Online Education

Leave a comment

More and more school districts and universities are turning to online education. There are many critics and many supporters. What do you think? I recently read an article that helped shed some light on the matter. A link to the article is here. Leave a comment.

Advertisements

CCSS Curriculum

Leave a comment

Many teachers have been working to implement the Common Core State Standards. In Columbiana County mathematics teachers from nine school districts have been creating the curriculum they will use for the new standards for over a year now. All the standards have been deconstructed and are posted at this link. Find the grade level/course you need in the table on the right side then click on the standards document at the top of the grade level/course page. The work we are doing is something that should be an ongoing process. Please let me know if you find mistakes, updates, hints, suggestions, etc. for any of the standards documents available. A huge thank you goes to all the mathematics teachers in Columbiana County that have contributed to this work. Your dedication inspires me.

Project Based Learning

Leave a comment

The Common Core State Standards are more than just a new set of standards to teach. The pedagogical implications behind the CCSS are more important than the standards themselves. The days of simply checking off a list of standards are fading faster than the tributes in Hunger Games. There is a great need to begin the process of identifying new and more effective strategies for learning. One of these strategies, though it is not very new, is Project Based Learning (PBL).

The idea has been around for a while though it has had several iterations; inquiry instruction, discovery instruction, problem based instruction. The purpose regardless of what you call it is to allow students the opportunity to direct their own learning with little direction from the teacher. The teacher in this approach is meant to be a resource and advisor rather than a planner and director.

PBL is not something to jump right into though. Like any new strategy it takes time and effort to build competency. There are numerous resources to help guide teachers. Edutopia and Buck Institute for Education (BIE) are two of them. Once you decide to begin working toward PBL take it slow and do some research. There are pre-made projects available for those of you that want to try it without the huge time investment needed to do one on your own.

WARNING. PBL is not creating activities that involve “real-world problems”. It is way more than that. PBL is a drastic change in the point of view of learning. Go on, try it. Your presentations are getting stale, your students are not as engaged as you would hope them to be, it’s time for a change. All subjects and all grade levels can use PBL as a way for students to learn.

ANOTHER WARNING. Students will come to you with questions that you may not know the answer to. That’s okay. You don’t have to know everything. Your job in PBL is to guide students to the right answers, not to give the answers to them. Think of yourself as a guide rather than an instructor. Direct students toward the right resources and information.

Most teachers that have introduced PBL into their classroom have been very happy they did. Teachers feel more students are learning, they are learning more about their students, and they feel students are becoming better thinkers. Students will not just be able to spew out information on a test. They will begin to be able to find the information on their own. A novel idea.

Deconstructing Standards

Leave a comment

We are about four months away from our next meeting but I have already received some of the standards that teachers have been deconstructing. So far they look great. I am excited to see the thought teachers have been putting into taking ownership of these new standards. I know that many of you are stressing about this work. This process is simply to help you understand how to read standards in an effective way that allows you to pass the true meaning of what students are supposed to do down to them. By learning this process for a few standards you will be much more able to let students know what is expected of them. Please instill in your colleagues the importance of truly deciphering the meaning of the standards as they work with them.

If you are having any trouble please share with us. Comment on this post and let your colleagues help you. Of course, you are always welcome to email me or call me with any questions or concerns.

%d bloggers like this: