Project-Based Learning, or PBL, is an instructional framework that encourages creativity and problem solving, research and inquiry, and prepares students for college and career.
Project-based learning packs help students at grades two, three, four or five to take on roles, such as historian, scientist, artist, business owner or responsible citizen to answer the driving question at the center of each PBL pack.
The most beneficial thing as a teacher with these packs is that they are organized, they are creative, they're engaging and they're easy to use.
Project-Based Learning Packs focus on twenty-first century skills and reading across genres to gain essential language arts and content area knowledge. The packs use a guided inquiry, inclusion model of Project-Based Learning that establishes a set of standards-based topics that students develop to answer a driving question.
I feel like students, through using these packs, will say, "This is the reason why I'm here at school."
First, you build background with an entry event that creates an interest in the topic, and introduces the driving question. You pre-teach key content and academic vocabulary, and you read and anchor text in the form of a leveled book to build a solid foundation of knowledge, before breaking students into small groups to investigate. Students form their small groups to investigate the driving question, using it to frame their research. You choose the teams of students. Each team creates a list of questions to answer with their research, and sets a timeline for the project. Teams evaluate their progress as they work.
Use the Reading and Activity Chart resources in a PBL pack to help students dive into the topics of each pack, that will help them answer the driving question, and help students find and evaluate other resources that are helpful as well. Teams organize their information using a text structure that best supports their project, and develops their presentation to show what they have learned through the course of the project. Then, students present the findings of their projects to other students to practice their presentations. Through a collaborative peer review process, teams fine-tune the presentations before finally presenting to the public. Public audiences, for final presentations, remind students that the project work they're doing has value inside and outside the classroom.
Last, students reflect on the process in writing to potentially identify new topics of inquiry to begin the cycle again.
I think it's really, really important. One of the best things I feel about PBL is, it helps students see what their skillsets, what they can bring to the table. If they're in a group situation, what PBL does, and these PBL packs will do, is to help students recognize that we all can bring something to the table in the creation of a project.
Project-based learning packs can work in any of the three ways to do PBL; fully integrated, separated or partially integrated. The packs include standards for Language Arts, twenty-first century skills and other content areas, such as Science, Social Studies, Math or the Arts, so they fit best with a partially-integrated model.
I actually truly believe that through PBL, and through the careful design of a project, that everybody can shine. Everybody can shine. And a student who gets to shine, it will forever change them.