Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Some UTeach PBI Modifications Currently Under Consideration

The following are some possible modifications to UTeach PBI currently under consideration for the sections that I teach over the next couple of semesters. The idea is that there will be a fairly slow but consistent evolutionally modification to the course:

1) modification to the field experience to be more consistent with PBI
2) introduction of the LEGACY cycle for designing of a curriculum semester project
3) addition of more substantive (in quality and quantity) course readings
4) incorporation of engineering/STEM into the content of the course
5) introduction of a formative assessment instrument to assess knowledge of previous UTeach course objectives upon entering PBI
6) incorporation of mentorship activities with existing PBI teachers
7) review by the students of some national PBI curriculum
8) a section of the course dedicated to online teaching pedagogy
9) utilization of in class survey's to provide regular feedback
10) expansion of potential STEM faculty willing to teach PBI
11) introduction of various lesson plan formats (other than 5E's)
12) Learning progressions and educative curriculum incorporated (Cesar)
13) More detailed discussions on the differences between: problem based learning, project based learning, case based learning, challenge based instruction, anchored instruction
14) In class conducting of a project based unit (Mission to Mars)
15) Instruction of class to include more opportunities for projects.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Initial Thoughts on UTeach PBI Field Modifications

Both of these attachments are taken from the UTeach Institute's Curriculum document.

1) The first indicates my conjecture that PBI is the capstone course in the professional development sequence. Maybe people were speaking about AT as a capstone for the entire program? I'm not sure.

2) The second item is the total FE hours that PBI students do for the course compared to other courses in the professional sequence. I spoke with many of the Local School teachers recently and they were uniform in their agreement that the field experiences in PBI were memorable and important...but they did not have much to do with PBI.

By the SPG 2011 semester, PBI's FE will be in in synch with the other CoE courses. Roughly, they seem to average a little less than 2 FE hrs per course credit. I will shoot for PBI to be in the range of 6-8 hrs (well over 2 FE's per course credit). As things stand now, PBI has 3X more FE hrs than CI, and 4X more than the Step courses. This is clearly referenced in the description of PBI above, "immersion in intensive field-based experiences"-- We are trying to keep the concepts of "immersion" and "intensive" still in PBI, but they will be defined not by quantity but by quality. In the long run, this course will be better for the UTeach students we teach as it will reflect better what PBI is and is not. PBI is not a field based course. I think it's time we bring it more in line with the other CoE courses in terms of the proportion of hrs dedicated to an integration of theory and practice *ABOUT* PBI.

I'm more confident than ever that by the end of the next 12 months (SPG 2011), PBI will become a course that multiple STEM professors will be able to teach. But, a reduction in quantity, not quality, of FE hours is very likely going to become a reality.

To be clear, the field experiences students receive during PBI are clearly important, memorable, and worthwhile. They just don't belong in PBI. They belong in a course called something like "Conducting Field Based Teaching in STEM Education". In order for me and the team associated with PBI to make the modifications needed, less time is going to have to be dedicated to FE. Not surprisingly, students rate the field experiences as a highlight (even this past semester). I hope the UTeach program can keep this important aspect of the program intact. This really needs to be addressed at the program level and with the Steering Committee and I imagine other courses will need to pick up some of the lost PBI FE hours (K&L is currently listed have having none) or we'll officially have to reduce this number we claim. I think with almost a year to plan, something can be worked out. I will formally bring this up at the first or second SPG meeting of the Steering Committee.

3) As an aside, when asked, the local Teachers said that Research Methods class (while excellent and important) did not prepare them to teach using project based instruction. They may have been referring to an older version of RM but their response was very uniform. I'm in contact with another researcher and plan on talking to her about her monograph...

4) I'm in the process of preparing a document that will summarize much of the 3 meetings I had this week about PBI---but, I wanted to give a little heads-up on these three issues as I will not emphasize them too much in the report but wanted the two co-directors to have as much lead time on this as possible.

5) I'll be meeting with members of the PBI team next week as we push forward.... I will also be bringing in some STEM faculty and other people in as the process progresses next semester.

