Synergy-PBL: Questions are waypoints on the path of wisdom #CFTSI12 (2 of 3) The First Course: “School Tools” – PBL for the Adult Palette

[On Monday, June 25, as part of the Center for Teaching's annual Summer Institutes, Bo Adams and Jill Gough are facilitating day 1 of a two-day workshop on PBL (project-based learning, problem-based learning, place-based learning, passion-based learning, etc.). The online course description is linked below, and the outline for day 1 follows. The pre-institute assignment (the "appetizers") and a short description of the "flights" structure can be found here.]

Synergy-PBL: Questions are waypoints on the path of wisdom #CFTSI12 (2 of 3)
The First Course: “School Tools” – PBL for the Adult Palette
(Day 1 – Monday, June 25, 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.)

EL #1: I can share my deep understanding of PBL through PBL methods and pedagogies, as well as with direct-instruction and conversation.

EL #2: I can commit to PBL with student learners by working through stages of rapid-prototype planning, implementing, and assessing.

CHALLENGE: Because you are attending this Center for Teaching Summer Institute on PBL, the CFT intends to use you as PBL leaders in 2012-13 (and beyond!). Westminster is furthering its Learning for Life vision, and Drew Charter is envisioning a PBL high school, so PBL leaders are high in demand! We want to help you prepare your PBL-leadership tool belt. By the end of this CFT-SI, you will build and present a multi-media resource about PBL that you can use to support a host of adult and student learners engaging in the complex wonder of PBL! Consider it a crucial deposit in the bank of visionary work! [We may even go Pecha-Kucha or Ignite style!]

Resources to consider including in PBL multi-media tool:

  • PBL Framework(s)
  • PBL “Expert Voices” from research and practice
  • PBL as “place-based,” “problem-based,” “passion-based,” as well as “project-based” [ideas around campus, Atlanta, etc.]
  • PBL Video Resources – pictures are worth 1000s of words!
  • Examples of PBL being tried and attempted/implemented
  • Interviews – voices from students and adults about how and what we want to learn
  • Ideas for PBL you intend to implement yourself

8:45 – 9:45 a.m.
Questions, Connections, & Empathy Flight

  1. POST-UP: What questions do you have about PBL and “the Challenge”, as well as questions about related opportunities such as integrated studies, teachers working in teams, etc.?
  2. AFFINITY MAP: What connections do we see in our questions and ideas?
  3. EMPATHY MAP: What’s it like to be a student? + provocations from “Writing-Is-Thinking” Flight of Pre-Assignments (How to Create an Empathy Map using Google Docs)

9:45 – 11:15 a.m.
School IS Real Life – From Simulations to Social Justice Flight

  1. World Peace and Other Fourth Grade Achievements – morning movie & popcorn!
  2. “Kiran Bir Sethi teaches kids to take charge” – and candy!
  3. Synergy 8 Ignite – and a Coke!

11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Knowing Places and People Flights – Diners’ Choice

  • Learning Walk Flight – Armed with an iPad, laptop, or other smart device, explore, inquire, and record by…
  1. Capturing at least 3 pictures of people, places, or things that could spur PBL;
  2. Archiving at least 2 video interviews of people discussing a possible learning project, problem, or passion;
  3. Brainstorming at least 1 idea for a community project. [BONUS: Base it on a synergy of the above!]
  1. locally,
  2. nationally,
  3. globally.

12:00 p.m.
Lunch…PBL really stirs an appetite!

 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail Flight

  1. UNDERSTANDING CHAIN or GRAPHIC GAMEPLAN: With a partner, craft a storyboard of your PBL multi-media tool concept. With one or the other of these two Gamestorms, we will be able to co-post our “slides” or “path points” on a common game board so that we can share across groups.
  2. Begin building assets, as time permits!
  3. Rapid-prototype presentations of storyboards before we adjourn for the day.

_________

Coming Soon…

Synergy-PBL: Questions are waypoints on the path of wisdom #CFTSI12 (3 of 3)
The Second Course: “School’s Cool” – PBL for the Student-Learner
(Day 2 – Tuesday, June 26, 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.)

