Worksheets matter! I know we hear a lot of talking points that tell us to get rid of them, but I think it's much more complicated than that. That call for "no more worksheets" comes from a place where that is all there is. By that I mean classrooms where students do nothing but worksheets. Often these worksheets are de-contextualized from relevant work, and this is where there's an opportunity to reframe and refine the traditional worksheet. There is a time and place for drill and practice or individual practice -- even in a PBL project. The key is to make it appropriate and relevant.
What's ideal when it comes to collaboration in our classrooms? Here's one coveted scenario: several children gathered at a table engaged in a high-level task, discussing, possibly debating an issue, making shared decisions, and designing a product that demonstrates all this deeper learning.
I know that, in my project-based learning classroom, students did presentations all the time for a variety of purposes. One of the key components of a PBL project is the 21st-century skill of presentation or communication. We know that this presentation can take on any number of shapes, from something formal to a podcast or even a poster session. I always struggled with getting quality presentations from my students. I used a variety of teaching techniques and examples, but there is one that I know can really help improve presentation skills: Ignite!
After a morning Discipline With Dignity training, the high school principal and I walked to the cafeteria to eat lunch. He said, "I love your session, but it's not practical." I responded with my view that it was practical because it works -- but it’s just not easy.
Edutopia is pleased to premiere the first blog in a new series
designed to showcase compelling examples of how students are
developing 21st century skills through a deeper-level of learning.
Through this blog series, we hope to increase awareness and encourage
replication of successful models.
Chris Anderson, TED curator. (Photo credit: Pierre Omidyar via Wikimedia Commons)
As many of my readers know, this year I have been dedicated to using the 21st Century four Cs. The four Cs are a rubric of sorts that help align lessons to more reality-based learning and assessing.
In my last post about taking PBL projects up a notch, I focused on integration of subject matters and disciplines. Fittingly, this post focuses on integrating technology. Teachers often adjust and improve projects by finding new and innovative ways to infuse technology into the PBL process and products. However, it's not about more technology tools, but about the intentional use of the tools available.
Too often people assume that young people and their experiences should exist separate from the world of adults. Youth often internalize these unspoken beliefs and begin to view their own ideas and their own realities as "less than." We believe that one way to shift this dynamic is to make powerful, artistic and insightful student work visible to the public. During the past school year we worked with our students to design and install a public art project near our school in Center City Philadelphia that showcases youth identity and young people's social insights.