Friday, December 11, 2009

December 11- Final Exam Section II

Friday, December 11 was the final exam/presentations for Section 2 of out PBI course. Topics included invasive species, astronomy, pollution, endangered species-- Everything went well and students were generally relieved and excited about the prospect about being finished for the semester.

December 10- Meeting at Manor New Tech

On December 10, 2009, Denise Ekberg and Tony Petrosino met with about 10 teachers from Manor New Tech High School in Manor, TX (about 8 miles east of Austin). Manor New Tech is a high school that utilizes a version of project based instruction and includes a high proportion of former UTeach graduates.


Manor New Tech Meeting
December 10, 2009

I. Introductions

II. Discussion of Existing Relationship Between Manor and UTeach

III. Purpose of this Meeting

a. Short term goals (SPG 2010)
- Observations
- Semester Projects
- Field Experiences

b. Long term goals (Fall 2010 onward)

IV. Seeking Mutually Beneficial Relationship- beneficial to all parties

V. Next Meeting(s)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Final Exam- Section 1

On Wednesday evening from 7pm -10pm, Section 1 of PBI took their final exams. The exam was in the format of a presentation on the PBI unit that each group developed. Generally, there were teams of 4 students and they created a unit with an anchor video, a project calendar, lesson plans, resources, letters to parents, assessments, a summary paper and special modification for students. The exam was preceded by dinner and refreshments and teams were evaluated by peers, TA's, instructors of the course and even a visiting professor. The climate in the class was primarily one of celebration and relief. A great deal of coordination and collaboration was accomplished to finish this semester long project and with a full course load of intense classes, exam time can be stressful for anyone. But, presentations went well, comments were friendly and insightful and each group will receive substantial feedback on their project. Final grades are due early next week. The final exam for Section 2 will be on Friday from 2pm-5pm.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dr. Allan Collins Visits UT- UTeach Lecture Series

The following article appeared in The Daily Texan and was written by Vidushi Shrimali. Dr. Collins work has made significant impacts on education, artifical intelligence, and cognitive psychology. In addition to his lecture, Dr. Collins visited Dr. Joan Hughes Instructional Technology graduate course, met with numerous faculty members, and had wonderful interactions with some of our students. Please see his full bio at the end of this article. -Dr. Petrosino


In an age where adults blame new gadgets and social networking sites as the cause for students’ misconduct and poor educational performance, Allan Collins, a professor at Northwestern University, is encouraging students and teachers to use iPhones and Web sites, including Facebook, not only as entertainment, but also in the classroom.

Anthony Petrosino, a professor in the College of Education, asked Collins to speak at UT after he saw a posting on Collins’ Facebook page about his tour for “Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology,” a book Collins co-authored with peer Richard Halverson. Collins spoke at the University on Tuesday as part of UTeach’s Lecture Series.

“[His book] spoke [about] a lot of issues and topics we are grappling with,” said Petrosino.

“Collins’ work already has a huge influence on our graduate and undergraduate program. There are very few classes we offer in which an article by Dr. Collins is not present.”

Collins spoke on the benefits of what he calls new education, a growing internal movement that turns to technology to provide individualized instruction.

“We don’t let [students] use books, calculators or the Web when taking a test. But what matters in the real world is how well you can mobilize different sources like the Web to try to solve problems,” Collins said.

Collins summarized the history of education in three eras.

“In the apprenticeship era, education was personal, resource intensive, and engaging,” Collins said. “In the schooling era, education was mass-oriented, efficient and bureaucratic. In the lifelong-learning era, education is becoming customized, highly interactive and learner-controlled.” 

In new education and virtual and online high schools and colleges like the University of Phoenix, books are at least supplemented, if not replaced, with the Web, and students are given more freedom to choose what they learn.

Children as young as three or four years old use hand-held devices similar to the Kindle or iPhone, with stories, animations and voice recordings to practice reading skills, and students of all levels and ages have access to Web tutors and computer-based learning software that will allow them to work at their own pace and pursue individual interests.

Collins suggested questioning the current education systems, including the system of a high school, and replacing them with home schooling or a form of more individualized education.

