Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What Happens When You Just Step Back, Learn, and Redesign A Project.....Post 2 Of Rainbow Loom Research Project

I am excited to write this post, because throughout this project in the last couple of weeks I have had some big "A-ha's" that really have me thinking.   

We are moving toward Project Based Learning at Van Meter.  This will be in place for all of our students in grades K-12.  This semester we are all integrating PBL into our classrooms....It has been super exciting planning and collaborating with everyone.  

Van Meter is also one of ten schools involved in the Iowa Competency-Based Education Collaborative and I am part of that group from our school.  After our meeting in Des Moines last week, all of this got me thinking too.  
In my post about this project, And Just How Does Rainbow Loom Fit Into the Library and School, I shared this thought....

As this hour ended, I asked around the room what their research focus would be.  Some were able to really explain, but others seemed a little lost yet on what they were to be doing. 

That told me that I had to take a step back time, just a little one, and introduce a model that would help all of the students be successful at this part of the project.  It would be a model that they will be able to use forever as learners. 

The next time they come to the library, we will try out this new model and see what happens. 

After that day, I went home and dug in a little deeper to my recent work with PBL, Competency Based Education, and also took a look at.... 
a book that I was involved in this last year, Inquiry and the Common Core....Library and Teachers Designing Teaching for Learning.  

The kindergarten team and I wrote a chapter for the Exemplars of Learning Plans in this book for our Just Why Does My Iowa Animal Live There? Research Project with the kindergarteners.  I have been reading this book and sharing it with so many people because I just love how they have brought together many wonderful leaders within this book.

One chapter that really stuck with me is Barbara Striping's chapter entitled Inquiry in the Digital Age.

Barbara writes,

"The ability to solve problems and use information literacy skills to pursue inquiry-based learning has increasingly been identified as critical in the twenty-first century.  Based on research about constructivist learning and inquiry, I developed a six-phase model for the inquiry cycle (Stripling 2003), known as the Stripling model of inquiry.  

The Stripling Model of Inquiry is a frame for learning that involves connecting to personal interests and a desire to know, asking questions that probe beyond simple fact gathering, investigating answers from multiple perspectives, constructing new understandings and conclusions, expressing the new ideas through a variety of formats, and reflecting on both the process and product of learning.  

True inquiry should result in new understandings for learners, but not final answers, because learners should naturally discover intriguing areas to pursue in future investigations."  
I am going to take the Stripling Model of Inquiry and focus on several of the pieces starting with "Wonder".  
I also went to the Buck Institute for Education (BIE) website, which is an amazing site and resource for PBL. 

Jen Sigrist, our elementary principal and director of teaching and learning has shown us several helpful tools that we could use in planning PBL.  I went to the Resources tab on BIE and found so many things that would be perfect for supporting me through this project. 

I started by filling out the Project Overview, which helped me take the standards and learning targets I wanted to incorporate into this project and take a closer look at how they fit into PBL.
I also used the PBL Essential Elements Checklist and Project Design Rubric as resources to guide my thinking too.  

From this work and research I did at home, I now felt like I could step back in and create something even more meaningful for my students. 
I created a new packet, Rainbow Loom Project Research Packet to include the Stripling Model and the first steps we would focus on, Wonder and Investigation.  This is available within a Google Document and can be accessed online.  I will continue to add to this and revise as we move through the project.  

I printed off the Presentation Plan from the Student Handouts section on the BIE site.  This will help focus their thoughts and lead to deeper thinking and planning throughout their project. 
I also printed off the Project Team Work Plan and Project Team Contract.  A big part of this project is working collaboratively as a group and also being part of the class as we all work through the project. These worksheets would be helpful and guide them too.
I added the Rainbow Loom Research Packet to the Third Grade Symbaloo as well....Just in case they wanted to fill it out online with their Google Drive.   
After a wonderful conversation with the third graders about PBL and the Stripling Model, they were ready to take the work they had done the first day of the project, and dig deeper.

They were focusing on "Wonder".....It was so fun walking around the room listening to the questions they were asking one another....

Let's figure out which country sold the most Rainbow Looms for Christmas this last year.  I wonder if we could then figure out why that country had the most sales? 

I wonder what would happen if they made the Rainbow Loom even bigger?  

I predict that if we change the pattern on all of the bracelets that we want to show in our presentation we will make them look like they were done backwards.  
It was great to see how each group personalized their work folder too.  This group called their project Banding Together and told me they loved being able to collaborate with each other.
Next, we will focus on the "Investigate" stage....finding and evaluating information to answer their questions.  They will also use this stage to think about how the information they are finding will bring even more questions to their work.  

I have never seen this group so excited about anything before.  They are able to research, create, and share something they are all passionate about.  Even though they are having a blast making more and more bracelets in the library, the skills and knowledge they are gaining will stay with them.  

This time I went home and thought of something else.  

When we talked about the impact this project could have on others, we started a conversation that could lead to something very meaningful and contribute to something bigger.  

That night I reached out to a couple of my teaching friends and started down another road with this project too....

More to come in the next post on that!  
I just had to share what Hagan has been up after school each day ever since we started this project. Luke and Hagan have been learning all kinds of new designs together.

I love what this project is bringing to everyone.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! Our school is currently implementing PBL as well, so this was helpful. Our 8th grade team just completed a cross-curriculum PBL bridge project, which was extremely exciting!