Blytheville High School teachers Dr. Paula Williams (left) and Kristy Brasfield will be two of the presenters at the New Tech Annual Conference July 15-19 in Orlando. Williams’ presentation will be “Project Theater - Designed for Microsoft Access”. Brasfield will have two presentations, “PBL and AP: An Uncommon Combination” and “Effective Project Planning”.
By DAVID COOKE
Blytheville Schools PR Dir.
Kristy Brasfield and Dr. Paula Williams have been very interested in the New Tech process while working at Blytheville High School New Tech. This summer Brasfield, social studies instructor, will present two sessions and Williams, Career and Technical Education teacher, will present one session at the New Tech Annual Conference July 15-19 at the Hilton Orlando.
Brasfield’s first session, “PBL and AP: An Uncommon Combination”, will provide an overview of strategies teachers can use to conduct successful projects in an Advanced Placement history course. Suggested strategies could also be used in an integrated AP History and AP English course. She believes teachers will come away with a handful of strategies to develop and implement project-based learning in AP courses that assist students in preparation to score a “3” or higher on AP exams. The session will also introduce AP with WE Service, offered by CollegeBoard that enables students to conduct community service projects in their AP courses.
“The goals of this session will be to help teachers gain the skills necessary to conduct PBL in AP courses,” Brasfield stated. “Teachers will leave the session with a handful of strategies, ideas and resources to design projects in AP History courses, with the ability to use their new knowledge in integrated AP History and English courses. Another goal will be to introduce teachers to the newly offered AP with WE Service program offered by CollegeBoard that blends PBL with AP Key Concepts and community service.
Brasfield hopes to show teachers that PBL is possible in AP courses and holds potential for students to become successful on future AP exams.
“I will introduce participants to AP with WE Service, and I will share related articles, classroom activities and lesson plans that will help teachers create project-based learning projects within their AP classrooms. I will also introduce teachers to the online community where colleagues collaborate and share resources and ideas.
“Advanced Placement already requires rigorous, college-level work by combining AP with PBL and service learning. Students will apply their academic learning to real-life settings and situations by being active in meaningful community-based service. Teachers will guide students as they work on problems that make academic learning relevant while enhancing their leadership and social skills, analytic ability and civic responsibility. I will also share a project that I have completed in my AP US History and/or AP World History that I hope will give participants more ideas for their toolbox.”
2nd Session, “Effective
BHS New Tech director Robin Sneed stated that Brasfield has been recognized at BHS as a teacher leader who specializes in sharing valuable resources, and being asked to present will only provide added exposure to BHS New Tech and invaluable experience for Brasfield. “She has been recognized by the New Tech Network as both a New Tech Certified Teacher and a New Tech Certified Trainer,” said Sneed. “As an NTN trainer she is extremely qualified to present these sessions, but is uniquely qualified to present the "PBL and AP: An Uncommon Combination" session.
“Ms. Brasfield is AP-certified in two subjects, and is an AP World History reader as well as a consultant from the College Board with the AP with WE service. Additionally, she is currently working on her doctorate in Educational Leadership.”
In Brasfield’s second session, “Effective Project Planning”, she plans to guide teachers to plan effective projects using New Tech Resources and the Project Planning toolkit. Her intention is for teachers to walk away with a list of resources and skills to make the most use of the New Tech Project Planning Toolkit. Teachers will be guided through the steps to use content frameworks and backward planning to develop a high-quality project. Brasfield believes this session can be useful for any content or grade level.
“The goals are for teachers to walk away with the skills necessary to develop high-quality projects using ECHO resources and the Project Planning Toolkit,” Brasfield added. “The objectives are to explain the different sections of the toolkit, help teachers navigate resources located in the ECHO library and how content standards can guide project creation.”
The session will allow teachers to interact with ECHO and the Project Planning Toolkit, browsing ECHO resources and completing their own project toolkit. The session will allow for participant-led discussion and time for questions. Teachers will participate in small groups discussions around project topics and hands-on activities with the toolkit.
“My hope is for participants to walk away knowing that Advanced Placement courses and project-based learning can and do work well together,” she said. “Although AP courses are designed for students to learn the content and skills necessary to pass an AP exam to possibly earn college credit, this can be done by implementing PBL and service learning.
“I want participants to leave this session with at least one idea for a PBL project that they can implement in their classroom. I hope participants learn how to design a project using the Project Planning Toolkit, their AP Key Concepts and AP test skills that are high quality and rigorous.”
For Microsoft Access
Williams’ presentation, “Project Theater-Designed for Microsoft Access”, was selected as a “Grab and Go”, a 30-minute informational session with concrete takeaways. “Project Theater” for Williams began as an authentic idea for her database students to use the content they were learning in Access 2016, but (Drama teacher) Scott Ferrell told her about all the props theater has and how they were not organized. “So during the previous school year my classes took photos of as many of the props as they could,” Williams said. “Students were asked to view Mr. Ferrell as their client, create questions to ask him about the needs of the database and to create a professional e-mail to him that included all that information.”
She added that her students classified the props by category and began creating a database. They exhibited the use of each of the four objects found in an Access database, and the final product was a presentation that included each object created.
Sneed said the New Tech Network has a “plethora of resources” for content area courses, but not as many for CTE courses. “Dr. Williams has been working with (BHS principal) Matthew Swenson to develop ideas for her course, and she has been working through the New Tech Network's badging process to become more skilled in teaching CTE courses using the Project Based Learning model,” Sneed stated. “The session that she is presenting at NTAC this summer is reflective of that work and meets the need of the many CTE teachers in the network who have been wanting more support using PBL in their courses.”
“When I saw the first presentation proposal requests I thought I should submit the theater project because we don't see much that is from career and technical education,” Williams went on to say. “In the end I put the proposal together and submitted it, and I was really excited to get the e-mail in early January to expand on how the project meets the seven high quality criteria of a project. I was really happy to get the e-mail on Jan. 25 that the proposal was accepted. The ‘Grab & Go’ is perfect for my presentation. I'd like teachers to see that we can do authentic PBL in CTE classes and that our ideas can be adapted for PBL.”