Synergy-PBL: Questions are waypoints on the path of wisdom #CFTSI12 (After 3)
Coffee and Dessert: What Will Sweeten Your Teaching After #CFTSI12?
(180 Days of Possibility in 2012-13 – Keeping the Conversation Going)

 

[Cross-posted at Experiments in Learning by Doing and at Synergy2Learn.]

Synergy-PBL: Questions are waypoints on the path of wisdom #CFTSI12 (1 of 3) Appetizer Flights: Pre-Institute Assignment

Synergy-PBL: Questions are waypoints on the path of wisdom #CFTSI12 (1 of 3)
Appetizer Flights: Pre-Institute Assignment

On Monday and Tuesday, June 25-26, Bo Adams and Jill Gough are facilitating a ten-hour workshop at The Center for Teaching Summer Institute (#CFTSI12 on Twitter). With this post and two more (coming soon), institute participants and blog readers alike can find a three-part outline of our session (at least as we intend it before we start!), complete with links to many of the resources we plan to use.

Appetizer Flights: Pre-Institute Assignment
Choose a Flight or Mix-N-Match to Make Your Own Three-Part Assignment

Inspired by Flights, a restaurant in Memphis, TN (dined at during #MICON12), that expands the idea of a “flight of wine” into a full-restaurant delight, our pre-institute assignment and CFT-SI 2012 structure come to you in Flights – “dining triples” that can be enjoyed as presented or mixed and matched to design your own tasty, three-part experiences. Before the CFT-SI begins, please partake in one of the three flights below, or create your own from the nine selections. For instance, one learning-diner may decide to immerse herself in the “Cozy-Chair Reading” Flight and consume all three reading selections. Another nibbler might decide to combine “Peak Learning” + “7 Essentials” + “Geoff Mulgan” for a diner-designed flight. We want your dining learning experience to be a culinary-cognitive delight! Bon-appetite!

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The “Writing-Is-Thinking” Flight

  1. Peak Learning Experience - “Think about your own life and the times when you were really learning, so much and so deeply, that you would call these the “peak learning experiences” of your life. Tell a story (you may include pictures, symbols, or other icons, too) about this peak learning experience, and respond to the question, “What were the conditions that made your high-level experience so powerful and engaging?” If you have already engaged this prompt in an earlier workshop, please describe another peak learning experience in your life, or “copy and paste” a previous story/response. (adapted from 21st Century Skills: Learning for Life in Our Times, Trilling and Fadel, 2009). 
  2. How We Hobby – Describe a hobby, interest, or passion that you WISH you had. How would you go about learning and developing this hobby, interest, or passion? Be specific and try to tell a story.
  3. Walking & Talking – Some would argue that walking and talking are two of the most complex human learning endeavors. Reflect on how your child or a relative’s child learned to walk and talk. Describe the experiences in some kind of recounting or storytelling.

The “Cozy-Chair Reading” Flight

  1. Reading from The Falconer re: Questions book excerpt
  2. “7 Essentials for Project-Based Learning” article 
  3. “What PBL Isn’t, and What it Is: 2 Videos from High Tech High” blog post

The “TED School Design” Flight

  1. Geoff Mulgan: A short intro to the Studio School (6:16)
    “Some kids learn by listening; others learn by doing. Geoff Mulgan gives a short introduction to the Studio School, a new kind of school in the UK where small teams of kids learn by working on projects that are, as Mulgan puts it, ‘for real.'”
  2. John Hardy: My green school dream (6:16)
    “Join John Hardy on a tour of the Green School, his off-the-grid school in Bali that teaches kids how to build, garden, create (and get into college). The centerpiece of campus is the spiraling Heart of School, perhaps the world’s largest freestanding bamboo building.”
  3. Gever Tulley teaches life lessons through tinkering (4:08)
    “Gever Tulley uses engaging photos and footage to demonstrate the valuable lessons kids learn at his Tinkering School. When given tools, materials and guidance, these young imaginations run wild and creative problem-solving takes over to build unique boats, bridges and even a roller coaster!”

