Category Archives: Reflecting on #PBL #Mindset

We created this category to launch homework assignments where #PBL students reflected on the attitudes and dispositions other #PBL students need to work in a #PBL classroom.

Launching #PBL Podcast: Modeling Skills & Appreciating PD Down the Hall

My #StudentCenteredPBL project-based learning Students are creating individual podcasts, and producing a podcast from scratch does require brainstorming, drafting, reflecting, revising, and finally follow through with the technology steps in order to finish the audio project in GarageBand or similar software. The following conversation captured in our Beta podcast has been ongoing here at our school because we know that the best professional development is down the hall. Breaking into small professional learning communities (#PLC), my colleagues and I have been working on a whole range of PD topics. I am fortunate to work with others who want to learn more about being facilitators of great #PBL. Our #PBL group have been utilizing a recent publication that distills the robust elements of this program. Click here to read it on the PDK International webpage. I have been able to use this article to share the methods that I am learning more carefully because I am currently enrolled in the certificate program. In this podcast Beth and I are discussing the four goals outlined by the University of Pennsylvania GSE Project-Based Learning program. While we are discussing a launch of a project, our conversation refers to the four aspects of learning that should occur in order to scaffold consistently deeper learning opportunities. This great conversation also evolved into a great model for my students who are working on their own podcast. Stay tuned for those projects. Click here to learn more about the #PennPBL certificate program: https://www.gse.upenn.edu/tll/pblc

Big shout out to the website: incompetech.com. I featured the following music, “Hard Boiled,” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

The Importance of Reflection

Student-Centered Project-Based Learning has given me the opportunity to write freely. When I describe this type of learning as “freely”, I am emphasizing the freedom I was given when choosing a topic about which to write. I enjoyed the blog drafting process a good deal because I was able collaborate ideas with classmates and add visuals to my written work. For my drunk driving blog post, I incorporated a graph which included death rate statistics due to drunk driving; I thought it added a visual element to my writing that words couldn’t necessarily describe. The blog posting process created a platform for successful collaboration, in which I was able to give and receive constructive feedback from my peers. Equally, I really liked how our class used Twitter, which made it less of a social media platform and more of an academic resource. The use of Twitter caused me to become a more creative writer because I had to condense my ideas into less than a sentence, which initially proved as a daunting task, but ultimately impacted my writing positively. Through using Twitter, I have realized that social media is equally as social as it is collaborative. Twitter has allowed me to reach out to different experts and has shown me what the networking world looks like. Before taking our A period class I actually did not understand how to network, but throughout the winter term I’ve gained not only life-long skills but experience. I was able to take these skills I learned and apply them to real life situations. Our PBL class has created an atmosphere where students feel comfortable in the classroom setting to share their opinions during classroom discussions. The biggest takeaway from this first term is the importance of collaboration. At first, I was against having other students read my work because I feared they might think it was “stupid” or “did not make sense”, but I have come to realize it is an exercise that is very beneficial. I think working hand and hand with other students builds my confidence in the classroom setting, and by collaborating ideas with my peers, I was able to produce some of my best work. I worked with Anna on the “What’s News” blog post, and by combining elements of both of our work, we produced a high-level final product. Ultimately, I think I’m developing as a person and as student in our PBL class.

Implementing reflection into your every day life

Interview Planning and Oral History Methods

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Interview Planning

In the future to help create history and gain more insight into women’s history and Suffield history, I would like to interview Elaine Sarsynski and keep a record of our interview. I have made a list of questions which I will double check with Mr. Yuan again to make sure they are all ok. I plan on asking her about many questions related Suffield, Women’s history, and maybe a bit of her personal life to shed some further detail on the whole topic. I will make a detailed list of questions and go through them with Mr. Sullivan, the class, and Mr. Yuan before the interview. The main question that I want to answer is what hardships did she encounter on her journey to the top. First, I want to know what hardships she faced because she was a woman when she was young, and in high school and college. Then I want to know if it was harder for her to make her way in the workforce because she was a woman. Then if being a mother complicated her career path more. Then, I want to know why she made the decision to leave the corporate life to make her attempt at politics, did this have anything to do with promoting women’s rights? When she was running for First Selectwoman, what challenges did she face. What challenges did she face just because she was a woman? After winning the position of First Selectperson, what initiatives did she implement were any of them aimed at promoting women’s rights? Are the political parties in local politics much different than the political parties in national politics?

Oral History Methods

Oral history is not folklore, gossip, hearsay, or rumor. Oral historians attempt to verify their findings, analyze them, and place them in an accurate historical context.

