This is an article about the seven essential steps for successful project based learning. This article is a great introduction to PBL because it makes a clear distinction between traditional "projects" (if you can even call them that) and the type of projects that would result from year long inquiry. One distinction that I found to be pivotal was that a project is not successful unless it caters to the students' interests and it fulfills an educational purpose. Giving the students as much agency as possible when it comes to the parameters of the project, I found to be a somewhat risky, but progressive method to take. Risky in two ways: for the possibility of a student doing the bare minimum, or the possibility of becoming overwhelmed by the freedom. The idea of adjusting the level of agency that the students had in deciding what they wanted to do for the project was a good way to strike a balance between the two types of students mentioned above. I also really liked the idea of presenting the projects to an audience other than just the teacher. It not only is additional motivation for the student, but will help promote communication and demonstrate their knowledge and mastery of the content. Having their work seen and appreciated by others will instill a sense of pride in the student for all that they have accomplished over the course of the project, which in itself is a wonderful thing!
Visit Elementary School classrooms who have begun to adapt to the new Common Core State Standards. Learn what changes Elementary School teachers are making in their teaching techniques to adapt to the new standards.
ReadBox is a decorated shelf at Kensington Elementary School (Georgetown School District) created by librarian Jenny Cox.
Emily Deak's insight:
As technology advances, I think that we as teachers have to try harder and harder to keep kids wanting to read books in their traditional form; the last thing they need is another thing to be electronic. I like the idea of taking something that kids are familiar with, such as a RedBox DVD rental machine, and applying it to something that is deemed traditional, such as a paper back book. It is a way to blend the new with the old, and shed a new light on reading for kids. I think this would be especially appealing to readers who may be overwhelmed by the volumes of books in which they would find in the library. It is limited in its selection, and the addition of the photos on the front helps the give the students something to either look for or forward to!
A fun set of Applications (Many Free) for Project Based Teaching and Learning. The contemporary classroom can be rather different than what we were used to
Emily Deak's insight:
I'm so glad to have found this! Even though I have grown up in what is considered to be a tech- savvy generation, I am not as in tuned with technology as I feel I should be. There are so many educational websites online, that navigating and finding to good ones can sometimes be a struggle. This is a great resource for people like me who need a jumping off point in the technological world!
You can't tear students at Newsome Park Elementary School away from their schoolwork when it involves in-depth investigations with real-world applications. S...
Emily Deak's insight:
I absolutely love this example of Project Based Learning at Newsome Park Elementary School in Virginia! When I was first learning about PBL, I connected to the philosophy behind it, but was having a difficult time imagining how I could apply this to the classroom beyond your typical unit long project. Upon seeing this video however, I was amazed at how attainable PBL became.
Majors that I took away from this video:
1. Active learning and real world application of what the students are learning.
2. Inviting guest speakers. I think it is really important for students to understand that no one has all the answers (including their teachers). It opens the door for inquiry on the students behalf and that is setting up great habits for the future!
3. Not limiting our students. When I first watched this video, I was amazed at the topics that the students were researching; topics that I would have assumed would be far out of the range for a child their age. The beauty in what Newsome Park is doing, is presenting complex information in a way that is still applicable to their students. So learning about stocks by creating their own businesses and buying/ selling stocks in it. It was eye opening to me because as a future educator, it would be a huge detriment to put a cap on what I thought students were capable of learning.
All in all, I found this video on PBL to be incredibly helpful and a valuable resource for applying Project Based Learning in my classroom in the future.
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