"How can I make a difference?"

Yesterday our team held a "meeting of the minds" using Elluminate to attempt to identify the guiding question for our PBL unit. Following the first meeting a few weeks ago, the team assembled a very impressive list of possible questions and topics surrounding the theme sustainability. Topics included students' roles in environmentalism, comparing/contrasting carbon footprints to those in other schools, connecting with schools in other countries to compare our impacts on the environment, research around energy consumption, video/documentary creation, trash or treasure?, and so much more! This made our role of identifying a burning question to drive our PBL unit quite the tricky business.
How do we design a unit that meets the needs of a K-12 student audience? How do we guide their thinking without stifling the inquiry process? Don't we want students asking the big questions?
After much discussion, we decided that we'll begin by identifying this driving question: How can I make a difference? Broad? Yes. But, we're going to use student voices to help us refine our goals for the unit. Each teacher will go back to her students and hold a brainstorming session, asking them to provide input about what this question means to them. By doing so, we believe students themselves will be responsible for shaping the PBL unit, to make it as passion-driven and powerful for students as it can be.
Teachers will be commenting on this post to share the results of their student brainstorming sessions, and we'll begin to see our project come to life!


The planning begins!

Collaboratively planning a project is no easy task for a group of educators... it's even more of an adventure when the team members are located in different parts of the world! Alrighty, we admit, we could find one another simply by crossing the Pennsylvania/Maryland border, but that is a time-intensive task requiring all sorts of carpooling and fuel and calendars and free time.

What's a team to do? Turn to Google docs, of course.

After introducing ourselves in the PLP Hub, we got the ball rolling with planning after our last group webinar. The GDoc has been essential in sharing our contact information, important links, and beginning the brainstorming process. Today, the GFS team within our group met to brainstorm ideas about our PBL project.

Our team has now embarked on two initial steps of the planning process: 1) select and research a topic 2) identify concepts/brainstorm topic, gain ownership through questioning. The GFS team started an amazing list of details related to the topic: sustainability.

I'd love to explore the topic in-depth... how about we create a concept map to help organize our thoughts? Shall we use Mindmeister? Bubbl.us? Any other suggestions?


Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to kick off our blog by saying I'm excited to work with you all and get started. Lyn, I read you Principal's Post blog today and really enjoying your comments. I especially liked your most recent one about interviewing. You have a great way of saying things that makes sense and is entertaining.

Anyway, hope everyone is doing great and we can all chat soon!