“One of the problems with school is that we teach these things that in no context are relevant to real life,” Collins said. “Most students learn calculus and have no clue why they are going to use that in real life. I certainly didn’t and most teachers don’t.”

Brad Armosky, an employee at the Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University, pointed out that university professors have the opportunity to pursue alternative teaching methods that elementary education teachers cannot.

“At university, if a faculty member wants to try something new, if it works, great. If it doesn’t, faculty and students can make up for it, no harm done. K-12 teachers can’t afford to take such a risk. They can’t say, let me try something totally new, using a level of technology we can’t use. If it doesn’t work, the two, three days you invested in the present topic, the kids didn’t learn what they needed to learn. What are the repercussions of missing that piece of information?” Armosky said.

-----------------------------

Dr. Collins Bio: 

Allan M. Collins is an American cognitive scientist and Professor Emeritus of Learning Sciences at Northwestern University's School of Education and Social Policy. Collins' research is recognized as having broad impact on the fields of cognitive psychologyartificial intelligence, and education.

Psychology

Collins is most well known in psychology for his foundational research on human semantic memory and cognition. Collins and colleagues, most notably M.R. Quillian and Elizabeth Loftus, developed the position that semantic knowledge is represented in stored category representations, linked together in a taxonomically organized processing hierarchy (see semantic networks). Support for their models came from a classic series of reaction-time experiments on human question answering.[1][2][3]


Artificial Intelligence

In artificial intelligence, Collins has been recognized for his work on intelligent tutoring systems and plausible reasoning. With collaborator Jaime Carbonell, Collins produced the first documented example of an intelligent tutor system called SCHOLAR CAI (computer-assisted instruction).[4]Knowledge in SCHOLAR was structured analogously to the then theorized organization of human semantic memory as to afford a variety of meaningful interactions with the system. Collins' extensive research program pioneered discourse analysis methods to study the strategies human tutors use to adapt their teaching to learners. In addition, Collins studied and developed a formal theory characterizing the variety of plausible inferences people use to ask questions about which their knowledge is incomplete. Importantly, Collins developed methods to embed lessons learned from such research into the SCHOLAR system, improving system usability and effectiveness. Subsequently, Collins developed WHY, an intelligent tutoring system that used the Socratic method for tutoring causal knowledge and reasoning. In conjunction with this project he developed a formal computational theory of Socratic tutoring, derived from analyses of inquiry teaching dialogues.


Education

As a cognitive scientist and foundational member of the field of the learning sciences, Collins has influenced several strands of educational research and development. Building upon his work on intelligent tutoring systems, Collins has conducted numerous projects investigating the use of technology in schools and developing educational technologies for assessing and improving student learning. Collins has gradually shifted towards the situated cognition view of knowledge being embedded in the activity, context, and culture in which it is developed and used. In response to conventional practices that often ignore the influence of culture and activity, Collins and colleagues have developed and studied cognitive apprenticeship as a effective alternative educational practice. In addition, Collins was among the first to advocate for and outline design-based research methodologies in education.


Education and Professional Appointments


Academic Honors and Service


Noted and Representative Publications

  • Collins, A. M., & Quillian, M. R. (1969). Retrieval Time from Semantic Memory. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 8, 240-247. (citation classic)
  • Collins, A. M., & Loftus, E. F. (1975). A Spreading Activation Theory of Semantic Processing. Psychological Review, 82, 407-428. (citation classic)
  • Collins, A. M., & Michalski, R. S. (1989). The logic of plausible reasoning: A core theory. Cognitive Science, 13, 1-49.
  • Collins A. M., Brown J. S., & Newman S. (1989). Cognitive Apprenticeship: Teaching the Craft of Reading, Writing, and Mathematics, in Knowing, Learning and Instruction: Essays in Honor of Robert Glaser, edited by LB Resnick, Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ.
  • Brown, J. S., Collins, A.M., & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher, 18 (1), 32–42.
  • Collins, A. M. (1992). Towards a design science of education. In E. Scanlon & T. O’Shea (Eds.), New directions in educational technology (pp. 15-22). Berlin: Springer.
  • Collins, A. M., & Ferguson, W. (1993). Epistemic forms and epistemic games: Structures and strategies to guide inquiry. Educational Psychologist, 28(1), 25-42.
  • Greeno, J., Collins, A. M., & Resnick, L. (1996). Cognition and learning. (pp. 15-46) In D. Berliner and R. Calfee (Eds.), Handbook of Educational Psychology. New York: Macmillan.
  • Bielaczyc, K. & Collins, A. M. (1999). Learning communities in classrooms: A reconceptualization of educational practice. In Reigeluth, C. M. (Ed), Instructional-design Theories and Models: A New Paradigm of Instructional Theory : 269-292.
  • Collins, A.M.; Joseph, D., & Bielaczyc, K. (2004). "Design research: Theoretical and methodological issues". Journal of the Learning Sciences13 (1): 15–42.


