Angela's Metallinou Learning Diary "Introducing Project-Based Learning in your Classroom"

My name is Angela Metallinou. I am a German teacher and I am teaching for about 20 years in a very old educational institution, the Arsakeia - Tositseia schools of Greece, that celebrates this year, 180 years of educational contribution to the Greek educational system (1836-2016). I am also a graduate of this school and I am very proud of it!

My school is a home to me...it means a lot to me...I teach students of the secondary school, German as a second foreign language. I try to implement ICTs in my daily teaching, so to prepare them for the needed skills of the 21st century and not only. My school has a lot of computer rooms, where my eTwinning classes prepare out their projects. We do also have a tablet classroom with 30 devices since last year, where I am trying a lot of projects with various apps, like Quiver, etc. I don't own a classroom... I have to rotate every hour, something that annoys me, because I cannot organize first of all me and in addition to that my kind of teaching...

The Arsakeion school in Palaio Psychiko, Athens, Greece

In my little spare time, as I am a mother of four, I struggle many things, like salsa dancing, singing (semiprofessional), reading and getting involved into various webinars about ICΤs and innovation in German teaching and not only. My passion is travelling with this fish boat every summer in Kefallonia... I like to discover new beaches and unknown shores...

At school I try to do many projects with my students...

For the last three years I am studying and working hard on the implementation of Gamification not only in my daily teaching, but also enlightening colleagues and teachers with webinars or workshops. "Gamification in Education" is my Motto and I try to spread it all around the educational community wherever... I feel also obliged about it, because I have been distinguished 2015 with prize award from the European Schoolnet Academy via Microsoft. It all started with a very known German board game, that celebrated 2014 its 100th anniversary... "Mensch ärgere dich nicht"!

I liked something that dear colleague Christopher Mouratidis uploaded in our facebook group... things I experience every day in my school and in the broader educational community: "The educational system is still, after so many years based on the teacher's lecture although significant progress has been made the last 10 years or so... I lecture, you listen, read, do your homework. We are reluctant to engage students in the learning procedure because we think they are not mature enough for that." Having been brought up in Germany for some years I always try to change that in my classes, by introducing game or project based learning, but it is often absolutely difficult to persuade students to collaborate and work on certain projects... I struggle a lot to make them get engaged with everything they are doing, to love being at school and research, study, produce, discuss with each other etc. ... furthermore make them be prepared for the near future... be confident citizens of the 21st century..

module 1

What is PBL and why use it

"PBL is all about the process and the learning that happens as part of this process. In other words the project is the main course. "Doing projects" however, is often an add-on at the end of a topic that has been studied in class, in other words the learning of curriculum content happens before the project work even starts. The project is then the culmination of that work where the students apply their knowledge or delve deeper into the topic."

Why use PBL?

It improves:

  • critical thinking
  • large scale multi disciplinary
  • creativity and innovation
  • communication and collaboration
  • information literacy
  • media literacy
  • initiative and self - direction

P2P - Reflections on our current teaching practice

What teaching strategy do you use most commonly?

Active Learning - Active Learning is anything that students do in a classroom other than merely passively listening to an instructor's lecture. Research shows that active learning improves students' understanding and retention of information and can be very effective in developing higher order cognitive skills such as problem solving and critical thinking. Collaborative/Cooperative Learning - Cooperative and collaborative learning are instructional approaches in which students work together in small groups to accomplish a common learning goal.They need to be carefully planned and executed, but they don't require permanently formed groups.

Games/Experiments/Simulations: Games, experiments and simulations can be rich learning environments for students. Students today have grown up playing games and using interactive tools such as the Internet, phones, and other appliances. Games and simulations enable students to solve real-world problems in a safe environment and enjoy themselves while doing so.

What do YOU do most of the time in the classroom?

It depends from the students and our learning goals, the curriculum, their learning needs... Every September and after the first three or four lessons I can understand, what my students are about to do in the following year and how to find the way to handle them, so we can collaborate and work on the learning material and the projects I would like to accomplish with them... PBL is my priority and of course my favourite Game Based Learning, especially in classes with difficult to handle students...

What do the students do most of the time?

Like most students in the world, my students are also likely to avoid anything that has to do with learning.. they skip homework, typical grammar or vocabulary exercises, etc...

Do you feel your current approach could be easily complemented with a PBL approach?
Without any doubt!!!!!!!!!!!
Do you sometimes have the problem that students don't remember what they "learned" the day before? How do you address this? Do you already use some of the PBL approaches?

Yes, I do address this kind of problems... I mostly try to solve it with Project and Game based learning... instead of demanding many revises, we do projects and we have great fun!!!!

In the following video I am showing the development of a collaborative project between two German language teachers, (my co-worker Melina Laina and me) employed at secondary schools-a public and a private one- in Athens, Greece, who have introduced gaming in the foreign language classroom through the use of the classic German board game "Mensch, ärgere dich nicht" (known as “Ludo”). The celebration of 100 years since its invention inspired the introduction of this specific board game in German (L2) language classes as the means to treating grammatical phenomena in a playful way. Each school worked on the introduction of the board game in a similar teaching and project workflow manner.

