Saturday, July 11, 2009

GCoS PD--Day 3

  1. We looked at Eddie's Standards web. It doesn't have the connecting phrased between the bubbles--just connecting lines--it isn't a concept map, instead it's a 'web'. In contrasting the colored bubbles with the blank background bubbles at the back, we discussed what words to use in these questions. We concluded that, by avoiding jargon (science vocabulary words) these maps of the standards can server as guides to students (and families) before studying a unit. In other words, a student can often get an idea of what they will be studying before having studied--not possible with the regularly worded standards. Here is how his web looked when he brought it in. I'll repost in a while when he has further-improved them.
  2. Luckily, there is an instructional framework which one can use to grow a community of (novice) scientists: Progressive Inquiry. I introduced it with the help of this diagram which comes from this page, and overview of many of the ideas I've presented are on that page, with links to further pages. Lots of great work about knowledge building in science classroom comes from this research group.
  3. I then introduced a software tool called FLE3 which scaffolds knowledge building in a classroom. This is a tool that has a fairly steep learning curve, so Eddie had the idea of making poster-sized printout of each of the pages students encounter, posting them in the classroom, making them ever-present and available for public reference as needed.
  4. "To teach with a tool we need to be users of the tool." This statement is a general principle of GCoS classrooms. We are starting a FLE3 knowledge building discussion with the context (note we are using a question): What does a classroom community of novice, KB scientists act, look and sound like? We've posted some sub-questions (threads) such as: 1. What specific student behaviors are we looking for? (James); 2. What does KB mean? (Eddie); 3. What is the role of questions in a KB community? (me); 4. "Experimenting".
  5. We learned about using FLE3. Numbers 6-8 below show some of the significant ideas we had...
  6. ... Start a Context (Unit of study?) with an essential-type question. It provides a rallying point around which one can assess if one is addressing the topic... or not.
  7. ... The very first time a class uses FLE3 the first thread ought to be one in which users can experiment with the FLE3 tool. Thus the thread mentioned above, "Experimenting". In this thread, users would not need to use any of their attention thinking about questions, answers, knowledge types, etc, but instead ask, 'what does this button do?', 'how do you get to this screen?', etc. Providing a space like this in the first (maybe second also?) context will decrease ineffective posts in the rest of the content-oriented threads.
  8. ... At the VERY first interaction students have with FLE3, I'd copy one from a previous year, add a generic student account and allow students to enter this copy of the FLE3 and explore it--seeing how it was used.
Our homework for the next meeting is to use the FLE3 from our home and build some knowledge about GCoS.

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