Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Week in the Life of a CBL Addict

Last week was exhausting, but it was a good tired.  It had nothing to do with long meetings, tedium, or someone else's projects. Instead, it had to do with being engaged with Challenge Based Learning at a number of different levels.  So indulge me as I reflect back on the, applying only the slightest poetic license to the daily nature of the activities, since in the messy world of CBL, one activity sloshes into another

Monday - This was the primo Eminem and Me day.  The Chrysler Ad contributed marvelous stimulus to my sophomore's challenge to "Convince" Teenagers to Care about Politics.  We examined the commercial for its convincing nature.

Tuesday- This was a day to enjoy CBL in the trenches.  My sophomore teams were moving from guiding questions to guiding activities.  I enjoy brainstorming with them while the excitement is still fresh!

Wednesday - This was the day that I "surprised" my seniors with a request for reflections to two prompts.  I described this wonderful experience in The Power of Reflection.

Thursday-  My professional development role has placed me on Curriculum Council this year.  I used the opportunity to discuss Carolyn's shadowing experience (see Power of  Reflection).  Some department chairs have been leery of the way challenge projects would "fit" their departments' curriculum.  I hoped the anecdote would demonstrate the importance of giving the students opportunities to pull strands of learning together.

Friday - I had a chance to sit in with team which is participating in Apple's Official CBL Implementation study. As described in How to Launch a Challenge, Drawing 1, French 3, and Biology teachers have taken on the daunting logistical task of implementing their Use Design to Improve the Cafeteria challenge with a team taught approach.  Their enthusiasm and determination is highly infectious.

Saturday - I woke up thinking of CBL.  On Friday one of the professional development groups wrestled with a Religious Studies challenge.  Since the material was doctrinal the group was especially concerned about the students' freedom to pursue their interpretations and the complications that might be posed by publication of their viewpoints.  An idea occurred to me that I heard about in Dallas.  Why not have the students draw up a set of standards and apply them with "quality control" teams before publishing.  I shot off an email, glad that I could give us a point fo departure for the next session.

Sunday - I was reviewing my email and came across a principalship job posting at USC for a "Hybrid School."  I read about the concept-- online materials but face-to-face experiential learning -- and thought, hmnn, this is not too far removed from what I am doing in my bookless course.  It made me wonder if I could create a "hybrid" course.  Another challenge crossed my mind as well.  Since political science texts are in continuous need of updating, what if I formulated a challenge for my AP students to update a section of their ebook?

Tired? Yes.  Bored?  No.
Flickr  CC photo by jonanthan.youngblood

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