Picture: Sara Young

Allan Collins, professor emeritus at Northwestern University, spoke Tuesday about restructuring educational approaches to include current technologies in his “Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology” tour.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday, November 30- Final Preparations

Students were encouraged to attend a talk on “Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology” by Professor Allan Collins. Most of class time was devoted to teaching the students how to post their project materials on a website. By the end of class, students received feedback on their revised benchmark and investigation lessons for their project and were given an opportunity to ask questions about the final submission of their anchor videos and final project.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Monday November 23- Benchmark Lessons and Anchor Videos

The students turned in updated versions of benchmark and investigation lessons for their projects. For the rest of the class period, students worked on their anchor videos. The master teacher and teaching assisstants met with the teams individually to provide them with feedback on their weekly calendars for their projects and discuss what the students needed to do to complete their projects.

The end of the semester is in sight and with Thanksgiving looming, there are only a handful of meeting days left in the semester. It's very exciting to see the projects really coming together. At the same time, the stress of completing a quality unit for PBI while also dealing with the end of the semester rush for all the other courses makes for a challenging time....but exciting!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday, November 20- Storyboarding

Students presented their storyboards and discussed ideas for their anchor videos. This provided an excellent opportunity for students to receive immediate feedback from their classmates, the teaching assistants, and the master teacher. Denise Ekberg gave the students an overview of what was due before the end of the semester: their anchor videos, revised benchmark and investigation lesson plans, written project description for their project website, a parent letter (describing the project), and an optional grant (winners will receive $1,000 per teacher to implement their projects). She answered the students’ questions about the final project and recommended that they review the project submission checklist and rubric for their final presentation.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday November 18: Lab Day (Storyboarding)

Actual Syllabus: Planning a PBI STEM Curriculum (Krajcik Chapter 9)

Enacted Curriculum: Today, we used the class meeting time to allow students time to get together to articulate their anchor video storyboard as well as do some needed planning for their upcoming semester project. As we approach the end of the semester, commitments seem to mount at an increasing rate so the need to be flexible yet still productive is a real management issue with this course.

There's a number of useful storyboard sites--- one that I like can be found by pointing your browser HERE.

Denise Ekberg reported on her meeting with the Bedichek Middle School teachers about the field teaching experience. She said that the teachers especially liked the student presentations after the field experience. The students received teaching awards for the field experience and further discussed the reflection assignment. More examples of anchor videos made by previous PBI students were shown, and the students worked on creating storyboards for their project anchor videos.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday, November 16- Anchor Video/Review of Field Experiences

Professor Petrosino asked the students to share their thoughts about the pros and cons of the field experience. Many students emphasized the importance of alignment between the classroom and field experience and being aware of learning disabilities and how to accommodate students with special needs. After the discussion about the field teaching experience, Professor Petrosino showed examples of anchor videos and described design principles for creating anchor videos. He emphasized the importance of the videos having a narrative format, presenting a complex problem that involves multiple steps to solve, and including embedded data that helps students determine what they need to do in order to solve the problem. At the end of class, the teaching assistants discussed the reflection assignment for students’ field teaching experience.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Saturday November 14: Field Trip Teach Day

Today was the culmination of about 2 months of planning. UTeach students presented lessons on successive days centering on the content knowledge behind the field experiences. Finally, on Saturday- the culminating activity (consequential task) was a field experience at either the Blanton Museum or at McKinney Falls (some 8th grade students with both). What follows are short summaries written by the TA's involved in supervising much of the activities for the day.

