CBL: Engage, part 3

Wednesday 10/04/2017 – OPENING: 15 minutes

Back by popular demand, that’s right folks, it’s time for another game of “What’s the Big Idea?”.

Today’s game has us reading an article from Seth Godin, specifically, “Fear of Bad Ideas“. We’ll dig in as a class, and each table will take a different section to restate in their own words so we can really break down the article and ensure we understand it’s message. And from there, I feel sure we’ll come up with some pretty fantastic Big Ideas.

LESSON – 40 minutes

Image of the Challenge Based Learning framework.

CBL Framework, From Digital Promise

Today…

We need to practice turning Big Ideas into Essential Questions.

ENGAGE:

  1. Big Idea
  2. Essential Question
  3. Challenge

 

 

Essential Question


Yesterday we talked about the difference between Open- and Closed-Ended questions. And we clarified the role that each plays in Challenge Based Learning.

Closed-Ended questions are called Guiding Questions in CBL, and we dig into those during the Investigate phase.

But for our purposes today, it’s important to understand that open-ended questions are the form that our Essential Questions take. And that’s what we’re working to develop today.

So, once we have our Big Idea, it’s time to figure out how we’re going to explore it. What line of inquiry will we follow to really dig into it? That’s where the Essential Question comes in. So what is an EQ? We know it’s open-ended, but what else? Again, Grant Wiggins provides some insight…

“A question is essential when it:

  • causes genuine and relevant inquiry into the big ideas and core content; TABLE 1
  • provokes deep thought, lively discussion, sustained inquiry, and new understanding as well as more questions; TABLE 2
  • requires students to consider alternatives, weigh evidence, support their ideas, and justify their answers; TABLE 3
  • stimulates vital, on-going rethinking of big ideas, assumptions, and prior lessons; TABLE 4
  • sparks meaningful connections with prior learning and personal experiences; TABLE 5
  • naturally recurs, creating opportunities for transfer to other situations and subjects.” TABLE 6

(AuthenticEducation.org)

I bolded the word ‘relevant’ above because, while all of the above provides good insight about what an EQ is, none of it really matters if the question isn’t RELEVANT TO YOU. So, one of the key things to keep in mind about Essential Questions, is that they help connect the Big Idea to something that matters to you. If the question doesn’t generate some personal interest, it’s not likely to motivate you to explore it deeply.

Creating EQs is not easy work, but it’s critical, so we’ll continue to practice it.

Some examples, using the Big Ideas above…

Big Ideas

  1. The global food supply is at risk.
  2. Blood is thicker than water.
  3. The world’s sea levels are rising.

Essential Question

  1. How do my eating habits contribute to global food insecurity?
  2. In what ways do people in my family value each other? Or…What is a family?
  3. How would a 10 foot rise in sea level impact my life?

Takeaways

  • Essential Questions connect the Big Idea to our own lives.
  • EQs are thought-provoking and engaging.
  • EQs are open ended…no single, simple, right answer.

Quote of the Week

“Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

Dorothy

This Week’s Agenda

Monday
Warmup:
20 Questions

Lesson:
CBL: Engage Phase, part 1

Tuesday
Warmup:
Get to the Source

Lesson:
CBL: Engage Phase, part 2

Wednesday
Warmup:
What’s the Big Idea?

Lesson:
CBL: Engage Phase, part 3

Thursday
Warmup:
HOM Reflection

Lesson:
CBL: Engage Phase, part 4

t

Jeb is here to help...

 

Have questions?

  • Drop by before or after school
  • Come in at lunch
  • Ping me on Basecamp
  • Pass me a note

Whatever you do, don’t just
sit there wondering.
Get the help you need.

Ping Me

CBL: Engage, part 2

Tuesday 10/03/2017 – OPENING: 15 minutes

It’s Tuesday, and that means that our warmup is related to Source Citation. Well, sort of. As I mentioned last week, that topic wasn’t quite right, but it was hinting at something important, and I finally figured it out.

Specifically, the idea that we are living in a time when most of the information we gather is going to come from the internet. That being the case, we need to know how to get at the right information – information that is both relevant and credible. And yes, we’ll need to properly cite our sources, but that’s secondary. The real skills are around evaluating that information in the first place.

So today’s warmup is “Getting to the Source”. Today’s version will have you creating the search term that you feel will get you to the most relevant, credible information about a given topic (the details of which will be provided in class). You’ll work with your table group to develop the text that you would type into a Google search field if you were looking up this topic and trying to get that specific information.

We’ll look at every group’s ideas and see which one gets us closest to the information we seek.

And then we’ll discuss the ideas found on Evaluating Online Information.

