A Lasting Impact
In my last post, "How do you know what you are teaching is important?", I mentioned my goal was to start reading a new book that was on my radar. I'm in the process of reading the book, "Hacking Project Based Learning", by Ross Cooper and Erin Murphy. A very practical and fabulous book for anyone in education. It shares really sound ideas towards best instructional practices for any educator. While reading it, Rob Dickson (@showmerob) asked me about my experiences growing up and inter-disciplinary projects that I remember doing in school that made a lasting impression on me today. I struggled to think of many that truly would be considered Project Based Learning (PBL) as it lacked the connection to the real world.
As we look at our curriculum, the learning activities we design, the expectations of our district and school leaders, educators need to be very focused on how they will tie it all together. Look deeply in your day-to-day with students and take a birds-eye view overall with the year you have them. What are you doing that will truly make a lasting impact on them and the future? This is where Project
Based Learning comes in to connect content with deeper learning opportunities.
Project Based Learning- the Why
As Cooper and Murphy explain PBL in their book, I like two of the key goals they want to uncover:
In education we know that time is limited, stakes are high for testing and adhering to district initiatives. The book gives ways to tie this all in, but more importantly expresses that we don't have time NOT to do PBL. We can cover the same content through deeper and more lasting learning activities that will make students carry over these skills in life. Lectures, worksheets, and scripted activities may provide the content, but they are missing that deeper learning and lack connections to the real world.
Crossing the Starting Line
In all areas of my life, whether a personal goal or professional goal, I find crossing the starting line is way harder for me than crossing the finish line. My brain circles with ideas constantly, but putting those ideas in action is my struggle.
In December 2016, I ran across a cover of a magazine that caught my eye. The Time magazine story was one of a series called "Finding Home", that followed the lives of four babies born to refugees from Syria. This story had a lasting effect on me as a mother of young kids, I connected with the mothers uncertain of their child's future along with the number of refugee families in our district that are coming from similar or worse conditions, but with the same hopes and dreams my own kids may have.
My first thought was, how could I help? My second thought, how could I get others to help. My third thought, how would I start? That is where it ended. I would see news coverage and more magazine covers as the months went by, and I kept wanting to do something, but it needed to be more than just me. I knew somewhere in the answer lies the students in our classrooms. Through Project Based Learning the students could learn how they could be part of the bigger world and helping to take part in solutions. I knew that I could not press on them my one specific interest based on the Syrian refugee crisis. It had to allow some choice on their part and passions. Then via Twitter I ran across the Global Goals Project.
Global Goals Project
I stumbled on the Global Goals Project via a tweet in February 2017 and knew instantly that I had hit just what I was looking for.
Global Goals + PBL + Curriculum Objectives = Powerful Learning Opportunities.
The Global Goals Project was developed by global leaders to achieve three major goals by 2030.
Once I discovered the Global Goals, I still did nothing with them as the day-to-day priorities kept pushing them to the back burner. As a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, I jumped on to a monthly online call one day in early March. To my surprise, the two guest speakers pulled up slides and started sharing their work with the Global Goals. I was inspired as Amy Rosentein (@SkypeAmy) and Jennifer Williams (@JennyWilliamsEDU) shared the work they were doing with students to reach the Global Goals with other educators.
After that online call, I connected with Rebecca Chambers (@rachambers04), an instructional technology coach in our district, to start working towards crossing the starting line and getting a project going at her school. I wanted to then take our ideas and push out resources to propel other educators across our district and hopefully beyond to move forward.
I love, love, LOVE this post by Adam Welcome. When I can't seem to get past the starting line, reading "Just Get Started" puts it back into perspective. I always want to plan it out, make it perfect before I start or push it to others, get out all the possible "what ifs". My favorite line from him always propels me to push past it, "Stop talking. Stop planning. Start doing. and Don't. Give. Up."
Want to get started with Project Based Learning, have a project in mind you always wanted to do, but never crossed the finish line? Have a passion or interest you want to bring into your classroom? Want to join me in getting others to help tackle the Global Goals? Let's do it. Let's get started.
To help the teachers in my district, I created a Global Goals Project Starter Kit. The Global Goals website is an ocean of resources. The starter kit I created gives more of a step-by-step to get started and a variety of levels of depth to go through depending on comfort and time. Any level they cross will make an impact on student learning and on reaching the Global Goals as long as they get through Level 1. It ends at the highest level by connecting via the Global Goals Skype Collaboration with other classrooms across the world to share their projects or work on a project together. It also provides hints for what to look for in curriculum standards to connect to the Global Goals. Take this starter kit to cross that starting line for yourself and pass it on to other educators.
Global Goals Project Starter Kit
Mother, wife, teacher, learner, information seeker, outdoor lover, & I guess now a novice blogger.