Like a baby bird that leaves the nest, teachers use a combination of instinct and practice to help avoid “predators and find food.”
Of course the “predators and food” in education is much different than that of a baby bird. For all educators, leaving the nest (or comfort zone) is hazardous and scary, and educators have to learn fast to survive. My first year of teaching has been one that has come with feelings of fear, doubt, confusion, and isolation. Adapting to the change and learning the new environment has helped me survive. Trusting my natural instincts and practicing good methods are teaching me to fly. I have found “food” in more experienced educators, conferences, webinars, twitter, professional development, and reflection. One thing is for sure I love my students and I love what I do!
Problem Based Learning (PBL or PrBL) has become a passion of mine. I find that students who are engaged in authentic-learning are learning best. I may be a baby bird, but I have left the nest. There is no excuse for me not to put into practice my passion. You will see here that I have dressed up like a zombie for my Zombie Apocalypse PBL. Now, I do know that PBL is suppose to give students a real world problem to solve so I will go ahead and answer the question you may have now. No I do not think zombies are real and this will really happen one day. However, natural disasters can cause the same outcome in locations causing students to be faced with the same scenario I was trying to accomplish here. So I thought, what is more fun for students, doing a Hurricane PBL or a Zombie Apocalypse? So, I altered the PBL to fit the needs of my students and to provide more connectivity. That is what a baby bird learning fast will do. You do not have to follow every model to its exact design. Being innovative means you take good practices and you modify them for what best suits you and your classroom. Not only did the students love this, but I was able to get them excited as they entered class!
Here is the shock value or “hook” I planned to get students to visualize the disaster of the problem and to get them super pumped for the lesson. Can you imagine their thoughts as they enter school and their teacher is a zombie and their classroom looks like this!?It is important when designing a PBL that you plan effectively! A lot went into this lesson in terms of planning the entire unit including the PBL.
* Students develop problem-solving, critical thinking, and reasoning skills.
*Students are at the center of their learning.
*It fosters communication and collaboration among classmates.
*Connects content to real-world scenarios.
*Students are engaged, challenged, and enjoy it!
How to do PBL
*Create a classroom climate that is open to failure, trial and error, collaboration, communication, and creativity!
*Design an ill-structured problem and support students as they develop the skills and information necessary to solve the problem.
*Facilitate the learning during the process, but let students become self-directed learners.
*Plan, Plan, Plan and Plan effectively (Plan the lessons that build up to the PBL, plan the PBL, and plan the post lessons that will connect the PBL to their continued learning of content.
Most Baby Birds Leave The Nest Before They Can Even Fly! Not only does this relate to us as educators, but also to our students. Let them leave the nest! Let the students learn fast “how to avoid predators and find food” by allowing them to use their natural instincts and practice. They may have fears, confusion, and even doubt, but you can provide the support they need to have confidence that they can fly!
Implement Problem-Based Learning in your classroom! Let students drive their own learning and be blown away with their insightful minds!