Project Based Learning Part 1: Experiences of a 3rd Grade Teacher
Anthony Capps is a third grade teacher at Gulf Shores Elementary School. He was also a professional lab assistant in EDM310. When Dr. Strange asked Anthony how to approach being a project based learning teacher, Anthony stated that his ideas on project-based learning are always evolving. Anthony says the goal now with project-based learning is a means to get students to learn something while doing it. Students are creating a project of some kind as they discover the knowledge of a topic. As a teacher, you have to create a project for the student to do that needs information. So the students have to learn certain information to create this particular project. Project-based learning is driven by content. As teachers, you are given content from the state, so we have to create a project that uses the content that the students are required to learn. One example of a project Anthony did with his class was have his third grade students write a letter to congress. This way he met writing standards, reading standards, and social study standards with one project. They talked about equality and used iCurio to find historic figures that demonstrated success. They could use this information to write to congress and state their opinion on if women should be allow to fight in open combat or not. This was interesting to them because each student knew of someone who was in the military and were able to have conversations at home that dealt with the specific learning topic. He had 28 kids but only sent in eight letters after reviewing. The students used peer review to decide on which eight of their peers’ letters was written with best quality to send to congress. In project based learning students have to be able to revise and reflect on their work.
Project Based Learning Part 2: Experiences of a 3rd Grade Teacher
Another tells us in this video that some projects go very well, others do not go well. You have to respect the wishes of parents in your classroom when it comes to certain assignments. Sometimes you can give alternative projects. Anthony has given projects where the kids loved the assignment and the parents were impressed with the information gathered as well. Everything students do in the classroom is meaningful with project-based learning. The administration in the school knows that when students are engaged, they are learning. Anthony states to never limit your students. You should always create an opportunity for them to go beyond what you want them to do. Project-based learning involves a lot of planning and hard work. Even if the project as a whole comes out as unsuccessful, there was still learning in the process. Each and every student is a “learner” and when working with project-based learning, the student is engaging in learning. It’s that simple. Anthony gave an assignment where the students read a story and had to create a sequence chart. This chart had six spaces and the students had to tell six important scenes in the story, then they had to choose the three most important ones out of the six that gave the most detail about the story. Then they chose one scene that had the biggest effect on the stories outcome. They got to go online and create a comic strip to recreate the story as a comic. Sometimes things do not go as planned, and the printer wouldn’t work and they couldn’t print off the comics. He had a last minute change of plans and had to tell the students to write an essay instead and then paint a picture of the most important scene. Each student had different scenes because different points of the story stood out to them. They had watercolors and created stories. When students learn about project-based learning, they are excited to tell about it.
iCurio with Anthony
Anthony teaches in Baldwin County and the teachers there us iCurio. This online tool allows students to save research, images, and websites. Students and adults seem to have a hard time staying organized and iCurio helps to manage the struggle. iCurio allows the user to practice organization by using folders saved online. Once you are logged in, iCurio will save everything for you to come back at a later time. Inside the search engine of iCurio, the student and teacher both are taken to appropriate sites unlike what google could lead you to. When a lunch bell rings or there is an interruption in class, the user that is logged in can simply save their work and come back to it later. iCurio has a feature called “Timeline” so that you can search on certain criteria. The user can search for certain time periods, people, and events. It also has a directory with historical figures and you can choose the topic, gender, and race of whom you wish to search for. Anthony tells us it is useful for any grade level, as long as the teacher allows their students to search the web. One feature that is neat is the “read-out-loud” feature for students with disabilities.
Discovery Education with Anthony
Anthony stated, “If a pictures worth a thousand words and then a video is worth a million”. With discovery Ed you can find several video resources for science and social studies. This site offers great resources for teachers and students. One could be to research plants. This website will take the student beyond photographs and offer them videos to help them learn as well. Discovery Ed enriches the research experience because of all it has to offer. People will remember what they hear, remember more of what they see, but remember most by watching the process of something happen. The videos that Discovery Ed has will help students to learn by watching steps and processes of certain topics. Dr. Strange talked about how students nowadays listen and watch more than read and write. This is all dealing with project-based learning and allowing the students to do more hands on activities in order to learn for a lifetime instead of memorize for a moment.
