It's been unseasonably warm--
The plants in the garden have peeked out from their winter rest exceptionally early.
The daffies' green leaves, the red nubs of the peonies, the green points of the Japanese Iris, the maple's baby leaves, the buds on the weeping cherry hold a special promise for what is to come. These harbingers of spring and summer, in a climate of often difficult winters, lift the spirit and the hopes for better times -- gardens full of color and trees leafed in green!
So too, from the year 2 teams of Powerful Learning Practice, precursors begin to appear that portend the exceptional problem based learning units they are designing. Signs of exciting plans for learning from accomplished and passioned educators pop up on Twitter, blogs, Google Docs and Posterous where they are sharing.
From Cori on the Instructional Focus team
whose students are exploring how they can share their stories:
Alan, the team leader, illustrates how his 4th grade students explore this question here and here
In classrooms in PA, Texas, and Saskatechwan, students are asking "How can making global connections help me learn and grow in different ways?" Their teachers on The Whole Teacher/Child team recently posted how they are making their own connections. The team is currently collaborating on a Google Doc on a connections menu for their students. Becky, the team leader offered a window onto their process on Twitter:
And Kathy's grade 1's composed, narrated and filmed their introductory video for the other students with whom they will be making connections:
The Inquiry Driven team has been blogging transparently sharing how in classrooms their students are asking "How can we make a difference? The posts from Renee, from Gail, and from Kristine illustrate the diverse and unique perspectives from which students are exploring this question. Tweets from Beth encourage us to support her students in their Peace projects.
You can support them too by following the this link to their projects.
A group of accomplished administrators from PA, Ontario, Alberta, and Saskatchewan.is asking “How can we design problem/passion-based professional learning to engage our teachers for 21st century learners?” Leading the Shift transparently blogs as they capture just a bit of their rich conversations from Blackboard Collaborate sessions.
Our third Elluminate Session consisted of great dialogue about creating a framework for our project. We began the conversation by asking questions about how we can design units for our own contexts, what the framework would look like, and the planning and refining process. --source
Students in PA are asking "How can we pay it forward?" The educators on the Collective Action team collaborate on a Google Doc where they have already mapped their unit to standards, identified resources, initial and culminating activities and planned Skype sessions for their students.
Across PA students are exploring "How can art illustrate a culture of learning? The Arts and Crafts team has been blogging and has begun sharing on a wiki. Their passion based approach to this unit has generated great excitement among them as each teacher has brainstormed how this will become a part of their curriculum.
So much like the garden, these are harbingers only this time of meaningful, deep learning to come. Perhaps, even more exciting-- I have some notion of the garden I hope to see in May and June. I've only these hints and peeks at what may well become entirely new learning landscapes for these educators and their students. I'm impatient for both the garden and more about these projects-- Yet I know both will be more than worth the waiting--