What can we learn about teaching and learning from these teachers?
Authors: Douglas Jarvis, Kristie Bell, and Kynyetta Barren
In the video Back To The Future, Mr. Brian Crosby tells us about how he gets his class of multicultural and at risk students to learn how to use project based learning. He starts off by telling us about his class and how most of his students do not know what city they live in. Crosby uses technology to gain the interest of his class. The students use laptops to connect to different students around the world. Mr. Crosby collaborated with a local university to create a balloon that would carry a camera and microphone into the different layers of the atmosphere. By doing this, students were able to see first hand the journey that the balloon made. The students were able to create the payload of the balloon and take a hands on approach to this project creating a highly motivating learning environment. They were each asked to write a story about the balloons journey from the perspective of the balloon. These stories were then posted to a class blog along with photos and videos to be shared with the world in a project called “High Hopes”. The students made stratocards with the high hopes that they had for their lives and this also allowed students around the world to post theirs as well. This project also tied into the science atmosphere with cultural and language learning. In this way, children around the world were able to share ideas and information which makes the world a smaller, more neighborly place. What we can learn from this is that teaching is not about giving students busy work and hoping that they will grasp the concepts from that work. Learning is more effective when the students are captivated by the material. We think that teaching is about making the students learn for themselves and from their peers around them. We also believe that by doing projects this allow students to be interactive with each other. By motivating students with exciting projects they will actively absorb information and retain it for life. Mr. Crosby also showed us the value of public sharing when he was able to use technology to allow a young girl with cancer to be part of his class and participate with her peers instead of being homeschooled. That is a beautiful gift and he should be applauded for not allowing that girl to be isolated.
Paul Anderson’s Blended Learning Cycle In this video, Mr. Anderson talks about his combination of blended learning and the learning cycle. Blended learning is a combination of online, mobile, and classroom learning. The Learning Cycle contains five key components: Engage, Explore, Explain, Expand,and Evaluate. He uses this system of learning to create his own unique learning style he names QIVERS`.Q: Question-Mr Anderson begins each unit with a driving question about a subject matter the students are unfamiliar with. I: Investigate- he asks the students to hypothesize what they believe the answer to that question is. V: Video- he gives the students video links with instructions and information so that they can explore the subject matter independently. E: Elaboration- he then explains the subject matter and provides his class with more detailed information. R: Review- in this stage, he reviews with the students one on one to ensure the student understands the information. S: Summary quiz- he gives a quiz to evaluate the students knowledge. What we can learn from Mr. Anderson is a successful way to teach our students. His method allows students to be engrossed in the learning process. He allows them to question
freely and learn why they are wrong or right. In this way, he is teaching science and how to be an independent learner at the same time.
Mark Church’s Making Thinking Visible video, he discusses how his students make their thinking visible. He explains an assignment where he records his student’s learning and follows their thought process. He has them create a headline summarizing the introduction to his unit in one sentence. He then teaches the unit and has them do this again so they can see how far their understanding has come. Through projects like this, we can learn how to get in touch with our students thoughts and how to document those thoughts. With this information we can begin to have a better understanding of how our students evaluate information. This allows us to be better teachers by allowing us to adjust our way of thinking to be more compatible with our students. By making thinking visible, we can give our students the ability to see their understanding grow. We can challenge them to be creative and learn to work with their peers. This method of education is positive because of the direct feedback the student gets when they see their mind has changed with the additional lessons. This encourages and produces a much more motivated learner.