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Saturday, September 30, 2017

My First Attempt At Project-Based Learning

I have been wanting to implement project-based learning for years! I have read the books, I have attended the trainings, I have followed PBL people and websites. For me, it was just finding a way to squeeze it in with the myriad of things we are expected to teach-even in Kindergarten!

This year didn't start out ideally for us. We started school 2 weeks late because of the hurricane and were supposed to jump into our curriculum beginning with Week 3-so we were already behind. I told my principal that I wanted to start implementing a Genius Hour/PBL type plan every Friday afternoon. I would use different materials and the kids would work in groups to create/invent something based on our unit for the week. Well, the first 2 Fridays passed without me being able to fit it in. I was determined to do it this week.

The unit we were doing was about apples-not really ideal for creating structures, but I really wanted to get started-so we made it work. I started the week with inquiry-what questions do you have about apples? We watched videos about how they are harvested and stored (they can be stored in silos for up to a year by the way-even I learned something new from our research). We read stories about apples and did apple activities all week. Friday afternoon, I split them up into groups, gave each group a different material to use-blocks, legos, etc. I asked them to create a structure that could be used to store apples-what things would they have to consider?

First of all, let me say that I had to walk around the room several times encouraging them to work together and make one structure-everyone just wanted to make their own. After that about half of the groups really embraced the challenge. I asked them to present what they made to their friends and recorded the explanations to post on our Seesaw accounts. I was amazed at some of the considerations they made when building-"here is the entrance", "after the farmer harvests the apples"--this is vocabulary we learned this week.

I didn't take pics of their finished products which I am kicking myself for-but I did take some pics of their work in progress.








It's something I will definitely continue to fit into our curriculum. I think despite their inexperience in working in groups and despite this not really going along with what I am supposed to be teaching :) --it was a great start!



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6 comments :

  1. That's a very impressive start. I was like you, always learning about it and wanting to get going, but finding the time was hard. Even in Grade 1 the biggest struggle was always getting them to build/create with a friend or small group. That seems to be very challenging at this age. I think your idea of having them build a structure to store apples was brilliant!

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  2. Thank you so much Barbara! Well, I know grown-ups who have trouble working on a team together, so.... :)

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  3. I've dabbled in PBL, but more following my gut and what made sense to. me. What professional resources were most helpful for you?
    ~Kelsey

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  4. I've dabbled in PBL, but not very systematically. What professional resources did you find most helpful?
    ~kelsey

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    1. I wish I could suggest someone or something for you. I end up just following the #pbl on Twitter. :) I know Edutopia has written some articles about how to get started.

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    2. Thanks! I've been poking around the internet for resources. I've found some Edutopia articles really helpful!

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