Blanton PBI Summary

Four UT PBI teams taught a total of 18 8th grade students from Bedicheck middle school. The students arrived at approximately 10:00am, but the Blanton Museum does not open until 11:00 on Saturdays, so the UT PBI teams showed the students examples of art around the UT campus area. Three of the groups went to the state capitol while the final group went to the central UT library where several sculptures from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York are on display. Once the museum opened, all teams returned to the Blanton for a variety of lessons integrating math and art. After an hour and a half in the museum galleries, all of the groups reunited for presentations. Each middle school group presented what activities they participated in and what concepts they learned to everyone as a whole. Once presentations were completed, the middle school students returned to McKinney Falls State Park to continue their field experience.

McKinney Falls Field Experience:

For the PBI Field Experience at McKinney Falls State Park, 16 UTeach PBI Teams (consisting of a total of 32 PBI student teachers) engaged 8th grade students in problem-based field investigations. Half of the UTeach PBI teams taught in the morning, and the other half taught in the afternoon. Investigation topics included assessing water quality (biomonitoring and chemical testing), measuring streamflow, calculating potential hydro power production, using algebra to predict how a boat will move across a flowing stream, interpreting geologic history, making topographic maps, identifying plants and patterns of succession, designing experiments, and evaluating the purposes of a state park. After the investigations, the students presented what they learned, including a description of their methodology and articulation of their findings and conclusions.

Each UTeach PBI team was video taped and observed by a couple of their colleagues and either the PBI Professor, an UTeach Master Teacher, a PBI Teaching Assistant, an UTeach apprentice teachers (who had PBI last semester), or an 8th grade math or science teacher. The observers provided the UTeach PBI Teams with extensive feedback. The UTeach PBI Teams will utilize this feedback, along with their analysis of student artifacts and review of the videotapes, to revise their lesson plans and reflect on the field teaching experience.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dr. Ann Rivet Talks About Project Based Instruction at UT

Dr. Ann Rivet, an Associate Professor from Teachers College, Columbia University spoke today as an invited researcher at the UTeach PBI Lecture Series coordinated by Drs. Jill Marshall and Tony Petrosino. Dr. Rivet's presentation was titled "“Project-Based Science: Supporting Student Learning and Fostering Urban School Reform”. 

A detailed description of Dr. Rivet's background follows: 

Ann Rivet, Associate Professor of Science Education, Teachers College Columbia University
Dr. Ann Rivet is an Assistant Professor of Science Education in the Mathematics, Science and Technology Department at Teachers College Columbia University. The focus of her work is on examining factors that influence change in the teaching and learning of science within urban school systems, and more specifically, in what ways do the respective roles of curriculum materials and professional development provide support to teachers and school organizations in adapting and enacting change in their science programs, particularly in the context of large scale reforms. Dr. Rivet has extensive experience with the development and evaluation of project-based science learning environments.  She has participated in several design projects with colleagues from Northwestern University and the University of Michigan, addressing issues of both instructional design and assessment of student learning within inquiry-oriented curriculum contexts. Her prior research looked specifically at the role of contextualizing features of project-based science programs at the middles school level, and how the design of those aspects of the curriculum support the activation of students’ prior knowledge for learning and lead to more robust understandings of the science content.  Dr. Rivet also serves as the Earth Science content-area specialist in the Science Education Program at Teachers College with expertise in student understanding and learning within the multi-disciplinary context of the Earth Sciences, specifically in the areas of students’ prior conceptions of earth science phenomena, interpretation and use of representations, and students’ development of understanding of the Earth from a dynamic systems perspective. Her work has been published in several leading journals including the Journal of Research in Science Teaching and the American Educational Research Journal, and she has presented her work at multiple national conferences, including the American Educational Research Association and the International Conference of the Learning Sciences.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday November 11- Field Based Teaching

Today, students from both sections of PBI were out at Bedichek Middle School enacting lessons they created. Students conducted lessons in anticipation of their field experience with students either at McKinney State Falls or at the Blanton Museum. Today was an incredible busy day with students teaching, TA's and Master teachers observing, and teachers in the classrooms helping to evaluate the work of our pre-service teachers. A very busy day to be sure--

Below is a reflection activity students fill out after their experience: 


Assignment for Reflections on Teaching experience at McKinney Falls SP or the Blanton Museum of Art

Project-based Instruction                                                                                    Fall 2009

 

1) Now that you have had the opportunity to guide your field investigation, please re-write the investigation. 

