging, and in line with system and state expectations as well as students needs and interests. I'll be reading more about this process and I welcome your ideas.