Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Class 4: 09/06/11-Legacy Cycles/Klein & Harris

The discussion in our PBI class today opened up with this question, “As Project-Based Instruction revolves around the central idea of creating and implementing strong, solid Legacy Cycle projects, a firm understanding of what this is essential.” Below is a general schematic of a Legacy Cycle:
As defined by a student in the class, a Legacy Cycle is a type of problem-based learning that starts with a challenge being posed to the students. It goes through a cycle of generating ideas and gathering multiple perspectives on those ideas and assessing the various sources of information before going on to a process of researching and revising. Finally, when the students feel ready to "test their mettle", there is some form of assessment that evaluated their progress in their research. When their results are deemed satisfactory by their supervisors and peers, the cycle draws o a close with the final step of presenting their findings to the public in some way. Finally, if their findings prompt another challenge or prove unsatisfactory, the cycle starts again from the top.

So how is this different from a 5E? A 5E lesson plan is the template Uteach students used from Step 1 of the program until this class. The 5 E's in order are Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate - a very rigid and effective way to plan a lesson.

Of course, there are similarities between these teaching formats. Both include types of formative assessment and require the students to provide artifacts of their learning, both important tools that let the teacher know how the students are progressing. Both are templates, meaning that we can tweak the little things - they're backbones structures for lessons, there to provide a type of structure to the way we teach. 

But there are some noteworthy differences between 5E's and Legacy Cycles. In a way, the structure of Legacy Cycles is less strict, giving the students more free reign than in the case of a 5E lesson plan. In a Legacy Cycle, there is more room for multiple answers from the students. It also includes a revision step, in which the students may change the way they approach the problem if they find that they are stuck. The 5E's exploration is laid out for the students, but it's not as guided in Legacy Cycles. The 5E format does not have to start with a challenge, though it can. All in all, a Legacy Cycle encourages more independent thought; it's more open-ended. It's a more mature version of a 5E lesson plan.

The most vital part we as teachers need to get right in a Legacy Cycle is the initial challenge. A good challenge could fuel effective student work for the duration of the project. A sub-par challenge, however, could lead to massive confusion and a failed opportunity for productive learning.

This means that it is vital to know the qualities of what makes good challenge. Some ideas the class came up with were as follows.

A good challenge:

  • provides more than one way to arrive at the/an answer. 
  • provides foundation something that the students can build on for multiple or future challenges (scaffolding). 
  • is Interesting to all members involved (students, teacher, community, etc...) 
  • takes into account what the students already know, and relates to the students' lives and prior knowledge. 
  • helps build students' confidence. 
  • takes time, makes the students think. It teaches them to think.
  • gives the student the chance to self-assess through reflection. 

With these ideas in mind, the class split off into our prospective teaching groups and researched the Legacy Cycles on Dr. Petrosino's website from students in the past to try to come up with a tentative lesson idea for this semester's teaching field experience. Our results can be seen in the below presentation that we collaborated on in class through google presentations.
Each day in PBI a different student takes responsibility for blogging about what goes on in class.  Today’s blog is brought to you by Diana.

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