_________

Coming Soon…

Synergy-PBL: Questions are waypoints on the path of wisdom #CFTSI12 (2 of 3)
The First Course: “School Tools” – PBL for the Adult Palette
(Day 1 – Monday, June 25, 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.)

Synergy-PBL: Questions are waypoints on the path of wisdom #CFTSI12 (3 of 3)
The Second Course: “School’s Cool” – PBL for the Student-Learner
(Day 2 – Tuesday, June 26, 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.)

Synergy-PBL: Questions are waypoints on the path of wisdom #CFTSI12 (After 3)
Coffee and Dessert: What Will Sweeten Your Teaching After #CFTSI12?
(180 Days of Possibility in 2012-13 – Keeping the Conversation Going)

[Cross-posted at Experiments in Learning by Doing]
[Cross-posted at Synergy2Learn]

Intent. Design. Creative Process. Teachers as artists of school change. #ASI2012 #MICON12

INTENT.

Last week and the week before, I communed with artists and designers. They invited me into their galleries and studios. At the time, I thought I was attending educational conferences – first Lovett’s American Studies Institute and then The Martin Institute’s 2012 Summer Conference. However, after watching and studying “John Hockenberry: We are all designers,” and after listening to NPR’s TED Radio Hour on “The Creative Process,” I realize that I communed with artists and designers at these phantasmagoria .

In the large-group sessions, I explored galleries of thinking – both from the featured speaker who held stage at that moment and from the co-participants “thinking and designing out loud” on Twitter (#ASI2012 & #MICON12). Through tweets, we talked about art and artists…designs and designers. During the break-out sessions, I literally traversed the museum of art and design in education as I chose to saunter past some works of art so that I could stop and peruse in-depth a particular frame and painting – like Bob Dillon’s “Picture This: How Images Impact the Momentum of Change.”

Our INTENT as educators and teachers is to design moments and experiences, while capitalizing on relationship and curiosity, that light fires in learners’ hearts and minds. We INTEND to stir emotions and motivations, not by filling vessels, but by lighting passions. We paint and sculpt. “We who cut mere stone must always be envisioning cathedrals.” Our lesson plans are blue prints and schematics. Our classes unfolding are jazz riffs and improvisations that can never be experienced again as they were played that day and period.

We are artists and designers.

And we are crowd sourcing. We are gathering as tribes to share our designs and our sketches and our framed pieces. For we intend to change the world – one student at a time, if need be. Our INTENT is to compare palettes and prototypes and to borrow from the masters and apprentices who gather around our conference fires to tell stories and share tales.

Please don’t think me dramatic or histrionic. I believe what I have written above, especially upon re-reading. I am moved by the artists and designers with whom I co-designed and co-created at Lovett and Presbyterian Day School. I see our paints mixing and intermingling as we contemplate and prepare for Teaching for Tomorrow and Connecting Across Disciplines.

Such is why I fear the silo-ing of subjects, disciplines, and departments. What if we don’t design with INTENT so that the colors might mix and re-mix? For we do not teach subjects. We teach people. And our people deserve the richness of infinite colors – mixed and complex.

What do you see as the INTENT of schools and teaching in the next decade and century? “What is school for?” Are you designing and creating such that our works are beautiful pieces of art WHO can inspire the world in the years to come?

Discipline and creativity must synergize, and we should check our INTENT so that we know we are using our limitations to enlighten that which can be possible next (from Abigail Washburn in the TED Radio Hour linked above).

What do you do?

I teach.

Oh, what do you teach?

I teach children.

No, I mean what do you teach?

I teach the curious to paint and design in this world with grand INTENTIONS.

Oh, so you teach art?

Yes, and math, and history, and science, and English, and… I use all the paints because my canvas deserves the infinite possibilities, and I refuse to limit what could be possible. I teach children and adults and learners of all ages. I teach people, and I learn from them far more than I could ever teach them. For they, too, are artists and designers. And I will not steal their dreams.

And what do you do?

