Wednesday, April 5, 2017

PBI UTeach Class Summaries- Spring 2017


Spring 2017- Petrosino EDC 365E Class Summaries

Class #3-01/24/2017
·       Class began with Mr. Fitzpatrick and Ms. Ekberg providing students with their field placements. Email Mr. Fitzpatrick and Ms. Ekberg with any issues regarding class conflicts or parking.
·       Sneha then reviewed how to navigate the Canvas website for the course and where to find materials
·       We then rearranged ourselves into a discussion circle to discuss the Petrosino (2004) article which discusses a case study of an experienced teacher implementing a project-based instruction and assessment in astronomy with a university-affiliated high school classroom. The students in this classroom, who were amateur astronomers, were actually contributing to scientific research
o   Some important questions/points from the discussion:
§  How do we design curriculum to help facilitate experiences in which students actually participate as scientists (i.e. “being scientists)?
·       Perhaps some fields, like astronomy, may have some spaces which lend itself more easily to amateur contributions than others
§  How do instruments/tools/resources influence the feasibility of implementing and facilitating authentic scientific experiences?
§  Grades does not equal assessment à while the teacher in this case study didn’t necessarily seem to “care” about grades or a grading scheme, it did not necessarily mean he didn’t care about assessments. Assessment transcends grades
·       Should “effort” be counted toward grades?
o   Science doesn’t always “work”
o   Depends on the type of effort?
o   Skills vs. results?
§  Working towards getting results vs. practicing skills
o   In class vs. out of class?
o   Sort of a grey/nebulous area
o   Effort can be embedded within some of the requisite activities in themselves
o   How does one quantify effort? Is it binary?
§  Takeaway: This was an expert teacher who had a status in his school. It was a nice snapshot of the time (late 1990s) which demonstrate the elements of PBI in a practical setting. It was a real school, with real students (from multiple grade levels), that were working on projects that were authentic and relevant to students. The setting resembled lab groups (not lab “class”) that featured formal and informal relationships, which facilitated the interpersonal characteristics (relationship building, etc.) that are important to an optimal learning environment.

·       Class #3-01/26/2017
o   We began with a debriefing of the first planning meeting at the school site yesterday.
§  School seems to have a large population of high SES
§  Spectrum of mentor teacher familiarity with PBI, some newer to it, and others more familiar with it
§  Next steps
·       Observations of class
·       Unpack TEKS
·       When teaching the PBI unit, the unit will unfold over at least 2-3 days
§  Some students are feeling unsure as to what exactly they need to do?
§  Students then debriefed within their own “teaching/field experience” teams.
·       Group 1: Andrew, John
·       Group 2: Clara, Steve, Kyle
·       Group 3: Emily, Yubin
·       Group 4: Abdul, Mica, Amy
·       Group 5: Mirna
·       Group 6: Miranda
o   We then watched an Edutopia video about an alternative high school here in Austin, Texas, Manor New Tech High School, an entirely project-based instruction school.
o   And another video: An Introduction to Project-Based Learning
o   Thoughts on the videos
§  How are curriculum and projects different, or the same?
§  The traditional idea of lesson planning stems from a modernist perspective (notably championed by Ralph Tyler in the 1930s)
·       It’s somewhat reductionist in that views instruction as a composite of its components
§  Postmodern perspective: the classroom is more organic, more spontaneous, where it’s collective dynamic that is ever evolving
·       When a project begins, the project will evolve from its originally planned components—it is dynamic, and reactionary
·       It is not necessarily controllable, but is preparable
·       Every successful project requires cycles of iterations; it is retrospective and reflectives

Class #4-01/31/2017
·       We began class with small group 3-2-1 discussions of the Marshall, Petrosino & Martin (2010) article, “Preservice Teachers’ Conceptions and Enactments of Project-Based Instruction.” Small groups discussed their thoughts on the following questions:
o   What 3 things did you learn from the article?
o   What 2 things would you like to know more about?
o   What 1 thing do you wish the article discusses that it didn’t?
·       Students wrote the main points of their discussion on large post-it papers to share with the class.
o   Some lingering questions from the small group discussions (The 1 thing):
§  What is the distinction about the difference between PBI and Inquiry-based lessons?
§  What varying degrees of PBI implementation do you get from varying degrees of results/understanding?
§  What counts as “authentic” implementation of PBI?
·       How does one reconcile the time investment designing a PBI unit with the real time demands as a teacher?
o   Petrosino: A teacher is not necessarily committed to only one type of a pedagogy in their practice. A teacher should have and employ a “back of tricks,” wherein they use several modes of pedagogy
Class #5-02/02/2017
·       Sneha led class today
·       We began class by first jigsawing into mixed groups of Science/Math readings to share with each other the salient points from the specific readings
·       Working in the same small groups, we then explored the following question:
o   What does good teaching and bad teaching look like according to each of these authors?
§  Groups identified the authors’:
·       implicit or explicit assumptions that positioned their paper
·       the main assertions
·       Summary of notions of what good and bad teaching looks like according to each author.
·       We had a large group discussion on these authors’ perspectives of what good and bad teaching looks like and the importance of looking at our own values and presumptions which drive our own notions of this question.
·       For the rest of class, students worked in their field experience teaching teams to work on brainstorming and planning for their PBI units.
·       We ended with students reflecting on the following two exit-ticket questions:
o   What was something that stuck out to you from the readings or something you contended with from it? Why?
o   Based on the readings, can PBI be a pedagogy for equity? Why or why not?


