Project based learning helps students develop creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and teamwork.
See how one teacher uses a project-based learning pack to structure a project and organize her class thus motivating and engaging her students.
Project-based learning is not an easy thing to do, but those of us who believe in it know that it's the best way to teach. I do think that the resources provided with the PBL pack did help guide me through every step of a project whether I'm a beginning PBL person or not. I chose My School, My Castle PBL pack because I knew that it was a topic that the kids would really be engaged in.
Third grade students started exploring the idea of community using project-based learning pack My School, My Castle as one part of a larger yearlong project to better understand their own community.
So to begin the exploration of our castles and community PBL we started with an entry event. I basically pulled out a couple activities that would help us see their mental models of castles.
The My School, My Castle pack offers a leveled book as an anchor text that Mrs. Cavazos has students use for partnered reading and guided reading activities.
This building is called a castle. Many castles were built in places that were easy to defend. The people who live in a castle [INAUDIBLE] nobility, Nobility, Nobility or nobles.
I posed the driving question how are castle communities and modern school communities similar or different? And at that point then we used another one of the PBL forms and we brainstormed questions that would come from that driving question. Investigative questions that would actually lead them to creating a project. So we did that as a class and then I broke them into groups. And then as a group they were able to choose either one of the questions we brainstormed or one of their own questions so that their project was a little more focused.
The kings are like the principals.
They both have peasants. 'Cause the students are the lowest of the class and they have to work which is pretty much learn.
Students also use reading and activity resources from the PBL pack and explore other resources to research their topics.
They researched for a week and I kind of guided them so that they were looking for facts on the structures of a castle and the functions of the structures, and the people and the roles that they play kind of organizing their research as they went. I decided to pick the groups but I tried to make the groups as differentiated as possible with different talents represented. We had eight groups with 26 students. Then it does become tricky with eight groups going and one teacher. So then I pull in the parents that can volunteer to come in at that time. When I had the opportunity to observe the kids working together it made me feel great. The kids got along really well.
The classroom jobs. We are working on--yeah, the classroom jobs. We went to a few classrooms and took out only one student and asked them a few questions and we kind of marked if they said yes.
How do schools and castles work together as a community?
Each group kind of took a totally different direction toward representing their knowledge. They planned it totally.
Castles and schools, they both have a kitchen and both of them, they have kind of like a hall and the hall, it goes around.
The parents make the money and also it's the--what do you call it?
Movie night fundraiser?
Yeah, the movie night and fundraisers and the auctions. So just little things like that will help us raise money.
We really covered the gamut of how a person would present their knowledge of a topic.
Why did you decide to ask that question, and why did you decide to do that project to help you answer that question?
We wanted to do it because we wanted to compare the castle structures and the school structures.
It was our chance to have the kids do some constructive criticism of their peers.
It was done I think in a very healthy way and actually the forms that were provided with the PBL pack helped me do that because they were set up so that it was not a final grade or a success or a failure. It was just points that the kids could use to refine their final presentations and their ability to speak in front of an audience, and to answer questions and to explain their thinking. I could tell that the students were thinking about not only what was being presented, but the way in which the presentation was set up and that's a really important skill for 21st Century learners.
So I know they learned a lot. I know they learned a lot of content, but the biggest thing I think they learned are the 21st Century skills that they need and that's the communication and teamwork, and presentation skills, and critical thinking, and the creativity.
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