Process Post, Draft 2: Writing is Thinking – Prepping a Bit for Panel Discussion at #MICON12

Writing is thinking. I would deeply appreciate your thoughts on these 7 questions – please feel encouraged to add your voice in the comments field. As you can see from my pondering, my thinking is not wholly formed yet either. Don’t let formative thinking prevent you from contributing to our growing understandings…

As part of The Martin Institute’s 2012 Summer Conference, on Thursday morning, June 14, I am so very privileged to serve on a panel with featured speakers John Hunter (@worldpeacemovie) and Dr. Sande Dawes (not sure of a Twitter handle), and we have been asked to consider the following questions:

  1. What are your thoughts and reflections from Day 1?
  2. What is understanding and how does it develop?
  3. How can you best inspire and nurture creative thinking and problem solving in your students and yourself?
  4. If teachers, students and parents are generally satisfied with their schools, why should their schools consider moving in new directions?
  5. What are some practices that you’ve seen for implementing 21st century skills in the classroom?
  6. How can you foster a school culture that promotes this kind of learning?
  7. If we are serious about excellence in our classrooms/schools then what questions should we be asking?

Playing with my thinking by writing to see what I think… (“scratches on the surfaces”)

  1. What are your thoughts and reflections from Day 1? Much of Day 1 centered around John Hunter and the World Peace Game. At the day’s beginning, as a collected whole of community, we viewed a new cut of World Peace and Other 4th Grade Accomplishments (extended trailer linked here). At day’s end, we were blessed to listen to a keynote from John Hunter. As I increasingly consider myself a student of John Hunter’s approach to teaching and learning, I am struck by his intentional creation of space and opportunity for students to engage with the world in a way that is paradoxically the real world and a simulation of the real world. Through the World Peace Game, Hunter provides a multilayer, complex simulation in which students take on role play as United Nations ambassadors, kings of monarchical domains, presidents of democracies, arms dealers, World Bank officials, etc. Participants (4th graders) get into character and face life-like simulations involving global climate change, war, economic opportunity and crisis, fuel dilemmas, etc. And they real-life interact with each other in collaboration and conflict. John blurs the line between school and life, and he allows for (demands that) students stretch their brains and hearts as real, empathetic, problem-creating and problem-solving humans on the world stage. He lets questions linger and fill the atmosphere. He mixes in critical content…in context. He trusts and empowers children to rule and lead and serve the world. And they do. They measure up to the expectations because of the relationship and confidence that Hunter models and spreads to his learners and leaders. At the conclusion of the day, Hunter revealed that the World Peace Game is a “trick” or a Trojan Horse as Jamie Baker referred to it in a question to Hunter. The game is designed to fail. The only way for real success is for students to hyper-focus on collaboration and beating the game rather than on each other. He provides an emptiness for the students to fill with trial and error, argument and compromise, inhumanity and humanity. The game is just the string on which to hang the lights and enlightenment. Hunter also revealed that a trick to “teaching for tomorrow” is to work together with other teachers. And that’s how we spent the time sandwiched between the opening movie and the closing keynote. We exchanged ideas, motivations, practices, and possibilities. We built our understanding of our calling and our days’ work as a collective community of educators – those who commit ‘educare’ – to draw out that which is already there.
  2.  What is understanding and how does it develop? I believe “understanding” is a journey of hypotheses testing and re-trialing. I think understanding is constructed through learning by doing. I see understanding as akin to a sailboat tacking back and forth to reach a destination that cannot be reached in a straight line due to alternating currents and winds. When I listen to students who return to school as alumni recount what they remember and cherish, I come to love that understanding is gained through experience, failure, resilience, and fortitude. Understanding exists with a core of empathy, a sheath of curiosity, and a outershell of permeable attempts at discerning. It is a layering on. Yet, understanding is also a carving out of our being – like a sculptor revealing what lies in a monolith of granite. Service leads to deep understanding. Love is understanding at its purest sense.
  3. How can you best inspire and nurture creative thinking and problem solving in your students and yourself? Tear down the walls that segregate school and real life. At life’s beginning we are made lifelong learners through curiosity, attempts to engage and taste and feel our environment. Then we start to box and segregate the interconnected pieces of learning and understanding. I think we can nurture creative thinking by trusting our students to wade in and deal with conflict and confusion. We can model and guide toward empathy and coaching about the needs and issues of our world. We can play to the passions of our students by KNOWING them and encouraging their pursuits while layering in the critical components from the various ways of thinking and learning. We can create space and time for them to create and problem solve. We can manifest our own versions of things like John Hunter’s World Peace Game, Gever Tulley’s Tinkering School, Kiran Bir Sethi’s Riverside School, etc.
  4. If teachers, students and parents are generally satisfied with their schools, why should their schools consider moving in new directions? As the world changes, so must our schools. We need to design schools to be leadership centers for research and development, as well as implementation, for addressing the real issues that we face in our world – poverty, hunger, racial discord, fuel crises, water and energy mismanagement, etc. We need to make sure that school is preparing students for the citizenship that our world yearns for and craves. Are we?

