CMK is a week of learning created specifically for teachers who want to gain some first-hand experience of what it feels like to work in a collaborative student-led project-based-learning environment. The annual event is organized by Gary Stager and Sylvia Martinez, authors of Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. It took place last week and I learned so much by putting the student hat on and attending.
After being a student for a week I learned:
- Group projects are never really about making an object. They’re about relationships and learning to work with people.
- Transitions from one subject to another, at the end of a class period, are hard for students. They interrupt the learning and create stress because of it.
- It is compelling to help someone else realize their vision for a project.
- The resources available on the internet allow students to learn what they need on their own, if only they know where to look for them.
- Coaches engaged in working on their own projects help inspire life-long learning by students.
- Document the answer to each question you have as you find it (photos are great.)
- Celebrate with your team each successful step forward because they are sometimes far and few between. Celebrating helps to keep the team working together.
- Verbalizing your knowledge is a good way to know that you understand it clearly.
- Sometimes it is more effective for each team member to make individual contributions to a project as specialists rather than asking everyone to learn everything.
- Do your own reflecting, even if your facilitator doesn’t ask you to. It’s worth it!
Sue Fisher, EurekaLab Coach