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Showing posts from July, 2011

Project Based Learning First Steps

It's scary to take your first steps into PBL. What if it doesn't work? What if I don't know what to do next? The first steps often are the scariest; however, most of us who try it are sold by the success.

Preconceived Scare-Factors about PBL

In the past year, I've heard the following three preconceived notions about PBL:


I have heard people describe their PBL as having choice boards or menus for student choice; but in actuality, what I hear them describing is differentiated instruction (DI). Sure, DI is in PBL, but that does not make it PBL.

PBL Benefits

PBL is good for all learners. When PBL is done correctly, it engages the students in their learning. They are motivated by an authentic purpose that peeks their curiosity. Learning is differentiated through product, process, possibly content, choice, etc. Various learning styles are met, and student strengths are nourished. Teachers can work with small groups, and can meet individual needs.

PBL allows students to us…

Using Diigo for Student Portfolios

I had some great comments from my last post about student portfolios, Diigo, and blogs. This post is a continuation of that conversation.

Traditional Portfolios

When I think back to my beginning years in the classroom, I remember my student portfolios were in manilla file folders. Later, they became gorgeous construction paper books. On both accounts, they were linear, and you would view it from left to right, one page after another.
Currently, the two sites that stand out in my mind to collect student work in a linear manner are LiveBinders and Google Sites. Those are great options, and I'm sure there are a plethora I haven't even considered.

However, I am not always a linear thinker. I like having multiple options.

Diigo Portfolios

In Diigo, students could bookmark and collaborate regarding their resources, notes, etc. The teacher could view per assignment or per individual.

Here's a little video made in Screenr that shows my thinking:


Tips for Management in Diigo
If you hav…

Student Portfolios, Diigo and Blogs

I've had several people ask me about how to start blogs and portfolios with their students next year, and what's the best approach.

Purpose of Student Portfolio?

Portfolios are collections of student work/artifacts that represent the process and progress of their learning. Typically the stronger artifacts document reflection and feedback. Some of the artifacts in the portfolio are then selected to present to others, such as at a parent-teacher conference.

Collecting, reflecting, and selecting to share with others is what makes portfolios extremely valuable. I like the visual that Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano created to show the three steps of curating a digital portfolio.

What Could a Digital Portfolio Look Like?

I appreciate Implementing ePortfolios? Questions to Consider, and have used it to funnel my thinking for what the digital portfolio could look like.

I'm at a comfort level now where I don't limit students to certain tools. I allow them to use whatever they believe w…

Reflection of ISTE from a Newbie

This was my first time going to ISTE and Edubloggercon. So, what were my favorites and takeaways?

1. I found that Jackie Gerstein's session on theFlipped Classroom at Edubloggercon gave me incredible perspective. We were given snippets of information filled with examples, interspersed with discussion points as small groups and the whole group. Later in the day when I had a moment to ponder this, I realized the possibility of the Flipped Classroom was no longer something intangible to me that only districts with lots of money and high SES could do. It's something we can do despite the economy, having to close two schools, and all the other "Yeah, but..." excuses I could list here.

2. Blogging "N@ked" or Being Transparent in Our Relationships with Susan Davis, was another favorite from Edubloggercon. The discussion started with what it meant to be transparent by sharing celebrations as well as failures, because that's the reality of change and innovation,…