Sunday, September 18, 2011

What's different?

by Mike Kaechele

I thought I would reply to Shelly's question about what is different this year. I am at a new problem based learning high school that opened two weeks ago. We have just over one hundred freshman coming from twenty different districts in our county. They have never been in a PBL environment before so we spent the first seven days on a project where students explored what our school is about through various activities. On the last day they had two hours to edit videos they had been taking through out the week and present to their class. The groups are allowed to go into the common spaces and work collaboratively. This is what it looked like:

As a teacher I find this type of learning exciting. We have an open filtering policy. Between the open internet and structure some students are a bit lost and off task at times as this is such a huge culture shift from the traditional classroom that they are accustomed to. I will not claim that we have this all figured out but I loved this moment of walking around and watching students work. I am fully prepared to be amazed at what students will do the next few years as they grow in our space.

Here is one of my favorites:


  1. i love the open area with different spaces for groups

  2. Those small group areas look awesome! This is what my school does all the time. Be patient, for it works & the kids thrive (we're from 5-14 years). Good luck to you.

  3. I hope that it is not just another "minimum security" institution that we sometimes call independent schools. I would love to see evidence of a different paradigm.

  4. Thanks teacherdance for the encouragement.

    Not even sure how to reply to that. We are a public school seeking to give students individualized learning through PBL. If that is distasteful to you then...

  5. This sounds great! I teach at a gifted magnet school andthis year we moved to a paperless self paced learning environment. The kids love it. The parents are anxious. Like you, all the bugs haven't been worked out, but the independence and the enthusiasm for learning is great to see. Please continue to share your experiences. They are encouraging to those of us who are in the trenches with you.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.