“Are humans wild at heart” by Bianca and Lee Hewes

hb7392Finally! An Australian Book regarding Project based learning (PBL). At the school I’m at now, we have been embarking on a PBL quest to address the rising level of students who need greater awareness on the importance of their mental health. This has been a trend increasing all over Australia and a fantastic key note I attended recently by Dr. Michael Carr-Gregg told me I wasn’t alone.

Now, the Buck Institute of Education website and the online PBL course run by Dr. Thom Markham have been fantastic in shaping my understanding of PBL. I was beginning to be confident about it and keen to implement it.

But I still felt like this wasn’t enough. I wanted an Australian example. Was that too much of an ask?

“Are humans wild at heart” was recommended to me by my wonderful friend and collaborator – Kelly Pfeiffer.

These are some notes I took while reading the book. I hope you find them useful and inspiring.

  • make a project outline using an infographic so that it is visually stimulating
  • in the students’ weekly work, we will include a self-assessment asking them to reflect on how they are progressing towards answering the Driving Question
  • In the Driving Question, it is important to have the content focus and final product within the question so students understand what they are going towards
  • Include other “need to knows” in the project outline. This comes from your syllabus documents and means that we can dictate to some degree the learning that goes on. It’s not so open ended that students are not mastering core outcomes. You’re allowed a LONG list of “need to knows”. Maybe this can be a growing list?
  • The three stages of PBL as seen by Hewes are “Discovery”, “Creation” and “Sharing”
  • Teachers need to make links to “Rockstar experts” who can either be part of the discovery stage or the assessment/ sharing stage
  • An interesting way of discovering prior knowledge is a trivia game using terms students will likely encounter in the upcoming unit
  • Celebrate peer feedback and drafts on the “Project wall”
  • You need to teach students how to self and peer assess
  • If we as a school do PBL throughout Year 9 in science, we are giving students the opportunity to excel at something – they are going to be working towards their personal best if we use the same rubrics. They should see themselves improving each time.
  • Authentic audience to present my STEM unit of work “Making a musical instrument” is music camp during Term 2 Residentials
  • It would be cool if music students had to guess what “unqiue instrument” was making that noise
  • In formative assessment make sure you acknowledge what the student has done well and their “mission” for the future
  • Instead of 21st century skills lets call them “skills for life”
  • Be careful with wording – it should be “peer feedback” rather than “peer assessment”
  • Make sure your project outline stands out from the masses of paper that they are going to receive in this unit – make it colourful
  • I love love love their 6 pointed start technique. Who, What, Why, When, How, Where?
  • Students should be able to answer the need to knows

 

 

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