Thank you for the feedback!
I am still fine tuning this lesson as it is my first PBL and meant for the first few weeks of school (I begin Sept. 6). Thank you for all the “likes”; I will continue in this direction.
The Pink Floyd entry event was actually just having them listen to the song and do a quick-write about what they heard. A very short, getting into class kind of activity. I plan to have it playing as they walk in to class, stop it at the bell, and direct them to listen as they get out materials for the quick write (pen/pencil and paper). This is a procedure I use often in my classes. If music is playing as they walk in, they get the hint that it is playing for a reason and will relate to our class that day! The early birds like to figure it out while the rest of class straggles in.
Your biggest wonder is mine as well! This project is meant for a group of high school freshman who have struggled in school for years and are now in an intervention class. I have somewhat successfully started prior school years with the “school is important, here’s why,” “you will work hard because failure is not an option in this class,” “I will care more about your education for you until you are ready to care as much with me” kind of message. The problem has been that even though these students buy into the work load, they are still doing it for external reasons (me, other teachers in the CREW program who push them, etc.). Several do come around to the internal reasons, but not until the end of the year or years later (I get a lot of letters around graduation time).
In any case, I’d like these young people to have an opportunity to discover some reasons for being educated on their own. This would be the first step in a year-long journey down that road. Later projects include life maps, goal setting, principles, personal mission statements, where do you want to be in 10 years and how do you get there, etc. Is there a different focus I should take to clarify this?
I like the audience change ideas! Going to a prison sounds a bit overwhelming to me, but juvenile halls in the Los Angeles area have enough inmates that are the same age as these guys so it may work. I was also thinking about having them present to 8th graders at the feeder middle schools. I was also thinking of adding an interview portion. Perhaps a prison/juvenile hall visit as part of their research?
I smiled at your idea to use products that engage students more! Mine look pretty weak! I have a ton of ideas for that including MovieMaker and dramatic re-enactments, but I did not write them specifically in the lesson. I am planning on using a handout with options listed, then discussing product options with the class. Key to that discussion is what do you know how to do, what do you need help in doing, what materials do you need. Since this is a beginning-of-year project and they are hardly a homogeneous group when it comes to skills, support, and technology I need to keep product options open ended. I have watched them frustrate out on a simple PowerPoint when a poster would have been within their means and skill set and far more meaningful. Also these students do not have much technology available to them. We are quite limited on campus, and last year only 30% of the students in the program had computers at home. My other thought is to really specify the visual aid product so I can directly teach it (see PowerPoint scenario), Suggestions on managing this?
I would teach and assess all three 21st Century skills:
- Collaboration: I would teach by explaining and practicing roles they can take in the group, discussing and practicing conflict management tools, and other team building games. This would be assessed by having them do self and peer evaluations according to the rubric; I would do this mid-way through and at the end (2 times to allow for growth). I feel very comfortable with this as I do the same thing with the production crews in my Stage Production class with every show they produce.
- Presentation: I would teach by modeling/showing models of engaging, motivational presentations, practice by having 2 dress rehearsals, and would assess at the final presentation based on the BIE presentation rubric with my own additions. Again, as a Theatre Arts teacher, I am very comfortable with this procedure.
- Critical Thinking: I would teach this as we discussed the driving question and all their more detailed questions, modeling and encouraging inquiry. In coaching and supporting along the way there would be multiple opportunities to teach problem-solving. Again, my background in teaching Theatre and Stage Production makes me very comfortable with saying things like, “I’m not interested in your problems, I’m interested in hearing and helping with your possible solutions!” Critical thinking would be assessed 2 times. First, as groups prepare their projects (are their questions deep enough, are they finding and using multiple sources for research, have they moved beyond obstacles on their own or with minimal assistance). Second, after the project is complete (did they synthesize- not regurgitate- information, did they fully investigate new questions, does this new thinking show in their opinion essay).
Does this sound accurate? Too much?
I hope this post is not too long or tedious to review! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this support as I am on my own on this one! Thank you!