LESSON – 40 minutes

Yesterday we talked about the first step in the Engage phase of CBL. Specifically, the Big Idea. We practiced turning topics or categories into statements that actually represent big ideas that we would like to explore. Some Examples…

Food Supply (a topic or category) became “The global food supply is at risk”.
Relationships (a topic or category) became “Blood is thicker than water”.
Global Warming (a topic or category) became “The world’s sea levels are rising”.

All of these changes represent an idea that connects different topics. That brings together knowledge from different areas of study. To prove that the ‘global food supply is at risk’, or to show that it isn’t, would require us to explore agriculture, population and other demographic information, biology, politics, economics, and perhaps many more topics of study. So this big idea serves to connect these disciplines for the learner.

Big Ideas are also “..abstract…meaning is not always obvious to students; understanding must be earned…its meaning discovered, constructed or inferred by the learners.” (MB University). Identifying or creating Big Ideas is not easy work, so if you’re not an expert just yet, don’t worry. We’ll keep practicing.

Image of the Challenge Based Learning framework.

CBL Framework, From Digital Promise

Today…

We need to practice turning Big Ideas into Essential Questions.

ENGAGE:

  1. Big Idea
  2. Essential Question
  3. Challenge

 

Essential Question


Before we take on that task, however, we’ll discuss questions more generally. We’ll look at one way to categorize questions – into Closed-Ended and Open-Ended. You’ll have a chance to talk about these in your groups, and come up with examples of each, then we’ll clarify as a class.

This is particularly important to understand because BOTH kinds of questions play a really important role in Challenge Based Learning. Closed-ended questions are what serve as Guiding Questions (during the Investigate phase), and Open-ended questions are the form that our Essential Question takes as we work through the Engage phase.

We’ll dig into Essential Questions deeper tomorrow.

Takeaways

  • Essential Questions connect the Big Idea to our own lives.
  • EQs are thought-provoking and engaging.
  • EQs are open ended…no single, simple, right answer.

Quote of the Week

“Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

Dorothy

This Week’s Agenda

Monday
Warmup:
20 Questions

Lesson:
CBL: Engage Phase, part 1

Tuesday
Warmup:
Get to the Source

Lesson:
CBL: Engage Phase, part 2

Wednesday
Warmup:
What’s the Big Idea?

Lesson:
Globalization, part 1

Thursday
Warmup:
HOM Reflection

Lesson:
Globalization, part 2

t

Jeb is here to help...

 

Have questions?

  • Drop by before or after school
  • Come in at lunch
  • Ping me on Basecamp
  • Pass me a note

Whatever you do, don’t just
sit there wondering.
Get the help you need.

Ping Me

CBL: Engage, part 1

Monday 10/02/2017 – OPENING: 15 minutes

It’s Monday, and that means it’s time for 20 Questions. Only change this time around is the person with the answer is NOT going to be Mr. D.

LESSON – 30 minutes

We’ve briefly touched on the Challenge Based Learning framework, and this week we’re going to dig into that a bit deeper. We’re probably in for a few days of me talking more than usual because we have to build some foundations that we’ll need as we move forward.

But we’ll try to work in some hands-on activities as well because we all know that most people learn best by doing.

Challenge Based Learning – Engage

If we break the CBL framework into its 3 main phases, we see that it starts with the Engage phase. The word engage means to connect to or become involved with, so this makes sense, right? We start most things by engaging with them. By connecting to or becoming involved in something.

But what, specifically, does this phase entail?

ENGAGE:

  1. Big Idea
  2. Essential Question
  3. Challenge

Big Idea


Image of the list of Big Ideas we came up with.As we might remember, our Wednesday warm up is called ‘What’s the Big Idea”, and that’s specifically because every CBL unit of study begins with a Big Idea. And we need practice identifying big ideas.

Pictured here are the beginnings of Big Ideas we came up with as a result of our reading of the Guardian’s recent article, “Sixth mass extinction of wildlife also threatens global food supply“.

But let’s clarify what a Big Idea actually is. According to Grant Wiggins, “An idea is “big” if it helps us make sense of lots of confusing experiences and seemingly isolated facts…an idea is not “big” merely because it categorizes a lot of content.” He provides the following example (paraphrased):

  • The term “Relationships” certainly encompasses an enormous amount of knowledge and understanding, but…not much insight or direction beyond its definition.
  • However, “blood is thicker than water” is a Big Idea because it provides a powerful way of understanding many relationships in societies and throughout history. (AuthenticEducation.org)

We’ll continue to practice identifying and developing Big Ideas that deserve investigation.

 

Takeaways

  • Big Ideas connect multiple disciplines.
  • Big Ideas are often abstract.
  • Big Ideas require learners to uncover them.

