In the first video we watched, Back to the Future, Brian Crosby is talking at a TED conference about his class structure, the students within his class, and the different projects he uses to teach them. Each project he does is one that sparks the interest of all his students and helps them to become more excited about learning. One thing he emphasizes is that no tests are given, but the student use different things like videos and blog post to gage their learning. The project he emphasizes the most is a weather balloon project his students did. He tells us how the students were involved in the project and how much they enjoyed it. He also tells us how after they did the project the students were asked to make a blog post that talked about their “high hopes” which became a world-wide sensation. It really shows us how PBL can be used to empower our kids to learn on their own and make them love to learn. We think that this video is a great representation of what PBL is and how when it is used correctly in the classroom how the kids can learn to collaborate, become motivated, connect with others and become empowered through using technology. Crosby makes a great point when he says that we can’t race kids through school but we must give them the opportunity to build skills from the world. We feel that if we can incorporate different projects like Mr. Crosby and allow the students, no matter what social status they hold, to have a chance to learn through PBL we will have a group of students who will be prepared for what their futures hold.
In Mr. Paul Anderson’s video, Blended Learning Cycle, we learn a lot about the Blended Learning Cycle. We think it is a great concept! There are six parts to the Blended Learning Cycle. You start with a good question and/or hook. You have to have something that will get the students attention right off the bat. Next, you want the students to investigate, experiment and use inquiry learning. You then have a video. For example you could use a video podcast to do a lot of the ‘direct instruction’. The fourth thing is elaboration. During this part, Anderson does diagrams and explains the physics of the example he is showing the students. Next he talks about the review portion. Anderson explains that he meets with the students individually or in small groups and asks them questions to check their understanding. They can’t go onto the next part, which is summary quiz, until he knows that they understand everything. So when they are done with the review, they go onto the summary quiz which will test them on their knowledge. If they don’t understand it they will have to go back to the beginning. We think the Blended Learning Cycle is a great tool that will be very helpful in the classroom. It’s a great approach for students to learn something, and to help the students who aren’t so engaged in learning become more engaged. We agreed that we could use it in the classroom when we are introducing a new topic to the students. It’s a great way to make sure the students actually understand what they are learning, and are not just going through the motions.
The third video that our group watched was called Making Thinking Visible. Mark Church, a sixth grade teacher, asked his students to make a headline regarding a video that they watched the day before. They were placed in small groups and were asked to sum up their thoughts about it into one headline on a strip of paper given to them by Mr. Church. Then, after a few weeks into the lesson, the students were asked to reevaluate their headline and see how it may have changed after learning more. We definitely saw where we could learn so much from Mr. Church. We learned how important it is to make learning visible to the children by ways like making a headline visible on paper. In addition, we learned how working in small groups really helps to develop ideas and learn from one another. Lastly, revisiting previous work after learning more about a topic can be very beneficial. It causes students to engage in critical thinking about how their ideas may have changed.
So our group learned so much from all three of these teachers. We learned many things that we could definitely use in a future classroom one day.
-Elizabeth Johnson, Calah Reynolds, and Rachel Hinton