Don’t Teach Tech- Use it
By: Jordan Neely
Technology shouldn’t be taught; it is natural for kids and everywhere in their lives. Kids are going to like to use technology to prove they are learning. Anthony used an example of Discovery Ed. The first week of school you could use Discovery Ed to teach your students a certain topic, the next week you can have the students use a video portion of iMovie to create a reflection or summary on a story you have read in class. Dr. Strange asked Anthony if his third graders have had any problem using iMovie or learning how to work it and he said absolutely not. They could use research tools and video tools to create a project requiring a movie component to it. Eventually the students will be able to combine all the skills they have learned. At first, you need to choose one technology at a time and focus on it. Make sure the students learn it and are able to use it to the best of their ability before introducing them to a new program or website. Using technology allows students to express themselves and has several benefits. Anthony mentioned that most programs are free and if they do cost it is normally only a one-time fee for membership. Technology doesn’t need supplies and doesn’t have to be cleaned up after, such as messes and spills. The tools that students will be learning in the classroom today will help them to learn the new tools that will be created in their futures. As a teacher, Anthony suggests you to scaffold the learning and let them use one tool at a time. They can share what they are doing with people from all over world and be excited about doing the work. As a teacher you cannot expect perfection, your students are going to make mistakes with their first research project. This is when you set aside a time for reflection to fix those mistakes and the next week those mistakes will be fixed and they will be ready to move a step ahead. The students will love being able to share what they have learned and accomplished while learning new tools. If you are worried about how a certain project is going to work out, do the project yourself first. If any questions arise in class, you will have already done the project and will hopefully be prepared to answer any questions. If neither of you know the answer to a question, this can teach the child problem solving skills and you can work together as a class to overcome the obstacle. In order to learn, questions must be asked.
An Additional Thought About Lessons
By: Kaley McDonald
How do we as teachers create an effective, successful lesson plan? Anthony explains in this video that developing a successful lesson requires four components. These components are year, unit, week, and daily plans that require the skills of time management and abundant planning to construct. The first, year plan, is to decipher how the lesson will fit into the year and making sure all the expected common core standards will be met and accomplished. Next is the unit plan. The unit plan can be formulated by asking and answering the question, "How will I unfold the unit so that it's relevant and all information and standards tie in together with the unit?" This concept involves beginning with an aspect and continuing to develop the material as time progresses so that by the end of a unit students should be able to accomplish the outcome expected. Next is the weekly plan, in that time must be managed in order to get everything that needs to be done, complete. This involves planning what will transpire through the week, what projects will be constructed, and assessing the student's accomplishments in the short time period of a five day week. The final component of the four, would be the daily plan. The daily plan affects how you deliver information to your students on a daily basis. Being flexible and observing what is working and what is not is key to daily planning, in that you'll know how to plan for the next day, and the next, and so forth. You must hook them, meaning you must obtain their attention with elements that interest them, keep them engaged while delivering content, and then offer entities afterwards to determine and record what they’ve learned for that day so you'll know where to begin the next day. All these components must be equally performed for the outcome of a successful lesson to transpire.
The Anthony-Strange Tips for Teachers Part 1
Dr. Strange and his former student and current 3rd grade teacher, Anthony Capps create a list of tips in this video that could help teachers be at the top of their game.
Be a learner.
Work and play are one in the same. Anthony brings up the fact that to be successful educators we have to take our work home. In order to be the best you can be for your students, no matter the grade level, you have to work outside the scope of 8 hour school days. You have to find a way to make what you do fun for you. Anthony says, "We are in the craft of teaching." and he is so right. Everyone has a hobby, something they like to do on the weekends and after work. As educators, teaching is our hobby! At least, it should be. Teaching is not something you just wake up and decide to do. Teaching is a calling. It is something you have to love to truly be good at it. We should all strive to be the best we can, and we can do that by loving our jobs!
One way to be a flexible teacher is to understand what the ultimate goal is for every lesson that you teach. When planning your lessons ask yourself, what is my goal? What do I want my students to understand? This way you have the most important aspect in the front of your mind and it is your focus. So if something does go wrong and your plan aren't quite panning out you can quickly find a way to bounce back and keep things moving in your classroom.
Dr. Strange and Anthony also mentioned presentations in the video. Anthony then takes it a step farther and says that reflection is important for your classroom. Presentations and reflection go hand in hand. Having your students present to an audience is a good way for them to reflect upon their work. They could self reflect and try to figure out before or after how they could make the project better for the specific audience. What would make it more interesting? They could all use audience critique to reflect on their work and their presenting skills. When students reflect on their work to make it better they are expanding their realm of learning. They are going beyond what you. as their teacher, can do for them.
The final tip discussed in the video is that you should engage your students. Anthony says you should have 100% of your students engaged at all times!
Teaching is my passion and what I truly believe I was born to do. I also believe this video to be very insightful and helpful to any future or even current teachers. We need to strive to make our world a better place and it all starts with our children. We as educators are responsible for molding young minds to be the future doctors, lawyers, teachers and leaders of our countries. The most important job in the world is the one that all of us strive to have.