 

2) For your reflection of the experience, please respond to the following, using evidence from your videotapes, observer notes, comments and collegial comments as well as the student artifacts (pre- and or post-tests, worksheets, field journals, presentation rubrics, etc.) that you collected during your lessons.  This is a model for the final portfolio.

 

a) Describe 2 things about your teaching that you think went well and provide evidence (see above) to demonstrate the successes. 

 

b) Describe 2 things that did not go well the FIRST TIME and provide evidence to demonstrate the lack of success.  Discuss what conversations you had with your observers and how their comments were incorporated into the changes you made for the second teaching.  Finally, describe what happened the 2nd time when you made these changes and provide evidence for the success (or lack of success) you encountered.

 

c) Describe 2 things that you would change if you could teach these lessons again and INCLUDE these changes in your revised plan submitted under #1 above.  Discuss what prompted your decision to make these changes, including conversations with or written suggestions from your observers.

 

d) Describe at least 2 specific lesson components that occurred on Thursday and Friday that prepared your students well or that they were able to utilize in the investigation on Saturday.

 

e)  Describe at least 2 aspects (changes/additions/deletions) of Thursday &/or Friday that would have better prepared your students for Saturday.

 

f)  If you had a follow up day with your students in the classroom what would you do?

 

g)  How could this “mini-project”, your lessons and field experience be used either as a launch or a significant piece of a bigger unit?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday November 9- Presentation on Anchored Instruction










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Course SyllabusSee PBI FALL 09  Project Development and Field Experience

Enacted Curriculum: Today, the students completed the problem solving process to Rescue at Boone's Meadow. After completing the problem solving process, the students made brief presentations on their solution. Dr. Petrosino followed this with a formal lecture on anchored instruction. The slides are included here in PDF form. 

Picture: Students from PBI presenting there solutions to Rescue at Boone's Meadow. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wednesday November 4- Introduction to Anchored Instruction

Syllabus: Assessment in PBI STEM Krajcik Chapter 7

Enacted Curriculum: Today, Dr. Petrosino introduced the class to anchored instructionAnchored instruction lies within the social constructivist paradigm since small groups work together to understand and solve realistic problems. Anchored instruction is most closely related to the goal-based scenario model. While anchored instruction may also resemble problem-based learning (PBL), it is less open-ended. Most anchored modules are designed for young learners, and thus embed all of the necessary data to solve the problem within the modules themselves. Substantial independent research and data collection are not required in anchored modules, but are required in PBL. 

Today, the class viewed the episode "Rescue at Boone's Meadow" and attempted to solve the challenges at the end of the episode. Dr. Petrosino broke the class into groups of 4. Three members did the problem solving and one member observed the problem solving process. 

Quick Summary of Jasper: The Jasper series is based on the assumption that thinking is enhanced by access to powerful concepts and not simply through access to a general set of thinking skills. Therefore, Jasper is designed to teach thinking in contexts that are rich in content as well as in the need for general strategies.

Jasper's close cousins are case-based learning, problem-based learning, and project-base learning. More specifically, Jasper series represents an example of problem-based learning that has been modified to make it more useable in K-12 settings. These modifications include the use of a visual story format to present problems, plus the use of "embedded data" and "embedded teaching" to seed the environment with ideas relevant to problem solving. Jasper is also designed to set the stage for subsequent project-based learning. Its overall goal is to help students transform "mere facts" into "powerful conceptual tools."

Picture: Students solve Rescue to Boone's Meadow in PBI. 

