Category: PBL

Game ON – How kids want to learn

Game ON – How kids want to learn by John McCarthy, Ed.S. This past spring my two teenagers got me involved in playing Clash of Clans. It’s a game played on smart phones and tablets. It’s free, which is a major criteria for my cost-conscious kids, followed by if it captures their attention. Clash of …

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My Project-Based Learning Experience

I credit my middle school Social Studies teacher for my love of History. I often cite one of her projects for how I built deep understanding of the pre-Civil War era and connected the political stratification in the mid-1800s to the challenges of gridlock in government today. My classmates and I were given the charge …

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3 Degrees of Connecting to a Real World Audience

Day one at PBL World, the educators I’m working with explored designing Project Based Learning units. A major detail, and concern, is identifying a real world audience, and then getting in touch with them. Engineers, mechanics, university professors, authors, or __________________ –Where do you find them, and enough of them, to work with students? Most people are …

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Constructivist Learning in Common Core/State Standards Environments

This post is a companion to a Presentation (handout)  at MACUL 2014 by @jmccarthyeds. You can find dialog from that session on Twitter at #OPATHS or go to tagboard.com/opaths/ How can we support constructivist learning in Common Core Environments? Last year at Ardis New Tech, they did an event called Innovation Days. It was inspired by the …

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Concept-based Driving Questions

There are coffee tables across the world that–if they could talk–could tell stories about conversations among professionals. One possible scenario are the tables that shared the conversations of such influential thinkers as Lynn Erickson, Grant Wiggins, Jay McTighe, and others. Years ago, I met Lynn Erickson who’d just given a talk at the Summer Institute …

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Student Voice & Minecraft PBL

Last week during the snow days, or rather the Freeze days of -30+ degree weather, my son spent those two days writing and revising a proposal, sharing its content with his peers, and analyzing work by others for critical logic flaws and idea development. The weekend prior he spent researching several ideas, and then pitched …

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Learning Preferences Cards

Students need opportunities to practice Global Competencies like Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, Innovation, and Influencing across networks. This is why working in teams gives them the opportunities to practice these skills and to get coaching by the teacher and others. Yet one challenge with teams is the fear that some students will dominate, while others will …

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PBL Celebrated @MNPS Dupont-Hadley

  In this week’s ASCD Smart Brief, an article from the Tennessean is given national attention: Dupont-Hadley of Metro Nashville Public Schools was recognized for a project based learning unit where 5th graders studied cancer: “Student’s two-time cancer survival inspires lessons.” The experiences of one student was a catalyst for extensive work by the entire 5th …

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Minecraft for Learning, pt. 2

Minecraft for Learning, Part 2: (Follow me on twitter at @jmccarthyeds to stay up to date on following posts.)  In the last post, I mentioned that minecraft is a way to include student voice into their learning. Students can help teachers make the connections by describing how they spend hours doing any of a variety of tasks. …

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Driving Question Basics

Driving Questions Basics Have you ever attended a meeting where the outcome was unclear? You knew or hoped that by the end of the meeting some result would be achieved that would validate the time spent being there. This reminds me of the movie, Karate Kid, the 1980s version, where the main character wants to …

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