It's been a while since I last posted. December was filled with holiday fun at school and at home. My teaching partner and I took part in the Humbug Challenge by handing out treats, nog and hot chocolate in the staff room on random days. My class took part in the holiday concert, singing in French. We went sledding, made snow forts and got creative making Christmas cards and gifts for loved ones. Then it was the holidays, 2 weeks off to spend with my family and friends. Time to relax, rejuvenate and reflect.
We wrapped up our Canada PBL in November and here is what I learned:
First mistake, I needed to dedicate more time to integrate PBL into all subject areas and not worry about the "schedule" for the day. I was still trying to follow the expected 100 minutes of literacy and 60 minutes of numeracy and with all the other subjects, I haven't quite learned how to go with the flow.
Second, I don't think my guiding question was effective. I realized half way through students were focusing more on the project rather than inquiring and researching. I had one student finish making a Power Point but couldn't answer the initial question. My guiding question was, imagine you were to travel to a province or territory, what would you want to see and do? Many students only provided basic information and facts when I wanted them to think like a tourist. But then again, I also think many of my students have not stepped foot outside of their community and do not have the experience of traveling.
The ones who struggled the most were my reluctant readers, they couldn't read the information and had difficulty finding the information. Then there were the ones who didn't know where to start or kept losing their research. Also I feel there are more passive learners emerging. They rather find an answer and not question if it's a good one instead of digging deeper, and asking more questions. On the flip side, they are only 9 and they may lack the experiences to inquire so now I know what I need to provide next time.
On a more positive note, this was an eye-opening experience for me as a teacher. I stepped out of my comfort zone of controlling their thinking and actions for the project. There was authentic learning happening. Overall they were all engaged and those who created a project, were proud of their work. My most reluctant reader was able to create simple Power Point with pictures. Many of them learned basic computer skills about copying, pasting and saving - seeing their faces light up when they found out how to save on their very own USB stick was priceless.
Now January brings on a fresh start at the end of term resulting in report card writing. It's like I never left.