Saturday, October 5, 2013

Blog Post #7

Authors: Kristie Bell, Kynyetta Barren, and Doug Jarvis

PBL Part One:

In the interview with Dr. Strange and guest Anthony Capps, they discuss project based learning. Anthony shares his experience about doing PBL with his third grade class. He states that the goal of PBL is for them to own their own learning. The goal of a good project is to have an authentic audience so they are motivated to do good work. Another quality is that the project must peak the student interests and be relevant to their lives so they get that real world experience. The project must also revolve around the common core standards and actually teach them content that the state requires them to know.

What we can learn from this conversation is that it is important to keep our students motivated and interested in their work. We have to think outside the box and be creative with PBL. As an educator, we also need to understand that PBL is not about what the students achieve, but what they are learning. PBL is about reaching out to the students and allowing them to enjoy learning. This type of learning is meant to make an impact on their future and teach them how to achieve goals in the workplace instead of being forgotten information once the class has ended.

PBL Part Two:

In PBL not everything is going to go as we plan and sometimes we have to emphasize if “Plan A,” should fail. However, in some cases the outcome could turn out to be even better than expected. For example, Anthony Capps had his students write a narrative script as if they were a kid in Afghanistan. This project turned out to be one of his favorite projects because the children delivered so much variety. The outcome was phenomenal because these students really explored their options and did research. Some of his students went as far as focusing on the food they eat and how they have to grow the crops. The only issue in the classroom was that one of the students was not allowed to participate in this project because his father had served in Afghanistan, and did not feel comfortable with his son learning about this particular subject. Mr. Capps resolved this right away by letting him do an alternate science project and it turned out great.

What we can learn from this conversation is that PBL is a lot of hard work, but it certainly pays off in the end. There are many hours of extra work that goes into this type of teaching method, but seeing your student’s high scores is the best reward an educator can receive. There will also be times when we have to accommodate student’s with alternate options like Mr. Capps had to do, but that is how PBL was intended to be used. Just imagine how many students lives we could change if they truly enjoyed what they were learning. PBL really should be implemented into every grade level and we could change the way of thinking one step at a time.


Icurio is strictly filtered and provides access to only safe websites for students to do research for their educational purposes. It also is an easy way to store and organize virtual files. iCurio is a personalized way of learning that accommodates each student’s individual needs. Students also have access to the content and tools they need to take charge of their own independent learning.

Discovery Ed

Anthony Capps states that Discovery Ed is a great visual aid resource because students can use videos to enrich their research experience. Students will be able to use visual aids to gain knowledge about their learning content. Discovery Ed brings experts into the classroom via video and allows students to obtain credible information for PBL.

Additional Thoughts About Lessons

By: Kristie Bell

Anthony Capps states that a lesson is four layers thick and we need to make sure we are very precise about this. The first layer should be about how the lesson fits in a year time frame and making sure you are covering all of the standards that are required by the state. The next focus is the unit size plan and making sure that the lesson is scaled properly. The third is called the week plan and you need to have goals to make sure you are getting everything done in that time period. You also have the daily lesson plan that focuses on how you deliver information to the students and it is very important. The daily plan focuses on making sure you have an attention hook for your students and keeping them engaged while you are delivering the content. Then you must have something afterwards to actually measure what they have learned in that day so you know where to pick up the next day. These are the four components to make one successful lesson plan.

Don’t Teach Tech Use It

By: Kynyetta Barren

In Dr. Strange and Anthony Capps’ video, Don’t Teach Tech Use It, Anthony talks about technology in his classroom. An important way to incorporate technology into the classroom is to use different tools. He stated to start with doing small reflection on iMovie one week and then have them create a movie the next week. By using technology such as iMovie, it gives the students the opportunity to learn how to create and share their projects with different students around the world. As students begin using technology, they become excited about the lessons being presented to them. Students learn more from being involved in using technology. Don’t expect greatness because we are all still learning new technology. Use It, Don’t Teach Tech!

What can be learned from the video “The Anthony Strange List of Tips for Teachers Part-1”

By: Douglas R Jarvis Jr.

In this video, Anthony Capps and Dr. John Strange engage in a conversation regarding insights and tips that can be beneficial to a young educator. First on their list was the idea that to be a solid teacher you must be a lifelong learner yourself. This is definitely true. New information is always being learned. What we may have thought to be the best way to do something today simply may not be true for tomorrow. Theories are proven wrong and new techniques replace old and ineffective ones. In order for us to be the best at what we do, we must be willing to learn and change with the times. Secondly, they discussed the fact that teaching can be hard so why not find a way to make it fun. This is a wonderful idea. Many times we become bogged down and begin to dread tasks because we lose the joy in it. So to avoid that feeling becoming part of our mindset as educators; we need to find new and exciting ways to present the material so that we are as excited to deliver it as our students are to learn it from us. Next, the importance of flexibility was discussed. We never know what unexpected challenges await us in life. Adapting to change and learning to be innovative and creative with your lesson plans can allow us to overcome life’s little curve balls and keep our classrooms on track. The fourth principle that was discussed is the importance of engaging our students. No one wants to do the same thing everyday. To really excite our students we need to find content and lesson plans that allow them to be creative in a way that allows them to demonstrate their understanding of the material we are presenting to them. Make it something that is a learning experience and also something they can be proud that they created. when students are given opportunities to show off their work, there is a sense of pride that drives them to put a little more into the project. Lastly, reflection was discussed. Listen to your students, take into consideration their opinions on the lessons you design. Learn from what they like and what they do not. By understanding what they believe works best for them, we can create more effective lessons that will be relevant and exciting for our students. By doing this, we can be better teachers.


  1. This applies to your personal part of this post.
    Good work. Now execute it!

  2. Kristie, I really liked how your group set up the post with the pictures. I think this post flows very well from one paragraph to another. As for your post, i have a question about the sentence, "Then you must have something afterwards to actually measure what they have learned in that day so you know where to pick up the next day." Could you elaborate more as to what the "something" is? Just as a reader, that word struck my curiosity. What must we have afterwards? Overall, great post.

    1. Hey Kayla, just wanted to start off saying thank you for the kind comment you left! I can definitely answer your question that you asked as well. In my classroom I would use a questionnaire at the end of the unit that way I could see if my students were actually retaining the information. Another, great method you could use in your class is questions like we discussed in blog post #6. I personally believe that "open" questions give great feedback and really allow educators to assess their students.