Youngsters in Singapore are organizing their information about the World Games as they prepare to create their final product or performance as their Evidence of Learning. The inquiry they are making is: How do global competitions impact nations?
Everyday PBL consists of mini-problem scenarios developed from ordinary, everyday lessons. The difference is, these lessons have been repurposed as inquiry learning lessons, in which students are generating questions and investigating the targeted learning to arrive at findings that inform their questions. In this case, Singapore was preparing to host the World Games, so in their social studies lesson, in current events, the teachers turned the lesson into a Everyday PBL inquiry that fully engaged students in the processes of collaborating, gathering ideas, and organizing their ideas, (which is the focus of this post), as well as thinking, prioritizing, deciding, and presenting.
As mentioned, among the problem solving steps, in Everyday PBL, is Organizing Information. It is one of the most critical phases in the process because it forces the teams to stop the search and the research and move along if they are gong to meet their deadline. It signals that it is time for the team to look over what they have and somehow make sense of all the facts, data, stories and artifacts they have accumulated.
By requiring students to use a graphic organizer of their choice, the assignment causes them to talk, discuss, explain, compare, and finally to make decisions about where the information fits in the graphic that will to guide their review of the “stuff” and, at the same time provide a visual that “makes their thinking visible.” As they work things out in the graphic, it starts to become more evident to all team members what the biggest ideas are, how the various ideas actually connect to each other and how and why they seem to fit together.
In this complex process of thinking for connectivity and relationships in the data, key ideas emerge in a summary or synthesis, and the essential elements become clear enough that they ca n move on to how they might present their findings as compelling evidence to others.
Organizing is critical to problem solving in order to seek the hidden messages that are always there with n the discerete data that has be gathered. The best advice for those new to the PBL process is to realize it is about the process of learning how to solve problems, and it’s usually best o keep the flow of steps moving at a even pace. The goal is to experience the entire cycle of PBL in a nutshell and then reflect on how things went for each group.
That’s the learning for a lifetime that can result when shifting to Everyday PBL. Students get multiple iterations of working with whole problems with their inquiry approaches. As they take responsibility to keep going, keep fanning the fire to finish and at the asme time, to own work and to rejoice and celebrate the outcomes. It is truly joyful work for kids because they love to think hard, they have reasons to get along and it feels good when the team to reaches the finish line.
About: Everyday PBL…by Brian and Robin, their new book coming out with ASCD in fall 2017. Be on the lookout for it.