C4W5: Deep Learning into Practice

Which effective new pedagogies/learning frameworks might you implement in your practice?

I took an introduction to PBL over the summer. A lot of the things they talked about, I think, are just good teaching practices and part of the inquiry cycle and design process. Project based learning isn’t new to me but I wanted to learn more about developing rubrics and how those are set up and used within a project based project. This course was more of a general introduction to PBL, I don’t feel like I got answers for my specific questions concerning assessment like group assessment versus individual assessment and rubrics and formative assessments and how many to do within a project. The site has a lot of project ideas to get started.

I’m using the Question Formulation Technique and the inquiry cycle from The Wonder of Science (Paul Anderson). I believe these are both life skills students should know.

I would also like to collaborate more with colleagues for integrated units, a few of us are trying this, albeit slowly. We are planning a unit for semester 2.

What might that look like in your context?

Presently, I’m still on ‘Unit 1’ with the students  (usually I would be on unit 2 at this point in the year) but we have gone deep with inquiry into states of matter and looking at atomic behavior. I guess I’m running more of a thematic unit this year (oceans). Going through the inquiry cycle takes longer as the students are exploring and planning their own investigations and this takes time.

I’m definitely trying to be co-learners with my students but developing rubrics is still an issue. I’d like to know more about how to develop rubrics with students as I find they still struggle with understanding what they need to show in their science models.

I’m doing continuous feedback and students are more aware of what they need to do and more comfortable with asking for feedback. They are also more willing to make mistakes. But, I also find that some students still don’t read feedback or take the time to use it. They have time in class to do these things. I will ask students if they have questions or need help and they tell me ‘no’ only to have me look at their work to discover they made no improvements. How do I reach all of them when using rubrics and a feedback cycle? 

I give students control and choice but I could do better with being more aware if they are ready for the task or not. If they aren’t, I talk with the students and we find a solution to move forward that looks a bit different than the original task. It takes extra time but I’m learning. I would also like students to focus on collaborating more and doing their group roles. I find I ask the students about group roles, they show confidence in what each person has to do and what each role means, and then when I assign group roles, most students don’t follow them. I’d like to know more about how to get students to work collaboratively. Any recommendations of webinars or authors or youtube gurus? 

In my school, the focus is very much on independent achievement and if students get ‘group grades’, both students and parents are not comfortable with this. If there’s a group project, I also assess the same standards in an individual assignment. I understand this is a form of old pedagogy (A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning, Fuller and Langworthy) but this is the cultural expectation of families in my community.

This moves into my last question, how do schools move towards new pedagogies and getting buy in from parents, students, and staff? I have been that teacher that tries new things at school but if the students have a fixed mindset, they are suspicious and it takes a long time for them to buy in. It’s a lot easier to try new things when a group of teachers are consistent with teaching tools and methodologies.

One comment to “C4W5: Deep Learning into Practice”
One comment to “C4W5: Deep Learning into Practice”
  1. Hi Melanie!

    I also found it challenging to create rubrics for assessment in the context of problem-based learning (PBL). PBL focuses on such abilities as researching, reasoning, team skills, and as well it aims to foster self-directed learning. How to put all of these requirements in one rubric, kids’ friendly and clear for parents? The only way that I can see is to optimize assessment through the learning process, collect the evidence during the process.

    According to the question of how do schools move towards new pedagogies and getting buy in from parents, students, and staff?
    It takes time, and the school should constantly organize the special PD for Admin, teachers, students, and parents. Each teacher in school should reinforce the same concepts. When we started to implement ideas of new pedagogies, I was spending a few lessons to explain the goal-setting process and how to understand the rubrics and teacher’s comments and write the reflection. I needed to work individually with each student. It was a new concept. Now the process goes much faster – students understand this concept and the reasons, know the language. But it requires ongoing professional development from the teachers and administration.

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