Wednesday, May 13, 2009


We started working on a new PBL project this week. It involves creating a display about 20th Century Inventions and Inventors. To find out the information that we need to display, students need to do some research. I provided them with a Invention TimeLine Website to use as a starting point. I took the students to the computer lab so they could focus better. I was very pleased with their progress. Listening to them discover new information reminded me of the importance of them knowing how to read nonfiction text.
This project helps me realize how much the processes used in the Independendent Investigation Method would be beneficial for students. I need to figure out a way to get those materials. Maybe I will try to find another grant to apply for? I wonder if I could find that material on DonorsChoose?
My previous copyright lessons that I have done with these students seem to have helped them. When they took notes today, I said that it might be a good idea for them to write down the web address of where they find the information. One of the girls said she wanted to do that so she could do more of this work at home, and another student reminded all us that we need that information for when we write a report to cite our sources. :)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Measure my Effectiveness?

I have done a lot of work with my students this year using Problem-Based Learning (PBL) experiences. In the beginning of the year, I was more of a teacher and director during these explorations. I introduced a PBL activity two days ago, and as I observed my students working, I reflected on how far they had come in terms of their critical as well as creative thinking skills and reasoning abilities. Those skills are not easily measured on a standardized test. My role in conducting PBL activities shifted from teacher/director to providing guidance as a facilitator.The technology things we have done this year have also followed that same progression. I smiled when I saw how quickly my students went to our class blog to type about their thinking and what things they did to solve the problems.These observations and personal reflections are a few of the ways I am "measuring my effectiveness" this year.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Why have I not been doing PBL activities the last few weeks? That question repeatedly came to mind today as I watched my students work with a new one after I introduced it today. The logic, reasoning, and thinking skills I witnessed as I watched and listened to the conversations that took place while students were figuring out what to do was amazing. Any idea given was quickly followed by a reason supporting it and/or a question or idea challenging/supporting the thinking behind it. My 3rd graders got together on the rug across the room (turned away from me and everything else going on in the room) while my 4th graders sat on the other side of the table from me. They seemed to be arguing their respective sides, but were in fact stating and supporting something opposing ideas and/or positions. The one we worked on today involved math, and I think this IS the way for me to teach math!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Unwrapping the Gifted

Unwrapping the Gifted: This Year's Kid, Not Next Year's Teacher

I completed my final classes for my AIG Certification this week! While I have really enjoyed the learning and sharing of ideas that has taken place in these classes, I am glad that it is over (for now anyway)!