Foiled by time again! I’ll keep thinking. I would LOVE and CHERISH your thoughts and ideas in the comments!

 

Process Post: Writing is Thinking – Prepping a Bit for Panel Discussion at #MICON12

Writing is thinking. Therefore, I am writing so that I might learn more about what I am thinking. On today and tomorrow, I am attending, “paneling,” participating in, and facilitating at The Martin Institute’s 2012 Summer Conference. On Thursday morning, I am so very privileged to serve on a panel with featured speakers John Hunter (@worldpeacemovie) and Dr. Sande Dawes (not sure of a Twitter handle), and we have been asked to consider the following questions:

  1. What are your thoughts and reflections from Day 1?
  2. What is understanding and how does it develop?
  3. How can you best inspire and nurture creative thinking and problem solving in your students and yourself?
  4. If teachers, students and parents are generally satisfied with their schools, why should their schools consider moving in new directions?
  5. What are some practices that you’ve seen for implementing 21st century skills in the classroom?
  6. How can you foster a school culture that promotes this kind of learning?
  7. If we are serious about excellence in our classrooms/schools then what questions should we be asking?

To be honest, I am feeling a bit guilty for writing just now. I am stealing 30 minutes to journal instead of attending Session #4, and I know I am missing some superb leading and thinking from conference presenters and attendees. Yet, learning and understanding involves a fair amount of quiet, processing time for me. So, I had to steal away for some deliberately quiet processing. Of course, now I am wondering if we would allow our students to do such in schools. Don’t they feel overwhelmed sometimes by the sheer volume of teaching, learning, and information? Can such quiet, reflective time be scheduled and scripted, or is it more valuable to choose to take this time, as I am doing now? For if we are trying to build understanding, there are certainly steps, stages, and phases to such a construction process, and time to reconsider the blueprints seems fundamental and paramount. But I digress, a bit. Tis okay…I am “just journaling.”

As I began my Wednesday at #MICON12, I watched John Hunter’s World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements (http://www.worldpeacegame.org/). This movie by Chris Farina, and John Hunter’s related TED talk, are amazing. The Martin Institute is doing phenomenal work promoting and igniting this teaching, learning, and storytelling.

This morning marked my tenth viewing of this incredible film. Each time I watch, I learn something new, and I am always spurred to think deeply about the nature of learning and preparing citizens for life in this century. And this viewing included a new cut of the film – more to take in and learn. As I watched the film and followed the tweets (I made a Storify of some of the most profound), I continued to be deeply moved by the blurring of school and life that John Hunter facilitates. If you read this blog, then you probably know that I am a huge fan of Kiran Bir Sethi’s work at Riverside School and her TED talk “Kiran Bir Sethi teaches kids to take charge.” Like Kiran, Hunter believes that school is not just preparation for real life…school IS real life. Students can make an impact NOW on the positive changes that we need in our world. For me, so many of my responses to the questions posed above are fused and webbed and linked together by this fact and approach to “the classroom.”

Does “school” tend to look like real life? Well, it should – if we really hope to prepare students to serve and lead in a changing world.

Oh well, my 30 minutes are up. I didn’t even scratch the surface…very much. But I have some beginnings of a scratch. More later.

Thinking is iterative and prototypical, so I know that my thinking will change as I continue to interact – face-to-face and virtually – with the amazing people at The Martin Institute 2012 Summer Conference.