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.