Middle School Facilitators

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Trisha Burns

  • What is your “WHY” for teaching? I love junior high students, and I love math.  However my “WHY” comes when both are combined.  There is something special about having a light bulb go off on a math concept with a junior high student!
  • Area of Expertise: My expertise is in middle school math, but my team’s focus and my recent experience is developing integrated projects with two or more disciplines involved.
  • PBL Experience: I’ve taught in a PBL classroom since 2009. The first three years I was in a traditional school and taught PBL in my math classroom only.  Since 2012 I’ve been a part of a fully immersive PBL culture school.
  • Favorite aspect of PBL: My favorite aspect of PBL is when the students take the lead and feel the sense of accomplishment when their plan succeeds.
  • Why do you enjoy facilitating? I enjoy facilitating because it helps the students reach their full potential. They don’t need to “sit and get,” but they do need someone who will help keep them on the right track and I love to be that person!

Coleman Marshall

  • What is your “WHY” for teaching? Often students think that they are trapped inside a box, that they can only do this and not do that. I teach in order to show students that they don’t have to live inside that box. Also, from a Social Studies perspective, I want students to leave my classroom understanding themselves, our country, our world, and gain those critical skills that the Social Studies offer to make students college and career ready.
  • Area of expertise: Social Studies (6-12), Community Partners, Designing Exhibition Nights
  • PBL Experience: I have taught with PBL for seven years, although I didn’t realize I was using PBL until my third year. I have facilitated class projects, collaborative projects within my department and with other content areas, as well as plan and execute a PBL exhibition night. My highlight would be creating a new city flag for Lexington, Kentucky.
  • Favorite aspect of PBL: Personally, I love the student ownership of the learning. PBL offers students the opportunity to take control of their learning, and also show that their education does matter. It is hard for students to conceptualize why studying a particular subject at this time matters, but PBL offers not only a benefit of learning for the future, but it also shows students the relevance of learning at the present time.
  • Why do you enjoy facilitating? My favorite aspect of facilitating is seeing teachers become excited about the PBL process. Some teachers are ready day one, for others it might take a couple of days, but when I hear teachers say, “I can’t wait to implement this project,” then I know we have done our job well. I also enjoy getting to know different educators from across the country, and seeing their talents shine through this model.


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