Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A World of Learning

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 Hello from sunny California! I am excited to share about the amazing journey our team experienced while in Napa, California for PBL World 2017.  It was a week of intense learning, deep reflection, purposeful work and team bonding.  The Bismarck crew included administrators, Library Media Specialists, an instructional coach and classroom teachers.  The following quotes are directly from the participants and I hope they inspire you to dig in and see a connection with Project Based Learning.

"PBL World...was a great experience!! I really appreciated the opportunity to attend the conference and loved both the project slice and the coaching workshops.  I learned the PBL process in a much more in depth manner as we really looked at the PBL teaching practices. This will help me personally as well as a resource in the school." --Gina Phillips, LMS at Century High School

"PBL World…..was a fantastic experience! I am truly thankful for the opportunity to attend the conference. The Slice was probably my favorite part as I was able to examine PBL from a student viewpoint. Alicia was a great presenter and really pushed me to look deeper and think more on the process. I also really enjoyed meeting and working with educators from all over the globe. It was fascinating to hear from other educators on their struggles or successes and their journey to it." --Jennifer Zacher, teacher at Simle Middle School

"PBL World was an amazing learning opportunity and I am so grateful that I was one of the team that was fortunate enough to be part of the PBL World experience.  Through the coaching workshop, I was able to delve deeper into the process of PBL as well as build greater understanding of the Gold Standard elements that are the heart of PBL.  I was able to return with multiple resources that will be utilized this year with BPS teachers.  Because of my PBL World experience, I am better able to meet the PBL needs of my building as well as support PBL at the district level." --Michelle Kuhn, LMS at Solheim Elementary School
"After attending PBL world, I now have a broader perspective on education and a renewed sense of energy regarding PBL. The tremendous effects it can have on students is inspiring. I met and networked with many principals, founders from High Tech High, and other educators who are continuing to challenge the traditional set-up of our schools. The concluding statement on the last day of learning was 'I once thought that PBL was something students could experience; I now understand I owe it to students to ensure they participate and learn through high-quality PBL.' "
--Meagan Sharp, Assistant Principal at Simle Middle School

"Before attending PBL World my understanding of PBL was limited. The time spent attending the PBL for Coaches gave me a rich understanding of the PBL process and how it can help support an engaging classroom environment that increases student achievement. After attending PBL World I feel better prepared to give the teachers I serve more tools to help them on their PBL journey."   --Nicole Szajkowski, Instructional Coach at Myhre Elementary School

 "Through the PBL Slice, I definitely gained some new insight into the PBL process through the eyes of a student. This workshop gave me some ideas and critical questions to ask of myself or other teachers when they are working through a project. I really loved the idea of building rubrics with the students and having their input in establishing 'At Standard' and 'Developing' expectations. We also read a wonderful article, 'How to Get High-Quality Student Work in PBL,' which I found was a wonderful resource for teachers to use during self-reflection of a project. Overall, I loved the experience of both the PBL Slice and the Coaching Workshops. I feel like I walked away with valuable resources that I will be able to apply and share with others!" --Rhiannon Roemmich, teacher at Wachter Middle School

Important Takeaways from Project Slice--Gina Solemsaas Instructional Coach at Legacy High School
  • Part of the PBL process is simmering in ambiguity.
  • It IS organized chaos with paced tasks; it is NOT a “free-for-all”
  • The importance of revisiting the Need To Knows! * Highlight of the Project Slice was when a community expert came in to address the NTKs that we did not have the knowledge to answer!!  MIND BLOWN!
  • Peer Feedback Practice - Small Group Gallery Walk:
  1. Low stakes
  2. Timely - early enough to make changes.
  3. Formative

  • Authentic Audience Presentations as formative.
  • An essential element is Reflection…. Including revisiting the Need to Knows at the end of the project to plan for areas of future learning.

"PBL World was a wonderful learning opportunity.  Project Slice gave me a chance to experience PBL from a learner’s perspective.  It was valuable to actually see the Essential Project Design Elements and success skills   embedded throughout the project. It also gave me more clarity and insight into the planning process involved in designing projects for my students. I appreciate the toolkit provided in the PBL Coaching Workshop.  This will be an excellent resource moving forward with PBL.  It was a great experience collaborating with other educators from across the country and hearing about their PBL journey.  The coaching workshop also gave me an opportunity to reflect on my PBL practices and ways to improve the quality of our projects.  I am excited to share the learning with my colleagues." --Renae Ely, teacher at Liberty Elementary School

As you can see each member of our PBL World 2017 team came away with new learning, useful resources and inspiration to support change within their buildings and our community.

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