GTCC Golden Apple News
"Golden" Apple  

                        By Diana Knudson        November, 2017


I read many articles written by Mind/Shift.  Several schools are looking at Project Based Learning (PBL). An article titled How to Trigger Students’ Inquiry Through Projects gives a project design process step-by-step.


·        Identify Project-worthy Concepts.  “What important and enduring concepts are fundamental to the subjects I teach?  Identify four or five BIG concepts for each subject.”  Diana talking:  I always found this to be the most daunting task and found I liked to work in a team to identify ideas that would work in all of our content areas in middle schools.  Doing this step led us to many great integrated projects.

·        Explore the Significance and Relevance of these topics.  “What should students remember about this topic in 5 years? Think beyond school and ask:  In what ways is this concept important and enduring?”   Diana talking:  We often found that this step would be done along with step 1. 

·        Find Real-life Contests--Look closely at the list you have.  Who are people and professions who engage in that topic?  See if you can list five to seven professions for each concept.

·        Engage Critical Thinking.  As you begin to imagine these projects coming to life, ask yourself, what might you ask of students?  Consider how you can engage critical thinking by asking students to:

o   Compare and contrast

o   Predict

o   Make a well-founded judgment or informed decision

o   Understand causal relationships (cause and effect)

o   Determine how parts relate to the whole (systems)

o   Identify patterns or trends

o   Examine perspectives and alternate points of view

o   Extrapolate to create something new

o   Evaluate reliability of sources

Diana talking:  Yes, those are the kind of thinking we talk about when we discuss critical thinking.  Critical thinking is true mental acrobatics and does not look like  worksheets and multiple choice tests.  This is a good planning model for PBL.


·        Remember to include colleagues, students, parents, and other experts in your planning.  Any project gets better and better the more people you can involve.


Article:MindShift ( July, 2013


Also, a useful link for your technology coordinator regarding your district’s website,  This site lets you run your website to see how ADA compliant it is for disabilities.  It has errors and recommendations.


Time to have a drawing.  Send your name by e-mail to Brianna so you have the chance to win a $100 gift certificate.  I appreciate your work so very much.  Thanks to all of you who love and care for all of our children.    Diana




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Upcoming Committee Meetings & Events... 



November 2017
Reading Committee Meeting 3D International Great Falls
Math Committee Meeting 3D International Great Falls
Reading Committee Meeting 3D International Great Falls
December 2017
Math Committee Meeting 3D International Great Falls
Reading Committee Meeting 3D International Great Falls



Web Resources, Grants and Other News...

STREAM Online Module Calendar

 Standards-Based Teaching Renewing Educators Across Montana (STREAM) will offer over 25 online, mini-courses during the 2017-2018 school year.  Courses are designed to help K-12 mathematics teachers improve their knowledge of mathematics, deepen their understanding of our state standards, and engage their students in meaningful learning of mathematics. STREAM modules are free and teachers can earn 15 OPI renewal units for successful completion.   You can learn more by reading the STREAM Online Module Calendar and the STREAM Online Module Descriptions.


Please join us online by signing up for a course.  Please help us get the word out by distributing this information widely to K-12 mathematics teachers in your district. Thank you!!

The STREAM Leadership Team

Jennie Luebeck – Montana State University

Matt Roscoe – University of Montana

Lisa Scott – Billings Public Schools


Resorce links from PBS and Sesame Street on discussing trauma with young children. 



Another link


Better Lesson - Master Teacher Lessons for Math, Science, ELA, and blended subject areas. 

Free Activities for Teaching Science and Math With Music, a new website from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and the NYU MusEDLab, features free resources to help teachers incorporate music in science and math lessons. The activities and apps are designed for all students, kindergarten through college. Subjects covered include geometry and physics, among many others, and all lessons teach students about the strong relationship between music and STEM learning.

Exploratorium Science Snacks Hands-On Activities

Created by the Exploratorium, Science Snacks "are tabletop exhibits or explorations of natural phenomena that teachers or students can make using common, inexpensive, readily available materials." There are hundreds of hands-on activities in the collection, and they're created to be easily digested with a short photo/video intro, a materials list, helpful hints, and advice.

Check out News ELA Nonfiction Literacy and Current Events.  Free leveled news, primary sources, and more, with standards-aligned formative assessments. 


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