Thursday, 22 November 2012

Actually PBLing...if that's a verb

At the beginning of the month, I blogged about my desire to try Project Based Learning with my Grade 12 history class. I introduced the task last Thursday and so far, so good.  The first couple of days were devoted to discussing the curriculum expectations, establishing common understandings and defining the word "best".
The students easily created their groups, and most selected their topic quickly.  One group had some difficulty because they didn't want a topic that was "too easy".  I LOVE that they wanted a challenge.  
The first day we went to the library was quite uncomfortable for me and for some of the students.  They wanted me to TELL them what a documentary proposal was...and my heart started beating quickly because I felt like I was letting them down because I wouldn't tell them.  (I had given them some leads as to where to look to find out.)
Today was excellent.  I sat down with each group and discussed their progress so far and gave them some suggestions about dividing up tasks and making use of Google Docs to collaborate.  One student asked if he could create evidence during the conference.  I was taken aback, because while the task is creative, it is IMPERATIVE that the evidence be factual.  I soon figured out that he didn't actually want to imagine the evidence, but rather compile various statistics to support his argument.  I breathed a sigh of relief.  I have also noticed students who don't appear to be leaders, take a leadership role in their group.  Additionally, one group is created from students who I don't even think spoke to each other previous to this task.  They seem to mesh really well and I am excited to see their progress.
In my previous blog post, I asked about converting a Word Document (that has a "sophisticated" table in it) to a Google Doc.  I couldn't find a way to make it work.  Using the Word Document provided by the Buck Institute for Education, I created a PBL template in Google Docs.  Feel free to use it.  It is at this link:

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