Inquiry Learning and Professional Development

I’m currently working on a professional development experience through Georgia Tech and NASA on Project-Based Inquiry Learning (PBIL). During the first course, we learned about PBIL by participating as students in a PBIL lesson. The lesson was designed to teach physical science concepts, but I’ve tweaked it a bit to focus on scientific investigations - something that is part of our Earth Science curriculum. Now that our state testing is over, I needed something to keep my students’ attention for the last month of school.

We started our project on Friday. My advanced classes jumped right on board, as expected. But my general classes, wow. I’m amazed at the change in their behavior. It’s always been my goal to make my classroom very inquiry oriented, and now I see that I really need to make some changes for next year (note not-so-subtle hint at future plans. Details to follow soon).

If anyone is interested, NASA/Georgia Tech offer a few different FREE professional development programs that are online. They address topics like PBIL, Technology Integration, Statistics, and Robotics. The PBIL program I’m working on has really impressed me so far. It’s on par with a typical college course (read: you WILL do work), and the lessons you learn will be immediately transferable to your classroom.

Project-Based Inquiry Learning

This will be an ongoing post to record my thoughts and ideas on project-based inquiry learning. I’m taking a professional development course about it, and I would really like to shift my classroom towards this model. There are many challenges, but I’m hoping to work through them within the course and by writing out my thoughts here.

Note: This will be updated from time to time, and it could get long, so I’m putting everything else behind a read more.

Read More

Professional Development

Way back in January I signed up for an online PD course about project-based inquiry learning. I then forgot about it.

Surprise! It starts this week. Although I am not earning graduate credit, and it is not a semester length course, it still seems like it will be a significant amount of work. As in 4-5 hours per week.

I wonder if I can talk my grad school into giving me some kind of credit towards my masters.

Marzano, Marzano, Marzano

I hate Marzano.

Just throwing that out there.

Marzano is just the latest fad in “pre-packaged” “improve test scores” plans. We are all certified teachers. Most of us have gone through teacher prep programs. All Marzano did is publish the strategies we learned in those programs, sold it to school districts, and created a professional development nightmare for those of us who need to focus on things other than what we just finished learning in our teacher prep programs.

I already learned these strategies. I use them daily. Instead of learning new techniques, I have to learn Marzano’s terminology. WTF?

Apologies - I just spent 8 hours at a Marzano Professional Learning day for my district, when I could have been preparing for conferences to be held the next day, or lesson plans, or remediation plans…

[End Rant]