Class #6 – 02/07/2017
·       Reading Set 2
o   Whole group discussion on Wiggins and McTighe on backwards design and Baron article.
·       (Sneha out to collect data for research project)




Class #7 – 02/09/2017
·       Denise and Daniel (Master Teachers) led class today
·       We worked on unpacking the TEKS standards.
o   Students worked in their teaching teams to develop comprehensive concept maps (using the whiteboards and post-its) to unpack the content standards they were to address in their PBI lessons/units.
o   These concept maps could help identify a driving question.

Class #8 – 02/14/2017
·       We began class by discussing in small groups the readings from Reading Set 2, listed below. Small groups discussed two major take-aways from each reading. Under each reading are some common themes emergent in the class’ discussion:
o   Luft
§  Rubrics for assignments are helpful for teachers, students, and administrators; they force prioritization
§  Holistic vs. analytical rubrics pros/cons:
·       Holistic rubrics are good for open-ended projects while analytical allows for specific assessments on strengths/weaknesses
§  Four steps to creating a rubric: 1. Know learning goals. 2. Determine Structure 3. Levels of Performance 4. Sharing with students
o   Kitchen
§  Performance tasks allow for higher-order thinking
§  Facilitating a level of cohesion between teammates and with the teacher are essential.
o   Walker
§  Skill vs. creativity
§  It is important to create real-life problems with opportunities for self-correcting
o   IDEA Bank
§  Open ended vs. structured performance-based assessments: both have purposes and uses
·       Structured assessments are good for techniques
·       Open-ended assessments allow for synthesis/application
o   Doane
§  Students should be working on problem areas rather than making good grades
§  Learning goals should be oriented toward student improvement, higher order thinking, and problem-solving
o   Miscellaneous thoughts/questions:
§  As an instructor how do you encourage students to not just check checkboxes on a rubric and promote creativity? (i.e. help students avoid falling into formulaic use of the rubric)
·       Students signed-up to leading future reading discussions.


Class #9: 02/16/2017
·       Today, Daniel Fitzpatrick and Denise Ekberg led class today. They addressed the following aspects of the field component of the class:
o   What to look for during classroom observations
o   How to plan a good formative assessment
§  Two-tiered items
§  Concept maps/graphic organizers
§  Surveys
o   Fitz and Denise showed some examples of interesting and detailed Concept Maps to unpack the TEKS
o   Multi-day Sketch
·       Students worked in their teaching teams to discuss and brainstorm for their multi-day sketch, consulting with the Master Teachers

Class #10: 02/21/2017
·       We started class with an activity:
o   Erathosthenes circumference of the earth problem
o   Groups of 3: One member serves as an observer, while the other two group members attempted to solve the problem
o   Discussion on activity:
§  What the observers observed; how participants felt
§  Reflection question: how would you grade the participants’ performance on this task?
·       Effort? Content knowledge?
·       Rubrics allow to capture multiple aspects of a learning task
§  Students then worked in groups to develop a rubric for the Erathosthenes circumference of the earth  problem
·       Due next week
Class #11- 02/23/2017
·       Today, Daniel Fitzpatrick led class to help coach students in developing their multi-day PBI units.
o   Students began by sharing some of their observations from their field Observation A
o   Multi-day sketch:
§  Daniel explained how to understand and complete the AHS lesson template
§  Most important part: be specific; list the tasks and have the corresponding resources or documents created for it, ready to be shared.