Finish your reflection by identifying a class and a subject topic that you teach which you can use to experiment with PBL.

I teach German at the secondary level... so usually I face students from 12 to 15... I don't own a classroom, so I have to rotate every hour, something that irritates me, because it is not easy to organize my lesson plan.. sometimes in the middle of the teaching hour, I wish I had this or that equipment, tool, play or whatever with me to reschedule my whole teaching and helping my students out with their learning problems.. That is why I try to implement GBL and now trying more to experiment with PBL... lets say my class has 12 students at age 12, who are learning German as a foreign language, in four hours per week.... they had German in the primary level, but never paid attention to their teacher, who just lectured and asked them to do exercises, although she was very young... they never went outside the classroom, never used any devices, never brought their smartphones or tablets in the teaching hour.... and they are very rude to her... next year they have to confront the secondary level and new teachers in every subject...

Components of Good PBL

Project Based Learning

  • Real - World Connection
  • Core to Learning
  • Structured Collaboration
  • Student Driven
  • Multifaceted assessment

Components of Good PBL

"Share your view on which of the 5 components (or keys as they are called in the video) you feel will be the most challenging for you to realize and why. Is it effective collaboration because your classroom space does not lend itself well to group work? Or is it assessment because your curriculum requires very regular and rigid summative assessments that you are worried will get in the way of PBL? Or maybe you are more concerned about the passivity of your students in lessons and getting them to take the initiative? Share your thoughts, concerns, reflections, etc."

The Driving Question

That' s how a challenging question could be...

P2P - Your PBL Design: Formulating your driving question

DQ is something difficult to start working on.. It is a great challenge for me making big thoughts about starting a project, by setting driving questions, when I always make projects spontaneously and acting and taking advantage of the original reactions of my students. When I decide to implement a project in a German learning class, I always decide it, thinking about how this implementation would help them in expanding their German language knowledge, how it would suits them in their age and learning condition, so not to feel bored after a while, etc. Now I have to think about something different new and that frightens me, that maybe until now I was acting wrong!!! As almost every one of my students has an iPhone, smartphone or a tablet I will work on the BYOD method and try an innovative for the Greek educational standards project with this Driving Question, that we are going to develop the whole school year...

My Driving Question to my German learning students: "In what way would apps on your portable devices increase your German learning ability?"

My Driving Question to my German learning students:"In what way would apps on your portable devices increase your German learning ability?"

I think the question is open-ended and will allow my students to develop more than one reasonable answer, while the question will spark their curiosity and engage them trying to find applications on their devices about German language learning and not only, download them and try them out, exchange opinions, make serious use of them and showing results, present them in class... I cannot think now of something more engaging... My DQ is aligned to the learning goals identified, because to answer it my students will need to gain the intended knowledge, understanding, and skills they already have and the ones they will get while working on the Language during the school year. I don't know if it is difficult to answer by using Google... when I tipped the question in the Google research box I couldn't find any answer, but only links to various apps or sites with language apps... maybe my DQ is right!????

Module 2

2. Developing effective collaboration for PBL

"COMING TOGETHER IS A BEGINNING, KEEPING TOGETHER IS PROGRESS, WORKING TOGETHER IS SUCCESS"

Henry Ford

Developing effective collaboration for PBL

"Share a picture that shows or represents collaboration for you, together with a brief explanation of why you have chosen this picture"

"In unity we stand strong"
This is our common blog, where we present our work so far...always under construction... with so much collaboration, we hardly find time to update it and upload our work...

What is effective collaboration?

Last year Deirdre Butler came to Athens, because of a conference that Microsoft organized and I participated... I was so thrilled having the opportunity to see her talk to us educators and then to meet her and tell her all my enthusiasm about her work, that has inspired me a lot! Although my English were terrible, because of my shyness, she addressed me so patiently and talked to me.. I think this is a moment in my adult life I will never forget!

As a German teacher, who was brought up in Germany and learned to collaborate with other students, it is really not so easy for me as a Teacher in Greece giving a task and struggling to make my students "work together, give feedback to each other, share responsibility, take responsibilities about the content of their task, work independently" etc, as Deirdre Butler so nice explained to us in the previous video... the Greek educational system has never ever gave opportunities in the curriculum in former years to make generations of students learn to cooperate and collaborate... now many teachers, that have participated in many MOOCs of eTwinnning or the European schoolnet Academy have changed our educational view and see all these wonderful results a task can have, when introducing in the right way to our students the collaboration method...

Effective Collaboration for PBL inside the Classroom

"Collaboration does not just happen, it needs to be learned and we can provide our students with the environment and the scaffolding to help them become effective collaborators."

Finding collaboration partners outside the classroom

"A key part of PBL is establishing a link to the "real-world", involving audiences or partners from outside of the classroom or even better outside of the school"
"The 4 Cs that we must teach our students...critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity with PBL."

