#diffimooc Week 11: SurvivalCraft Diffi Tool

LOTFEDET                                                     MREDET

Amanda, Andrea and I are working together to make chests of tools and food for teachers to give their students in survival mode.  We are hoping this will help the students who may struggle with making tools and/or finding food to survive.  It may also help the students who die from monsters and lose their resources.

Chests of Tools and Food – For scenario 2 in Lord of the Flies and scenario 3 in Maze Runner

Located in the station “Tools Released” there is a house with chests. Inside each chest are tools.  This station is ONLY FOR TEACHERS. NO STUDENTS should be teleported or given permission to enter this station. The chests filled with tools are for students who are struggling to make/keep their tools during scenario 2.

If a student needs a tool, teleport yourself to “Tools Released”, grab a tool out of the chest and place in your inventory. Then in teacher tools transfer the tool to the student or teleport yourself to their location and place the tool in a chest near them.

Pictures taken from:





Reflection Week 10

Thinking about the Givercraft experience, grading/assessment and reading other peoples blogs this week got me thinking how do we score creativity? According to Brookhart (2013), “As you might expect with such a broad concept as creativity, there’s no single formula that will always work. Start by helping students understand what creativity is, using rubrics, examples, and discussion about these.” Brookhart goes on to share a creativity rubric that can be found on this website: http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/feb13/vol70/num05/Assessing-Creativity.aspx

Some of the other resources that I found interesting were:

How Can We Teach and Assess Creativity and Innovation in PBL? By John Larmer


Yes, You Can Teach and Assess Creativity! By Andrew Miller


Next year I am planning on going back into the regular education classroom. My goal is to incorporate more PBL and reflect on how I assess creativity. These resources will help me.

#diffimooc week 10: Diffitool Impact

What was the impact of my diffi-tool on Givercraft students & teachers; what should I change for Survivorcraft to ensure that my intervention is effective?

Amanda, Andrea and I created memory books for teachers to give their students during scenario 2 of the Givercraft. We created about two large chests and one small chest of books. One of are chest was almost emptied. Amanda created a screen cast in how teachers could find the books. Amanda also created and sent out a survey asking how helpful teachers found our diffitool, if they used it. From the two responses from the survey it seems that our tool was used and helpful, even if it was only a few teachers. The two respondents said our tool was easy to use, helpful to their students and used with almost their whole class. One reported it being used on about 75% of their students.

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The Givercraft experience is considered authentic assessment. As stated by Wiggins (1990), “Authentic assessments require students to be effective performers with acquired knowledge.” The students The Giver and were assessed on the items they created in Minecraft based on their learning from the book. They used their acquired knowledge to complete a performance. Mueller (2014), compares traditional assessment to authentic assessment:

Traditional ——————————————— Authentic

Selecting a Response ———————————— Performing a Task

Contrived ————————————————————— Real-life

Recall/Recognition ——————————- Construction/Application

Teacher-structured ————————————- Student-structured

Indirect Evidence ——————————————– Direct Evidence

The Givercraft course would be performing a task with direct evidence. After building in Minecraft students had to share on a Wiki screen shots and a write up of what they created showing evidence of learning.


Callison, D. (1998). Authentic Assessment. School Library Media Activities Monthly, 14(5), 42. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/aaslpubsandjournals/slr/edchoice/SLMQ_AuthenticAssessment_InfoPower.pdf

Mueller, J. (2005). The authentic assessment toolbox: Enhancing student learning through online faculty development. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 1(1), 1-7. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from http://jfmueller.faculty.noctrl.edu/toolbox/whatisit.htm

Wiggins, Grant (1990). The case for authentic assessment. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 2(2). Retrieved March 29, 2015 from http://PAREonline.net/getvn.asp?v=2&n=2

Reflection Week 9

I am way off track and I have caught the procrastination bug. I think it’s because I am feeling overwhelmed in my personal and professional life. Usually at least one of my worlds is spinning correctly. I will get back on track because I want to complete my EDET courses and enjoy my summer. The essential question for week nine got my gears spinning. Thinking and reading about PBL it all sounds good, but actually putting PBL to work in a classroom sounds like a lot of work. Another thing I have come to realize about PBL is that a teacher really has to know the concepts they are teaching, but I guess that’s why the term “depth of knowledge” is used. PBL is something I am constantly striving for, but I guess my struggle is how to relate the mini concepts I have to teach to a bigger real world concept. I enjoy allowing my students to be creative, but it’s my own creativity that I lack.   Creating the PBL unit for this class will hopefully help me start thinking more creatively in terms how can I get my students to learn about fractions but in a PBL way.

#diffimooc week 9 PBL Structures

What practical structures could we use to implement PBL in our classrooms?

Begin with the End in Mind:

In a PBL classroom teachers start with what they want the students to learn and they look at an overall unit of learning. With this type of structure it requires teachers to understand and know the concepts they need to teach. Also with PBL teachers are trying to relate the concepts to other content areas and/or real world concepts.


Group work:

PBL requires students to collaborate and communicate what they are learning. The teacher’s role is to facilitate and monitor the groups because students may not be used to working in groups effectively. Instructors should also encourage groups to set group expectations and classroom norms. According to Ertmer & Simons (2006), “Throughout the process, the teacher monitors and guides students’ progress by overseeing the management of small student groups, keeping students focused on important content, and providing ongoing formative feedback.”