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Oct 16 - PBI FALL 09 Project Development and Field Experience

Course Syllabus: PBI FALL 09 Project Development and Field Experience

Enacted Curriculum: Lesson planning. Students were given the class time to work with TAs and master teachers. Roberto Castenada was a guest master teacher with Math experience. Class began by returning revised concept maps for their Projects. They were also given hard copies of a lesson planning template. Students then began identifying specific lessons (benchmark and investigations) that would be needed during the development of their project based unit. Students made excellent progress and seemed to realize how “lessons” fit into a project as scaffolding and that they would not necessarily create all of the lessons that would be needed to implement their projects. Students were instructed to consider these lessons as potential stand alone lessons that they will be able to use during apprentice teaching and beyond.

Next students were put into their Field teams. They then worked on their three-day planner for the field experience (two days in the classroom followed by one day in the field). Students turned in what they had thus far for the three-day planner. These will be evaluated and returned to students for editing and revisions to submit to classroom teachers at the end of next week.


Picture: Using a GPS system in the field. This particular system can then hook up via the Internet to GoogleMaps and tell you exactly where you are and where you went.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday October 14 - MID TERM EXAM

Course Syllabus: MID TERM EXAM (take home)

Enacted Curriculum: Cooperative Learning and Problem Based Scenarios: Student are introduced to the differences between problem based scenarios and project based units. The idea that problem based scenarios can be used as scaffolds within projects or as stand alone lessons for “outlier” standards.

Students are introduced to structures which can be used to make problem based scenario using groups. Each member of the group is given a specific color of pen with which to write thus allowing the teacher to monitor who is contributing to the solving of the problem. Also students are introduced to how to conduct a Know/Need to Know assessment as part of a problem based scenario.

The culminating discussion is about assessment during a problem based scenario as well as how to expand or elaborate a relatively straight forward problem based scenario into even more complex problem.


Picture: Use of the Blanton Museum on campus for some PBI units ideas.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday October 12 - Collaboration in PBI STEM

Course Syllabus: Collaboration in PBI STEM (Krajcik Chapter 5)

Enacted Curriculum: Master Teacher Denise Ekberg began class by explaining the math and science classroom schedules at Bedicheck Middle School. PBI students signed up for teaching slots to launch their mini-projects the week before the field investigation.

Then, Professor Petrosino lectured on cooperative learning and ideas for effective practice in PBI STEM classrooms. He emphasized the role of teacher as designer and discussed definitions and traits of cooperative learning, ways of structuring interdependence (common goal, joint rewards, divided resources, complimentary roles), ways to assess and ensure individual accountability, and the importance of providing opportunities for group processing. The information provided in the PowerPoint presentation is based upon the “Learning Together” model developed by Johnson, D., Johnson, R. & Holubec, E. (1988). Circles of Learning: Cooperation in the Classroom. Edina, MN: Interaction Book Company.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday October 9 - PBI FALL 09 Project Development and Field Experience

Course Syllabus: PBI FALL 09 Project Development and Field Experience

Enacted Syllabus: Professor Petrosino showed a video about a PBI field trip to the coast. The class discussed key components of PBI, the role of field experiences, challenges with field trips, and ways to potentially overcome those challenges. The video is professionally edited and includes comments by Dr. Petrosino, Dr. Joe Polman, and Dr. Gail Dickinson concerning field experiences in project based instruction.

After the video, Dr. Petrosino had 2 challenge questions. Question 1 asked "What are the key components of project based instruction?" and Question 2 asked "What challenges are there to incorporating field experiences in project based instruction?" We then broke the class up into pairs of 2 in order to discuss their responses.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday October 7 - Collaboration in PBI STEM

Course Syllabus: Collaboration in PBI STEM (Krajcik Chapter 5)

Enacted Curriculum: Planning investigations, what are the large ideas for your field experience?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Monday October 5 - Scientific Investigations and Their Development

Course Syllabus: Scientific Investigations and Their Development (Kjajcik Chapter 4)


Enacted Syllabus: Continue Concept maps of Projects an Intro to Benchmark/Investigation lessons: Students are issued a handout summarizing the benchmark/investigation cycle that they will use in planning their PBI unit.






Picture: Aligning measurement with topographic map readings- McKinney State Falls Park, TX