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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Reflecting on my Life With PBL

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In July of 2011 I wrote about attending training and how I realized that my perspective had changed when it came to experiencing new requirements with my teaching.  

Having just re-read that post and reflecting on the year that is about to finish, I realize just how fortunate I am for embracing PBL.  And, I realize how important it is for all teachers to discover what I have discovered about this teaching/learning process.

If you haven't considered  PBL yet, or you are struggling with the idea of doing this,  you might want to read through this post from last Spring on 6 things you can expect when you are a PBL teacher.  There are hundreds of other posts on the subject with many just in my postings over the years.

Five years ago I considered myself a pretty darn good math teacher.  I believed in (and used) cooperative learning groups.  And I embraced the use of technology in the classroom.  My fellow teachers and administrators would (probably) agree with the instruction piece of being a good teacher but they would definitely say that I had trouble with classroom management.  My Achilles heal.

In PBL I was able to continue working on improving my teaching abilities but I still struggled mightily with classroom management.  However I learned that, in PBL, I could do a better job at managing my classroom when I was organized with my daily plan.  Who'd a thunk!  Organization makes the classroom management easier.  Wow!

And so, this school year, I've been able to see many teachers in their classrooms in my roll as an instructional coach.  I no longer have to worry about how my students are acting (and neither do my neighboring teachers).  I get to see effective and less effective teaching practices.  I see good and not-so-good classroom management.  I see students thriving and students not being given the same opportunity to learn.  It's time to make a difference at my school.

With the new year I really need to share the good PBL practices I have used and the practices I have read about.  I need to model teach and I need to help plan classes and projects.  In short, I need to be a good instructional coach.  I need to push data to hours outside of the school day.  Our teachers need me during the normal school hours and I owe it to them to be available.  And, my principal needs to know that I'm out there helping make our school the best it can be.

Thank you New Tech Network, Buck Institute for Education, and Edutopia for providing my PBL knowledge.  And thank you to Steve Zipkes for hiring me at Manor New Technology High School back in 2008.  This PBL rocket is heading for the stars and I'm loving every moment!