Tuesday, February 26, 2013

CBL Across the District- Part 2/ From Our Big Idea to Our Challenge

 I mentioned in the earlier post we are participating in a  Challenge Based Learning endeavor between a group of schools within our district. Before the holidays we chose the Big Idea of natural disasters. We felt the topic had the scalability we needed and desired. At that point, we did not want to define our Challenge any further than that, because there are just too many valuable problem solving skills built into each key element of the CBL process to skip any steps.  Below is a revised post I put into our private Edmodo group in hopes of helping others get started breaking down our big idea and moving into a challenge. 

I will be starting with all my groups right off the bat so I wanted to share a bit of what we are doing to break down The Big Idea of natural disasters. The first thing we are going to do is define what a natural disaster is and what is it is not. We will be starting by watching a basic video on Brain Pop (our school has a subscription) entitled "Natural Disasters-Sometimes Bad Things Happen". From there we will be working with a Frayer Model to define and make sure we all know what a natural disaster is. For Grades kindergarten through second we will be working on the Frayer Model together, but grade three and above will be working in triads or pairs to complete the Frayer Model.

Using our Frayer Models we will make a list of our examples of natural disasters on the board. We will then have a discussion about the fact that one of our goals in a CBL project is to help others and based on our location some of the natural disasters on our list might make better choices than others. I will ask the students to consider both their experiences and who our audience might be. We will then take a vote on which natural disaster we want to focus on. 

* A Portable Document File (pdf.) version of the Frayer Model could be put into an app like Notability on the iPad and students could record their responses that way.

After we have chosen a disaster we will be working on an "All Write Round Robin".

-First, take several pieces of chart paper each with one of the following questions in its center: What you know about ....? What you would like to know about......? What do you think we might need to know about ....? 
-Next, the students will be given different color writing utensils.This is done to track individual student's comments, thinking and involvement.
-Students then write down what thoughts they have about the question without talking. Letting students know that they can piggyback on thoughts and comments of others. 
-Students rotate between chart papers until all students have been at each piece of chart paper.
-We will discuss and consolidate "All Write Round Robin" information.  
-Finally, model and guide students to recognize patterns in this consolidated information. It is through those patterns that a challenge should begin to arise. 

*This same process could be done in a Google doc., Wiki or any online program that allows multiple editors. However, due to the fact that we are dealing with elementary school age students (some as young as five years old) I felt it best to use chart paper. 

 Please note: A variety of graphic organizers (including graphic organizing software and/or applications) can be used to help students to break down a big idea. 

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