Project based learning

Project based learning(PBL) and Challenged based learning(CBL) how would I use them in my classroom? Buck Institute for Education defines standards-focused PBL as a systematic teaching method that engages students in learning knowledge and skills through an extended inquiry process structured around complex, authentic questions and carefully designed products and tasks. Challenge Based Learning was developed by Apple and is defined as an engaging multidisciplinary approach to teaching and learning that encourages students to leverage the technology they use in their daily lives to solve real-world problems through efforts in their homes, schools and communities.

In many ways PBL and CBL seem similar. CBL seems to leave the choice of topic open for the students to decide where as PBL begins with the teacher looking at the standards and developing a “driving question” that will hook the students and guide the research. There are elements of both that are important for teachers and schools to incorporate into the curriculum. Students are more engaged and generally learn more when they have a choice in their learning. Our lower elementary classes have used Daily Five the past two years for our language arts structure. The students work on building stamina and learning strategies to become better readers. They are given a choice of Read to Self, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, Work on Writing or Word Work. All students are fully engaged in reading and writing during the language arts time. The teacher circulates and has individual conferences with students or works with small groups on a strategy. Students also learn how to choose a “just right” book. It has exciting to watch the students grow as readers and writers along with taking responsibility for their own learning. I have also used a modified “Daily Math.” There are mini lessons and some group activities there is also opportunities for students to make a choice in their learning. As my understanding of PBL expands I hope to incorporate more projects into my curriculum.

At the end of April I had introduced a project to my students. We were going to create an aquarium in our classroom that other students and parents could come and see. The students did the project and set up the aquarium but unfortunately I had to go to the States for a family emergency and was unable to see the final project or the work as it progressed. I heard that the students did an excellent job and am looking forward to doing the project again this year. I know in preparation for the project I need to help students develop good communication and collaboration skills along with teaching them good research skills.

One thought on “Project based learning

  1. Sounds like a fun project and it’s a shame you missed it! But feels like you laid a strong enough foundation so they can do it on their own (which is kind of the goal when you think about it).

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