Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Brainstorming Meeting Part 3

It is such an exciting day! We were able to narrow down the topic to food since it can tie back to all of our standards and interest the students (see picture of screenshot of concept map above). We still have to focus in on what we want our students to answer and products they must produce. This will be our focus for tomorrow's meeting.

The discussion was the best part of our meeting today. Initially, we came up with a list of 12 different topics that relate to two or more of our standards. As we began to discuss the different topics, we started to remove topics that did not meet enough standards or ones that would not be of interest to the students. Near the end of our discussion, it seemed to be that the decision would be out of travel Agency, oil and toxic environment. However, as we discussed toxic environment, we chatted about the excess disposal of Styrofoam containers. This brought us to a discussion about food.

This topic got a lot of interaction. We talked about how much the students talk about taste of the food in the cafeteria. Discussion also proceed to discuss how toxic the food is and the cost of eating healthier. Our discussion on food got so much excitement we added it to the list to make a vote.

The voting was very interesting. All of our personalities came out and what I needed to provide as a leader. One teacher wanted to keep discussing when it was time to vote. Their personality is to make a decision to talk out loud. Since I knew this about them, I didn't take it as an attempt to not wrap up the discussion. Another teacher really wanted to know the end result. They wanted to know the specific product their subject will have for the project. They didn't want to vote until this was discussion. I promised to get them products if they agree to vote on a topic. From my experience, a project can be created through thinking of products first or thinking of topics to meet the standards. However, it is really easy to create the products after you pick a topic. In previous planning of personal projects, I sometimes had a hard time finding a topic or a standard when I thought of only products first. I didn't want our team to fall into this trap.

After handling these issues, we were able to move forward and choose food as the topic of choice. I made a mental note of only giving the team a view of one step at a time is not helpful to those who need a big picture. I did this because in most of my experience I worked with people who needed very specific details and I am stronger at seeing a big picture. Therefore, I have worked on my detail skills and approach from the aspect of step by step.

I should have not assumed that my colleagues were detail people only. I should have immediately presented the situation as an overview with snapshots of the details. It is my fault for not starting off the entire discussion with walking them through one of my own projects. As the leader of this project, I will correct this mishap to help our future move smoothly and with all parties having more of a comfort. Tomorrow, before we proceed, I will walk them through one of my project planning forms completed and explain step by step how I created it. Hopefully, this will help the big picture people like me and people who needs details.

The brainstorming details was placed in a concept map on, a website suggested in Re-Inventing Project-Based Learning. If you would like to see the map, please email me at with your username from the website. I will add you as a friend that can view anything we put in a concept map.


Louise Maine said...

Your reflection is wonderful! I would have probably made the same mistake as you.

Currently I am using PBL in my classes but not as good as I want it to be. I also want to collaborate with others globally. I am following what you do to help me in the future. I am looking forward to all the steps that are taken on this project.

If you ever consider more projects in the future, I would like to be considered.

Suzie Boss said...

Hi Telannia,
I'm enjoying this chance to "listen in" as your team works together to plan a project. Just as students in one classroom bring varied learning styles and dispositions, so it goes with a group of educators! Sounds like you have excellent listening skills and are able to make adjustments in response to what's happening within the group. Great!
Can't wait to see where you all go with your chosen topic--which touches on so many real-world and globally critical topics.
Good luck!