The planning process is really getting on a roll. I really enjoy working with Tim. For someone who has never done project based learning, he is full of great ideas. I have to admit, this is not working out like I thought it. I anticipated some challenges.
I haven't always been a teacher. When I entered the education world, I was amazed at how little collaboration occurred. In all my previous careers, I was always getting assistance and working with team mates. You are pretty much on your own in this arena and people are not always willing to help you or their help is limited. I am glad to be at a schools where I had some teachers who were willing to work together but it has still been limited. I expected Tim to have a lot of reservations. I was so WRONG! HE IS SO AWESOME! I wished we worked together all the time.
We had a great conversation this week. We went through the pbwiki page that we are using to plan the project. I explained that this form is something I got from Buck Institute for Education but am willing to adapt if he knows something else. He was completely flexible with using the form and I guided him through the parts. He had great suggestions from the very beginning and said their is an assessment form the school uses that we may both be able to incorporate into the project. Like probably many teachers, he thought his technology skills were weak and that I am some guru. I quickly assured him that he is better than most people I know as we went through voicethreads together. We had a lot of laughs that night.
Since our conversation, he has made some changes to the wiki that are absolutely fantastic. He also emailed me with great ideas of what to name the ning. We are so glad we are working on planning this so far before the September 15th launch date. I believe the planning time is the fundamental difference between PBL and regular teaching. It requires a lot of planning but the execution is very easy and the learning is rich and lasting. However, regular teaching doesn't require more than a day or week planning but is really tasking when it is executed and students commonly don't remember anything beyond the test.
Next week, I meet with my team mates to discuss goals and structure of the team. I am hoping we can start discussing doing a joint project again. I have one new team mate that I think will want to jump right on board. She is already into doing alternative teaching methods.
Did I say how excited I am? I AM SO EXCITED!