Process:

  1. Formulate a central question or issue.
  2. Plan the project. Consider such things as end products, budget, publicity, evaluation, personnel, equipment, and time frames.
  3. Conduct background research.
  4. Prepare questions for interviews
  5. Review questions with classmates and teacher
  6. Interview.
  7. Process interviews.
  8. Evaluate research and interviews and cycle back to
    step 1 or go on to step 7.
  9. Organize and present results.
  10. Store materials archivally.

How Can We Teach & Learn Innovation Skills?

how-I-built-this.jpghttps://www.npr.org/player/embed/562887933/563105739

Let’s have fun learning about how the founders of this now ubiquitous App Instagram developed this Billion dollar model, and then we will examine how we can adopt elements of their success story as we begin our first steps in our own project-based learning journey. So how can we use this Instagram’s story to teach the dynamic disposition and positive attitude a student needs to cultivate in a project-based learning classroom?

It is very fascinating to hear the early iterations of Instagram (see more here: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/07/instagram-used-to-be-called-brbn/373815/) and then realize all the changes they made to make the app what it is as a working app today. That process that is narrated here is design thinking, which is a process we will explore more this year. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Design-based_learning

Perhaps an important moment in their start-up was when they followed the advice to ask their users about what they enjoyed about their app rather than investing time into wondering what others who are not using the app would want. What did they learn from this part of the process?

(Podcast Time: 6:30) Isn’t it fascinating that the best thing for any entrepreneurial is failure? The founders of Instagram cite Eric Ries and his ideas about the process of a lean startup. “Don’t ask why people don’t sue your startup. Ask why people who continue to use your start up use your startup.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lean_startup 

(Podcast Time: 8:00) One of the founders tells a story of being burnt out and going on a break. Does he really take a break? Why type of thinking does he do on this “break” and how does it help the next iteration of the product of Instagram?

(Podcast Time: 9:00) Style topic. Did you notice how the music delivers a great downbeat when the divergent thinking that one of the founders has when his then girlfriend and now wife provides an insight while walking on the beach?

(Podcast Time 12:00) Just appreciate this moment. No response necessary. This is my hook for our audience!. “It was trial by fire; so many chances to fail. Kept working; all nighters. The amount we learned in that first year was crazy. It was fives years of college in one.” I would make this the hook because I’m an educator, and the producer here chose a more entertaining hook.

(Podcast Time: 17:30) There is a great conversation about how the story of success is never linear. It’s always dynamic, an up-and-down journey. Reflect on this moment and also reflect on how the founders keep their eye on the experience of the user. Do you have a personal success story that was not linear and had several “false starts” along the way before you achieve a degree of success? Write a 3-6 sentences here about that experience. We’ll share these moments in class and expand more on them.

(Podcast Time: 23:00) Around minute 23 they discuss the currency that feeds an entrepreneur. Explain in your own words this experience and its value. Then reflect on our course description and explain what experience will make our experience valuable.

(Podcast Time: 24:00) They reveal another great moment where they learned a lot through failure. This moment had to do with a mistake. What was the mistake? Could the mistake been avoidable? What else did they learn about the relationship they had with her users?

What do you think of the founders’ thesis about luck and talent? What role do resilience, grit, and optimism play in capitalizing on luck?

Many people define a person’s mindset as an established set of attitudes, what did you learn about the mindset of these innovators? Does it help you realize your own mindset(s)?

Our Connection to Seicheprey

Over the course of our school year, our class has had a deep connection with the town of Seicheprey in France. We first learned about Seicheprey through our research about Sergeant Stubby, the war dog of the 102nd US Infantry. After learning about Stubby’s heroic tales and service, we developed a curiosity to learn more about this significant battle for Connecticut history. Due to this battle being significantly historic for the Connecticut veterans specifically, the importance of this battle gradually faded in memory and history when the Connecticut veterans passed away in the 20th century. Our class discovered several interesting facts and stories from the Battle of Seicheprey, such as one of our Suffield veterans at the battle serving as a cook. When we learned of the details when the German storm troopers overwhelmed the trenches, we were shocked to learn that the cooks responded by picking up their knives and fighting off the Germans with hand-to-hand combat. Along with these facts we found new events that were happening in the town of Seicheprey today. We took the liberty to spread our findings across the social networks of our class blog and twitter. Our posts were immediately recognized by many WWI historians and eventually by Stéphanie Trouillard, a French journalist studying the history of WWI.

