So, what is this Project Based Learning (PBL) I sometimes hear about? Project Based Learning is all about giving students a reason to learn. I love PBL because students are able to practice and refine so many 21st Century Skills while while gaining proficiency in the fourth grade standards.
PBL is awesome because kids get lots of CHOICE. Choice is key. Don't we all love to have a say in the way we do things? Kids feel powerful when they can have a say in how they learn and how they show what they've learned. PBL is all about collaboration. Is there a more critical skill for our students to refine? Kids have an authentic reason to work on their spoken and written communication skills when constructing meaning with their peers.
As you know, we're fortunate at Clough to have so much technology in the classrooms. (The Clough PTO has spoiled us teachers and our students rotten! But we're so very thankful!) In the midst of a project, students decide how they'll use technology. They analyze the task and take into stock the tools they have. All of our students have used technology as a tool to conduct research. Some are opting to use technology to construct meaning and to produce their entire projects. Others are using technology to enhance their projects.
In the final steps, the students participate in peer review and self-evaluation. Each team evaluates their classmates project against a set of criteria. Once the teams receive feedback from their peers they use the feedback to help them evaluate their own work. They take time to consider how they can take the feedback they've received and use it to have a positive influence on future work.
In the end, the standards are met. The students become more creative, more thoughtful, more deliberate as they organize and make decisions, better listeners, learn to compromise, learn to accept criticism, practice self-reflection, develop written and oral communication skills, hone their tech skills and learn to take pride in their work. But honestly, the best outcome...kids are having FUN at school. Imagine that! It is good to be a kid learning in the MURSD. It is great to be a teacher here too!
Check out this student project. They used smore to produce a digital flier. Use the bar on the side to scroll down through their project.
View another project where students collaborated using iPads (donated by the Clough PTO) and Google Slides.
Teaching has been my superpower for 21 years!