Tag Archives: Project-based learning

Technology can make research projects enjoyable…who would have thought??!

28 Apr

Working with students is the reason I decided to pursue a career in education. The one thing that I hated while attending school was having teachers design typical, “Traditional” teaching assignments. Learning should be fun and something new where the students are engaged and come to class not to learn but to have fun. Designing lesson plans to get students excited about learning is something that I strive for in ever lesson I create and this past project is an example of me doing just that:

I have a student who I am tutoring that is concerned with the STAAR testing, more specific the writing portion of the test. What I am doing is designing lesson plans so the student can learn reading comprehension skills while finding an apprehension for reading and writing.

I presented him with the opportunity of doing a research project over anything that he wanted to do, I love giving students this option because they always feel that they need to answer with an educational topic. The first topic the student chose was over the Alamo. While this is a good strong, topic I wanted him to do something he would actual enjoy doing research over and something that he can show off his knowledge of later in life. The student ended up deciding to do a research project over “The History of Dubstep.” Which addressed a number of TEKS. We came up with two unit questions  Since this is such a new topic of study in music we went to the internet to do our research. As the student looked on the internet I too was on the computer looking for information as well, manly to help produce Inquiry Based Questions to ask the student to help expand his KWL chart.

Towards the end of our lesson I informed my student that I would be creating a blog for him and that next week he would give me an oral presentation of what he had learned and we would record it on a Podcast, this would be so he could have something that he could show to his family and friends on what he had learned and he could show off the steps it took for him to get to the end result. This was a concept that he absolutely fell in love with. He does not have a computer at home so the only access the student has to the internet is at the local library or at school. So this was something that was new and exciting for him. At the end of the session I showed the student his blog and asked him to give a summary of what we had done for that session as he told me I would write what he said and after I would have him go back and edit the summary so it would grammatically make sense.

Since our project was about the history of a certain type of music genre we decided that a podcast would be the best way to show the different types of music and it would be something that students never think they can do. Videos are all around students but radio is something that is fading about from our society so bring something that they have no idea about is something that students will always remember.

As we went though the research process I was having the student number on his KWL chart how he would want to arrange his topics. This was something that is very helpful for students when using this strategy because if you have a good unit question then it will bring new questions up throughout the research process and a student can become lost in his thoughts when it comes time to move the thoughts to a final project. We orally went through how the format to the podcast would go before we started. Once we felt that we were ready we did our first recording. The funny thing about doing a radio interview is that you feel that it is not to difficult since you are only talking but once you start, everything that you wanted to say is lost and it isn’t until after you are finished that you remember what you wanted to say. This is especially turn if you are recording radio, it really takes a few tries to get the format you want down. After listing to the first one it was the students suggestion to rerecord a second interview  I noticed that there were a few topics that the student could elaborate more on. So, I asked the student some more questions like “what are some accomplishments that the artist has had?” “Now, that we have gone through our first draft do you think there is a new way you want me to ask you the questions?”

Here is the link to the students blog. In the blog is where you can see what the student did for that day, his KWL chart as well as our podcast. Hopefully this gives you some suggestions when working with students and assigning them with a resource project. Making a podcast is something that is fast, east, requires no prior knowledge, and something that is in fun for you and the student. Enjoy!! Continue reading

Here is a blog…Now what

25 Feb

            Blogs are something that are relatively new to older generations but to young adults who have grown up with being around the internet a blog is something that is a useful tool used to discover new and exciting material that the internet and the people creating blogs have to offer. This can be anything from commentary of current events, to new music, to the latest fashion trends.

            Blogs allow an individual to share with the internet community something that that blog creator demeans as something important or something they feel is with sharing with anyone. For a business owner it can be their menu or upcoming events. For the purpose of this blog it will be information that I feel is something that future or current educators can use in their classroom and methods on how to implement these methods into your teaching.  

There are a lot of reason why as an educator I will incorporate the internet and blogs in my teaching curriculum  Having a classroom homepage for your students is beneficial because it allows a place for a teacher to post assignments online if a student is absent, this allows a student to never fall behind if they happen to fall ill and have to take off of school. Students can have the opportunity to participate in online discussion to encourage communication between students and also for students who are to shy to speak in the classroom a blog can give them a chance to express their opinions and their comments regarding a certain assignment.

There are a ton of educational blogs out there so finding the right one to use can get overwhelming if you do not know where to start. Of course, you can always Google “education blogs” but why do that when I have already done that. Here are a few educational blog sites for further reading.  Of course this has to be one of the top educational blog sites but here are some other good ones:  Free Technology for Educators  this is an amazing website; 1. Because it is Free information and who doesn’t like free stuff. This blog has won multiple awards in 2010 Free Technology for Teachers was awarded the Edublogs Award for “Best Resource Sharing Blog,” “Best Ed Tech Support,” and “Best Individual Blog. The Innovative Educator This is an amazing blog if you are an educator and having a hard time separating your teaching style from other educators in your school. Having an organized classroom and designed it in a way that is efficient is a problem that every educator will face sooner or later. Yes there are a lot of well researched textbooks out there explaining the best ways to set up a classroom but who has time for that when their are lesson plans to be made, parents to call and lessons to designed luckily  The Organized Classroom Blog is there to help you out with your classroom management needs.

After looking over the blog  I found a few, innovative ways on how you can use the internet in your classroom.  The beautiful thing about the internet is that everyone in the world has some access to the internet and with this the educator world has exploded. As a teacher you no longer need to relay on textbooks or restricted to your community to find new, innovative ways to educate your students. You can design Project Based Learning activities for students to use the internet to find information in countries across the world or have web conferences with scientists studying in the amazon when you come to a section about plants or animals.

The internet allows students to explore the world they live in and communicate with different cultures that they would have never encountered before.

So, whats the big deal about inquiry and project based learning??

18 Feb

The need for having a strong inquiry and project-based learning question within your unit plan is to give your students an opportunity to answer a question without giving an one word response. A well structured unit question is one where students will not be able to give a one worded answer and needs to ask inquire questions in order to discover what they believe the answer should be. Incorporating Project-based learning will follow the same format; the student researching either on the internet, library, asking questions to experts in that field. This is important for the student because they are having to get out of the textbook and try to solve the question by using more than one source.

My essential question is “Does Texas have reason to fear a natural disaster?  Which ones or Why not?” and the way that I will incorporate IBL and PBL is through my unit plan that I have link in this post.