Quote of the Week

“Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

Dorothy

This Week’s Agenda

Monday

Warmup:
20 Questions

Lesson:
CBL: Engage Phase, part 1

Tuesday

Warmup:
Get to the Source

Lesson:
CBL: Engage Phase, part 2

Wednesday

Warmup:
What’s the Big Idea?

Lesson:
Globalization, part 1

Thursday

Warmup:
HOM Reflection

Lesson:
Globalization, part 2

t

Jeb is here to help...

 

Have questions?

  • Drop by before or after school
  • Come in at lunch
  • Ping me on Basecamp
  • Pass me a note

Whatever you do, don’t just
sit there wondering.
Get the help you need.

Ping Me

Big Ideas

Wednesday 9/27/2017 – OPENING: 30 minutes

It’s Hump-Day folks, and that means it’s time for ‘What’s The Big Idea?’. What? You didn’t know that?

Of course not, it’s our first time playing, but as with ’20 Questions’ and ‘Cite that Source’, it will be a weekly warm up for us so we get loads of practice with the skills needed to identify Big Ideas, and it’s these very Big Ideas that frame meaningful learning.

We’ll be reading this article about the 6th mass extinction and the food supply in order to kick off this new warm up.

When we’re done, you’ll work with your group to develop a list of at least 5 Big Ideas that you think this article touches upon. Keep in mind, Big Ideas aren’t necessarily the topic of the article, but maybe the article mentions them in passing, or touches on them, or maybe it just makes you THINK of something that is related.

A quick example. One of the big ideas that I see in this article is Population Growth. The article isn’t about population growth, but it does mention it, and that issue connects to the topic of this article AND many other issues. Population growth is relevant to food production, to economics, to politics, to migration, to war, to climate change, etc…

So your job is to come up with at least 5 Big Ideas in your group that connect to this article.

LESSON – 25 minutes

If we get past the warm up, we’ll look at the Engage phase of CBL – the phase that includes, you guessed it, the Big Idea. However, this is an important topic, so the warm up today may, in fact, take the entire class period.

If that’s the case, we’ll continue with it tomorrow.

Takeaways

  • Big Ideas drive learning.
  • Big Ideas connect topics and ideas.
  • Sometimes the Big Idea isn’t obvious.

Quote of the Week

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” John Muir

t

Jeb is here to help...

 

Have questions?

  • Drop by before or after school
  • Come in at lunch
  • Ping me on Basecamp
  • Pass me a note

Whatever you do, don’t just
sit there wondering.
Get the help you need.

Ping Me

Starting to dig…

Monday 9/25/2017 – OPENING: 20 minutes

Today we’ll get warmed up with a game of 20 Questions. Since it’s our first time, I’ll play the role of the ‘Answerer’, but in future games, you all will fill this role.

Rules:


  • The Answerer thinks up something, and says, “I’m thinking of a/an <<animal, ice cream flavor, food, movie, book, famous person, meme, etc>>
  • Class takes turns asking Yes or No questions (everyone gets a chance to ask – so may be more than 20 questions unless it’s guessed early) to narrow in on what it is.
  • The point of the questions is to get to a point where you can ‘guess with certainty’, based on the answers the class has gotten up to that point. If we get through all questioners, we must make a guess.
  • In order to guess early (before all people get a chance to ask), there must be some consensus from all questioners. To get this, 1 person raises his/her hand and, when chosen, says ‘I have a guess’. He/She presents it to the class and gets a show of hands in support. Majority vote means they get to offer the guess.
  • An incorrect guess ends the game, and the Answerer is the winner.
  • Any guess blurted out, without consensus, ends the game and the Answerer is the winner.
  • If the questioners win, the lead learner (Jeb) decides the one person who asked the best (most thoughtful, relevant, creative, useful) question, and that person is “THE” winner.
  • Winners get a prize – either candy, or some privilege.

LESSON – 35 minutes

A short day, but a good one to begin digging into CBL. We’ll be discussing the ENGAGE phase of the Challenge Based Learning framework – hopefully you all remember that a bit.

Just a group discussion to get us started…

Quote of the Week

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”

John Muir

Basecamp and Reflection

Friday 9/22/2017 – OPENING: 20 minutes

We’ll begin today by getting everyone set up for Basecamp – a fantastic tool used around the world to improve communication and collaboration among teams of people doing important work.

We’ll walk through this as a class to ensure everyone is set up and understands what the expectation is around it’s use.

LESSON – 35 minutes

The remainder of class will be spent doing what we often do on Fridays…reflecting. As always, reflection is a critical step in the learning process, so please take it seriously and put forth a solid effort.

Please respond fully to the prompts found on this reflection form.

Quote of the Week

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”

John Muir