Scaffold Student Learning:

Scaffolding is a way teachers can provide students with support in their learning. Scaffolding can be discussions with the teacher, tools, or reading materials. As stated by Ertmer & Simons (2006), “Within problem-based learning, teachers can use scaffolds to accomplish four important goals: 1) initiating students’ inquiry; 2) maintaining students’ engagement; 3) aiding learners with concept integration and addressing misconceptions; and 4) promoting reflective thinking.”

Lastly, the TeachingChannel video SAGE: A Framework for Project-Based Learning shares a framework for incorporating PBL into a classroom. It suggests using the SAGE acronym when planning for PBL:

Student Choice


Global Significance




Asia Society’s International Studies Schools Network. SAGE: A Framework for Project-Based Learning. [Video]. Retrieved March 16 from https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/pbl-sage-framework-asis#

Ertmer, P. A., & Simons, K. D. (2006). Jumping the PBL implementation hurdle: Supporting the efforts of K–12 teachers. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning, 1(1), 5. Retrieved March 16 from http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1005&context=ijpbl&sei-redir=1&referer=https%3A%2F%2Fscholar.google.com%2Fscholar%3Fstart%3D10%26q%3Dimplementing%2BPBL%26hl%3Den%26as_sdt%3D0%2C2#search=%22implementing%20PBL%22

Ge, X., Planas, L. G., & Er, N. (2010). A cognitive support system to scaffold students’ problem-based learning in a web-based learning environment. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning, 4(1), 4. Retrieved March 16 from http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1093&context=ijpbl&sei-redir=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fscholar.google.com%2Fscholar%3Fq%3DScaffolding%2BPBL%26btnG%3D%26hl%3Den%26as_sdt%3D0%252C2#search=%22Scaffolding%20PBL%22

Greening, T. (1998). Scaffolding for success in problem-based learning. Medical Education Online, 3. Retrieved March 16 from http://www.med-ed-online.net/index.php/meo/article/viewFile/4297/4488

Stanford University Newsletter on Teaching. (2001). Speaking of Teaching. Problem-based learning. Winter 2001 Vol.11, No. 1 Retrieved March 15 from http://web.stanford.edu/dept/CTL/cgi-bin/docs/newsletter/problem_based_learning.pdf

Reflection week 8

This week I had to miss the Twitter session on Tuesday, but a few days after I went through and read the feed. It was interesting reading the PBL ideas and getting ideas on what other teachers are using in their classrooms. Tyler asked meaningful PBL questions I liked question 10: “What advice would you give to a teacher who is unsure about PBL?” That’s what it all come down to, how can we make learning equitable in schools? If one teacher is using PBL and one is not, how can we help teacher’s understand the importance of PBL?

For this week’s essential question we looked at the correlation between PBL and DI. Many of us in the Diffimooc course thought PBL and DI went hand in hand. I enjoyed reading Scott’s blog this week, because he wrote about teacher real world skills, which is so important.

#diffimooc Week 8: PBL + DI

How does project-based-learning lend itself to differentiation in the classroom?

From what I have read and my experiences with differentiated instruction (DI) and project-based learning (PBL) theories the two go hand and hand. In a DI and PBL classroom the teacher needs to know the students background, educational needs, and interests. In a DI classroom having students work in groups can help students learn better. A major part of PBL is working in groups and collaborating with other students. According to Miller (2012), “We all know that heterogeneous grouping works, but sometimes homogenous grouping can be an effective way to differentiate in a project. Sometimes in a novel- or literature-based PBL project, it might be appropriate to differentiate by grouping into reading level.”

Many times in PBL there is student choice. In the online article Seven Essentials for Project-Based Learning follows a teacher Ms. McIntyre. Ms. McIntyre’s class project looked at water-borne bacterium and bacterium’s effects on humans, and disease prevention and treatment. During Ms. McIntyre’s project students choose to develop media kits, public service announcements, web pages, brochures, and letters to government and industry officials. As stated by Miller (2012), “Another essential component of PBL is student voice and choice, both in terms of what students produce and how they use their time. Specifically to products, you can utilize multiple intelligences to create summative assessments or products that allow students to show what they know in a variety of ways.”

Assessment is a key part of DI and PBL. As stated by McCarthy (2011), It’s important to track student progress before the summative assessment. Getting student feedback through formative assessment is important. It gives student voice for ownership. A quick way to check for understanding is the thumbs up, thumbs to the side, thumbs down method. Thumbs up means I get it and I am ready to move on. Thumb to the side means I’m doing pretty good, but I could move on. Thumbs down means I need help. By doing quick formative checks allows a teacher to differentiate for their students who are not ready to move on and who need more help.


Buck Institute for Education. (2011, November 18). Differentiated instruction and pbl. Retrieved March 6, 2015 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Grd_ozJQE_E

David, J.L. (2008). What research says about …/project-based learning. Retrieved March 6, 2015 from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational_leadership/feb08/vol65/num05/Project-Based_Learning.aspx

Larmer, J and Mergendoller, J.R. (2010). Seven essentials for project-based learning. Retrieved March 6, 2015 from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational_leadership/sept10/vol68/num01/Seven_Essentials_for_Project-Based_Learning.aspx

Miller, A. (2012, February 8). Differentiated instruction in project-based learning. Retrieved March 6, 2015 from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/differentiated-instruction-strategies-pbl-andrew-miller