Sunday, May 22, 2016

Real World. Authentic. Project Based Learning

Engaged, on task and ready to learn from the word go describes Ms. S's classroom.  Students want to be in this class.  Hands on, real world, authentic learning combined with the upbeat and positive Ms. Singleton, made me want to stay too. All day.

The attention to detail around the room was second to none.  On the wall hung visual reminders such as, post reflections on the blog, group job descriptions, think tank location, what critical thinking looks like in each grade to name a few. Impeccable  classroom layout.  Rolling tables and chairs for easy placement.  Learning stations which included 3D Printing, Apple TV, Chromebook and iPad Carts.

Welcome to the world of project based learning. Project based learning units aligned with standards along with real life application.  Let's dive into a few of these projects. The kindergarten kicked off the year learning about communities.  They designed their own Kinderville Community. Using boxes of various shapes and sizes the construction began.  Students engineered roads, buildings, places of learning, complete with lakes and parks.  Look closely and you could find the students (pictures on index cards) around the community. No detail is overlooked in this PBL classroom, student jobs (pictured below) are decided for each project.  Students take their roles seriously. They interview for their positions and share why they would be good in that role.  If they do not get the role, they are encouraged, when trying something new you may find you really enjoy it and are good at it.  Real life learning.

Reflection is a big piece of PBL, students are encouraged to blog about their experiences. as John Dewey reminds us, "We do not learn from experience . . . we learn from reflecting on experience.

Want to learn more about Ms. S's Project Based Learning projects? Visit her on the web.