Class #12- 02/28/2017
·       Today Steve and Adul led class discussion on Reading Set #4
o   They began by asking some questions regarding the class’ own notions of formative assessments:
§  What does formative assessment mean to you?
·       Class ideas:
o   Quick
o   Informative
o   Low-stress
o   Continuous
o   Flexible
o   Pre/post assessment
o   Checkpoints
§  How have you implemented formative assessment in the past?
·       Some example: interviews; concept maps; 2-tiered systems
§  What are some difficulties you have with implementing formative assessments?
·       If data from the formative assessment isn’t used to inform instruction, then it’s useless
o   How does one know how to quickly interpret the results from a formative assessment?
o   How do you fix in real-time?
§  How would you incorporate the ability for students to assess themselves?
o   Abdul and Steve then gave us a quick summary of the readings
§  Wiggins: “assessments are a moral matter…”
·       Why is it a moral matter?
·       How do you stay true to the moral compulsion of assessing and using assessment constructively while still trying to negotiate the demands of being a classroom teacher? For example, how do you allow room and time for revisiting and revising when the curriculum is so fast-paced.
o   They then led the class in a group activity: working in pairs/group of three, each group were asked to participate in a different type of formative assessment on the water cycle. While one group took a justified multiple-choice question, another completed a T-chart, while another did an exit slip; while another group engaged in dialogue
§  Following this activity, we had a whole-group discussion about what the benefits and disadvantages of using  each of these strategies as well as when to use them.
o   Closing activity: Recall the formative assessment strategies students used during their field experience and how they might revise it based on the principles from the readings and the discussions in class. Was it a useful and what would you improve upon?

Class #13: 03/01/2017
·       Students worked on reviewing each other’s units and giving feedback on them

Class #14: 03/07/2017
·       Today Mica and Yubin led class discussion on Reading Set 5 which explored what inquiry means
o   They began by having small groups define in their own words what they understood of the four levels of inquiry
§  Summary of discussions on this:
·       Level 1: Confirmation (question, procedure, and answers provided)
·       Level 2: Procedural/Structured (Q & P)
·       Level 3: Guided (Q)
·       Level 4: Open (Q, P, A not provided)
·       Levels 1 & 2: Teacher driven; Levels 3 & 4: Student driven

o   Then students worked in their groups to analyze whether their own field-experience PBI lessons are inquiry-based units.
§  Discussion points:
·       What happens/how should a teacher intervene if students keep attempting but not making much progress toward the learning goal or acquiring the content concept?
o   Scaffolding should be used to build up to more independent levels of inquiry
·       Is level 4 of inquiry always the best?
o   The levels of inquiry do not equal the level of quality of teaching/instruction
o   Level 4 is not always the best and there is a factor of evaluating “when” a certain level of inquiry would be most appropriate.

Class 3/9/2017
  • Today, the student-teacher teams practiced a portion of their lessons in front of each other and their instructors to get some feedback to tweak their lessons before implementing their units in the classroom the week after spring break

SPRING BREAK (3/13/2017 – 3/17/2017)

Field Experience-PBI Unit Teaching (3/20/2017-3/24/2017; 3/27/2017-3/29/2017)
  • Monday March 20, 2017
    • Chemistry- Clara Dawson; Kyle Albernaz, Steven Tijerna (9:00am-10:30am)
      • Students use the concept of balancing equations to create Rube-Goldberg machines
    • Biology- Yubin Goh, Emily Smith (11:05am – 12:40pm)
      • Students used various water quality testing kits to determine the health of an ecosystem and its affects on the biodiversity of an ecosystem
      • Unit had a field-trip component that occurred on Wednesday March 22nd, 2017
    • Algebra 1- John Langdon, Andrew Stepek (11:05am – 12: 40pm)
      • Students learn how to derive a quadratic formula and use it to determine the flow rates of various water bodies.
      • Unit had a field-trip component that occurred on Wednesday March 22nd, 2017

