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My goal this semester was to continue to improve my use of formative assessment (largely through the use of whiteboarding) and expand the role of Project-Based Learning in my classroom. Up to this point, I have developed a wide-scale PBL framework for an applied stream of math we have in the province called Workplace and Apprenticeship Math. Those specific topics lend themselves very well to the methodology; they are a natural fit for PBL. I am still looking for ways to branch the intangibles from PBL into a more abstract strand of mathematics–one that includes relations, exponents, functions, trig, etc. I …

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Creating PBL 3.0

I have been on my project-based learning journey for a while now. This blog has served as the main receptacle for my inspirations, ideas, successes, failures, and reflections. It is now time to document my next step: wide scale revision. This post will be divided into two main sections: A look back at the posts that brought me to this point. (Reading them may provide some context, but not reading them will provide you with more free time…your call) A look ahead into my revisions and their rationale. I will describe the new administrative and assessment framework around the projects …

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Project-Based Pitfalls

Those of you who follow me on twitter or read this blog regularly know I have been struggling to implement wide scale Project-based Learning (PBL) into my Workplace and Apprenticeship mathematics courses. This strand of classes is probably unfamiliar to those outside of Western Canada. I have included a link to our provincial curriculum below. You can skip to the outcomes and indicators to view which topics need to be addressed. (Page 33) http://www.education.gov.sk.ca/CURR/workplace-apprenticeship-math-10 Let me start out by saying that I think this is an excellent direction for high school mathematics. Some powers-that-be in Saskatchewan would like to see …

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Soft Drink Project Part 5: The Show

This is the finale of a series of blog posts detailing a student posed project. To get the full picture, begin reading at part one: Soft Drink Project Part 1: The Framework As the project drew to a close, students began to place a valuation on their work. Very seldom did the topic of grades come up during the process, but even students know they are playing a game. They asked me how I would be grading, and I told them we would be using our self/peer/teacher model as always. Even after the entire process, students were still musing on …

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Soft Drink Project Part 4: The Math

This is the fourth in a series of posts detailing a student-posed math project. To get the full picture, please read the previous posts beginning with: Soft Drink Project Part 1: The Framework This post is designed to dampen the fear of math teachers. I know, because I was very afraid that the project had missed the mark until students moved into this phase. For some reason, teachers feel like they have more ability to complete a list of outcomes if they dictate the exact way, pace, and form that the learning will take. My division states they want to create …

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Soft Drink Project Part 3: The Design

This post is the third in a series of posts detailing the happenings of a math project. To better understand the whole story, please start reading at the beginning: Soft Drink Project Part 1: The Framework The next few classes after the brainstorming class were a blur. Students would come into class, grab their previous work, and get down to business. It was the best I could do to have supplies waiting for them. I learned quickly that students can become pretty demanding when it came to their learning. I didn’t have any problems granting their requests; none of them …

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Soft Drink Project Part 2: The Brainstorm

This post will make a lot more sense if you read the framework for the project in “Soft Drink Project Part 1: The Framework“. I left the classroom energized; I could not remember a time that I was more pleased with a lesson that I had taught. In fact, I wouldn’t even call it teaching. I was observing. The process of brainstorming began organically. I had my doubts that it would continue the following Monday. Typically, students can’t even remember where they sit after a weekend–let alone what task they ended on. Monday came and, much to my astonishment, students …

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Soft Drink Project Part 1: The Framework

This post is the first in a series describing a set of classes in my Grade 11 Workplace and Apprenticeship class. I have designed the course around the ideals of Project-Based Learning (PBL); students encounter a series of tasks, problems, and prompts that necessitate three crucial qualities: Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and  Communication. Each unit leaves ample room for student extensions and mathematical forays into more elaborate pursuits. This unit was no different. Students studied the topics of Surface Area and Volume through a series of tasks, problems, and prompts–one of which ballooned into the subject of this blog series. I …

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