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More details on our academic network: https://twitter.com/Stbslam/status/957705999690936322

We reached out to Stephanie to find out if the town of Seicheprey was doing a commemoration for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Seicheprey. She took the initiative to reach out to the town hall of Seicheprey and received a response from Gérard Andre, the Mayor of Seicheprey. From this information we discovered that Seicheprey was honoring this historic battle on April 21st, 2018 and intend to make a fountain with several representatives from Connecticut in order to honor the 102nd division and Sergeant Stubby. After this interaction from Stéphanie, we were able to continue communications with the Mayor and other citizens from Seicheprey as well as students from the nearby school of architecture. While we were not able to attend the commemoration, these architecture students shared their local history project with us. Then we shared slides from our presentation with them. It was great to get positive feedback from students doing the same type of work that we were doing here.

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An interactive exhibit from the commemoration

Pauline, a student from Seicheprey reached out to us and gave us a very detailed overview of what the town presented and the different activities that were going on in the town to commemorate this battle. These connections to Seicheprey have been the foundation of our class and we are extremely thankful to everyone who has helped spread the story of this forgotten battle.

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An invitation to the commemoration of April 21st.

 

Walking Tour of Campus & Village

In an attempt to appreciate our local place more, we walked to various sites that we have researched in detail for the last ten weeks. While we are focussing on the homefront during WWI, we also took time to consider Suffield’s history from the time the first colonials carved up the home lots as well as how the land was used. This long look back over Suffield history was inspired by the great lengths Suffield celebrated its 350th birthday in the fall of 1920. We are dwelling on this moment because it will help us understand Suffield’s post war attitudes as well as its response to the Influenza outbreak. See this book for more details on the celebration: https://archive.org/details/celebrationoftwo00suffie

With that in mind, we observed how the old town hall in the center of town and the installation of the Bronze Tablets were significant moments for making memory in 1920. We then saw how our modern war memorial utilizes these bronze tablets from the old town hall and honors other 20th century veterans. Moreover, when we focused more on the town green’s four centuries of history, we observed how the first two centuries of colonial use took advantage of the high ground and well worn Native American path. The current home locations and shape of the town green also revealed how these colonial residents utilized the “common lands” for domestic animals and probably shared overseeing these animals while they took turns working the narrow and long fields behind their houses. Our common knowledge of the 19th century image of the town green with the couple strolling under shade trees helps us image that century’s appreciation of the space. (This image hangs in several rooms at Suffield Academy, including my classroom.) When we paused on the late nineteenth century installation of the Civil War memorial and how it does not list the 35 members of the 29th regiment that are listed on the bronze tablets, we realized how this was a new chapter of town green for honoring veterans would continue in the 20th century. What patterns do you see in your New England town center? #CAISCT learner join our blog and share what you learn.

Creativity from Walking?

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Link to Video:  https://www.ted.com/talks/marily_oppezzo_want_to_be_more_creative_go_for_a_walk

This Ted Talk discusses how just a simple walk can increase someone’s creativity. This can help us in our classroom because we could possibly implement this strategy to further brainstorming for our next Hot log on Connecticut in WWI. Many people have trouble coming up with ideas that are genuine and this Ted talk might have the answer.

At (1:20) she discusses how to tell if something was creative or not. How can we as a class tell if our ideas are creative for our cause?What were the main two ways she used to test how creative something was?

At (2:20) she mentioned the treadmill vs. walking technique. How do you think this influences our brains to work more efficiently?

She claims many people have seen positive results from this, is it something you could see our class taking part in?

At (4:45) how did she say to record our thoughts when walking? Is that method useful or would you rather try something different?

Did you enjoy this video?

Do you have problems formulating ideas, and do you think walking could be the answer?

Link to Video:  https://www.ted.com/talks/marily_oppezzo_want_to_be_more_creative_go_for_a_walk

Keeping Southwest in the Air

interview-herb-kelleher-slide500Guy Raz sits down to talk to the creator of Southwest Airlines. Herb shows how he had to persevere through tough times at the beginning of the now billion dollar company. He maintained a high level of belief in his idea of this company and that pushed him to keep the company afloat. Many of the traits and tools that Herb showed in this podcast can be useful in a PBL classroom, like our own.

How I Built This: Southwest Airlines

https://one.npr.org/?sharedMediaId=502344848:502624633

Where did the idea of Southwest come from? How quickly did Herb move on this idea? What does this quick move show?

While battling in court and the board wanting to give up the fight, what did Herb do? What did this show? What was his motivation?

How did Herb and Southwest persuade some customers to fly with them? What was the interesting fact that came up as a result of this?

What was something different that Southwest did that others airlines thought they had to have. In other words, how could Southwest bring their prices to be so low?

What was unique about how Southwest bought their air fleet?

Why does Herb think that Southwest thrived while other airlines failed?