  • Tuesday March 21, 2017
    • Algebra 2- Amy Gross, Abdul Bora, Mica Kohl (9:00am -10:30am)
      • Students learn about log functions and apply them to buying a car and calculating the monthly payments of various financing plans for purchasing a car
    • Biology- Miranda Grabowski (11:05am – 12:40pm)
      • Students used various water quality testing kits to determine the health of an ecosystem and its affects on the biodiversity of an ecosystem
      • Unit had a field-trip component that occurred on Wednesday March 22nd, 2017
    • Biology- Mirna Gonazalez (3:00pm – 4:30pm)
      • Students used various water quality testing kits to determine the health of an ecosystem and its affects on the biodiversity of an ecosystem
  • Wednesday March 22, 2017
    • Chemistry- Clara Dawson; Kyle Albernaz, Steven Tijerna (9:00am-10:30am)
      • Students use the concept of balancing equations to create Rube-Goldberg machines
    • Many of the teaching teams had a field trip experience incorporated into their units, and around which their units were centered. The field trip was interdisciplinary in nature and took students to the following sites to conduct various tests as relevant to the PBI units that incorporated it.  The field trip took students to the following sites: Pace Bend, Mansfield Dam, Inks Lake. The following teaching teams had incorporated into their units this field trip component:
·       Biology- Yubin Goh, Emily Smith (11:05am – 12:40pm)
·       Students used various water quality testing kits to determine the health of an ecosystem and its affects on the biodiversity of an ecosystem
·       Unit had a field-trip component that occurred on Wednesday March 22nd, 2017
·       Algebra 1- John Langdon, Andrew Stepek (11:05am – 12: 40pm)
·       Students learn how to derive a quadratic formula and use it to determine the flow rates of various water bodies.
·       Unit had a field-trip component that occurred on Wednesday March 22nd, 2017
·       Biology- Miranda Grabowski (11:05am – 12:40pm)
·       Students used various water quality testing kits to determine the health of an ecosystem and its affects on the biodiversity of an ecosystem
·       Unit had a field-trip component that occurred on Wednesday March 22nd, 2017
·       Biology- Mirna Gonazalez (3:00pm – 4:30pm)
·       Students used various water quality testing kits to determine the health of an ecosystem and its affects on the biodiversity of an ecosystem
·       Thursday March 23, 2017
·       Algebra 2- Amy Gross, Abdul Bora, Mica Kohl (9:00am -10:30am)
·       Students learn about log functions and apply them to buying a car and calculating the monthly payments of various financing plans for purchasing a car
·       Biology- Miranda Grabowski (11:05am – 12:40pm)
·       Students used various water quality testing kits to determine the health of an ecosystem and its affects on the biodiversity of an ecosystem
·       Friday March 24, 2017
·       Algebra 2- Amy Gross, Abdul Bora, Mica Kohl (9:00am -10:30am)
·       Students learn about log functions and apply them to buying a car and calculating the monthly payments of various financing plans for purchasing a car
·       Biology- Miranda Grabowski (11:05am – 12:40pm)
·       Students used various water quality testing kits to determine the health of an ecosystem and its affects on the biodiversity of an ecosystem
·       Biology- Mirna Gonazalez (3:00pm – 4:30pm)
·       Students used various water quality testing kits to determine the health of an ecosystem and its affects on the biodiversity of an ecosystem
·       Monday March 27, 2017
·       Chemistry- Clara Dawson; Kyle Albernaz, Steven Tijerna (9:00am-10:30am)
·       Students use the concept of balancing equations to create Rube-Goldberg machines
·       Biology- Yubin Goh, Emily Smith (11:05am – 12:40pm)
·       Students used various water quality testing kits to determine the health of an ecosystem and its affects on the biodiversity of an ecosystem
·       Unit had a field-trip component that occurred on Wednesday March 22nd, 2017
·       Algebra 1- John Langdon, Andrew Stepek (11:05am – 12: 40pm)
·       Students learn how to derive a quadratic formula and use it to determine the flow rates of various water bodies.
·       Unit had a field-trip component that occurred on Wednesday March 22nd, 2017
·       Tuesday March 28, 2017
·       *Field Experience partner high school (Austin High School) had their English End of Course Examinations occurring this day so no PBI teaching teams were teaching on this day*
·       Wednesday March 29, 2017
·       Biology- Yubin Goh, Emily Smith (11:05am – 12:40pm)
·       Students used various water quality testing kits to determine the health of an ecosystem and its affects on the biodiversity of an ecosystem
·       Unit had a field-trip component that occurred on Wednesday March 22nd, 2017
·       Algebra 1- John Langdon, Andrew Stepek (11:05am – 12: 40pm)
·       Students learn how to derive a quadratic formula and use it to determine the flow rates of various water bodies.
·       Unit had a field-trip component that occurred on Wednesday March 22nd, 2017

Class 3/30/2017
  • Today, Sneha led class discussion as Dr. Petrosino was out.
  • We began class by debriefing the field experience from an overall perspective. Our conversation focused a lot on the struggle to negotiate the realities of the classroom and teaching with what is hoped for and expected. We also discussed some tips and strategies as to how to better deal with such struggles.
  • We then discussed Reading Set 6 which examined how activity can be turned into inquiry. The following questions guided our discussion:
    • Why inquiry (i.e. why is teaching through inquiry important or a best practice?)
    • How do the inquiry frameworks proposed by Bell et al. (2005) who proposed four levels of inquiry, and Volkmann et al. (2003), who proposed an inquiry analysis tool, compare with each other? What are the benefits and omissions of both?
    • Students then took some time to evaluate either their own PBI units that they just taught or the other examples from their readings, using the “Inquiry Analysis Tool” proposed by Voklmann et al. (2003).