P2P - Building your PBL Learning Design

Learning German through various mobile applications

Module 3

3. Developing student-driven activities for PBL

"Next to developing collaborative skills of students, another key part of PBL is for students to take ownership of tasks, initiative at solving problems, and most importantly to stick with these tasks and problems until they have come to a satisfactory conclusion. In other words, we try to develop a student-driven environment in which the energy and persistence of what is happening in the classroom does not primarily come from us but from the students."

"Resilience - staying with problems Briefly describe a situation in your professional or personal life where you were first unsuccessful but because you stuck with it you succeeded in the end. Finish by identifying why you stuck with the problem/task and did not give up. Please, always remember to mention your first name, last name and country of origin. Anonymous comments do not encourage dialogue."

"Two years ago I came to the idea to implement a famous German board game "Mensch ärgere dich nicht!" to my daily teaching, not only to present German culture (Landeskunde), as it celebrated its 100th anniversary, but also to exercise Grammar ("würfeln", Akkusativ, Ja-Nein-Doch Antworten, etc.). I noticed that some of my superiors werent pleased about that, as for the whole idea of implementing Gamification in my art of teaching, because my school is an old traditional educational institution... I was very disappointed and many times I thought about giving up all my attempts to help with gamification mostly disordered students of mine... but when I saw the happiness and satisfaction of learning more easily German on their faces, I persisted and did many things, without letting anyone know... I cared only about my students... I presented my whole lesson plan in a workshop during a Language congress my school organized after a while... not only did I get congrats from authorities and colleagues, I also had the chance to find an excellent collaborator, with whom I am expanding my activities and my participations at congresses and seminars, etc. Now I am developing as a lecturer and workshop coordinator myself, something that gives me a lot of energy and confidence... Carpe diem is my motto, as "listen to your heart" also... What makes me more happy is the thing, that my implemention has affected more other German teachers, who introduce this board game in their classes and give me feedback... my idea has inspired other inspired other teachers as we!!!!"

Student Resilience - Reverse: Brainstorming

Identify how we as teachers can weaken our student's confidence and independence. Use your own and others' reflections to help you create a classroom environment that supports students to become confident and independent learners. Of course, as usual, don't forget to add your reflections to your Learning Diary. Please, always remember to mention your first name, last name and country of origin. Anonymous comments do not encourage dialogue.

As time flows I am realising that it is getting over and over difficult to write and fill out my diary... June is maybe the month, that schools end, but we teachers and educational stuff are exhausted and still have much to do, preparing our thoughts for the next year... So that is the reason I am commenting so little... of course I feel the excitement being part of these MOOC and having the opportunity to study and learn so many wonderful things, but sometimes I wish it comes to an end...

MOdule 4

4. Assessing PBL

"Assessment should not only be about giving a grade at the end but it should be an on-going process, where teachers and students alike assess their learning as they work on the projects."
Angela Metallinou/Athens, Greece: Unfortunately like most of my colleagues in my country I am not free to assess my students in any way I want... it is not only that I have to follow a strict testing system with regular standardised tests every few months, but it is also common sense here, that we get assessed to get grades and not to see our efforts, our lack of knowledge, etc. Usually we teachers prepare trimester tests or once a year in some subjects we give a general test, to see how the students of this specific class of all Arsakeia - Tositseia schools comprehend the specific subject... Sometimes I collaborate with my colleagues, but our tests are mostly too specified...

4.1 Teachmeet - Mon 27th June 18:30h

4.2 Embedding Assessment into PBL

4.3 Peer Assessment for PBL

The process of peer assessment or peer review can be a powerful learning activity for the reviewer and the reviewee.

4.4 Creating & Using Rubrics for PBL Assessment

Rubrics are grading tools that can be used for summative as well as formative assessment

I will try to make a rubric, although I am to tired to thing about criteria in this imaginary LD I am preparing... I am "stealing" ideas from the videos I uploaded...

Rubric for my DQ

I practised doing a rubric as I imagined... but then I remembered the Rubistar.tool and did one new.. of course it is easier to do it with this tool.. these rubrics are something new to me... it is a challenge I have to face next year...

I cannot believe the MOOC reached his end... in the last parts of the 4th Module, I felt exhausted, because although summer vacations have started, I had in mind to finish my LD, to review the LDs of my colleagues, etc... I have to admit that the last two weeks I rushed through the activities just to meet the deadlines. But, I am grateful to Topalidou Katerina, Kornelia Lohynova, Bart Verswijvel, Naír Carrera and Benjamin Hertz for their great support and help... Every MOOC contributed by them is something wonderful.. you learn so many new things, that helps a lot in daily teaching... of course I have to thank also my dear colleagues, who's reviews I will take in notice, to improve my LD as soon as I accomplish in class.

I dedicate you this hit, that I am hearing and dancing passionately... Have an nice summer!!!!

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