Project Based Learning

I recently took a course on Project Based Learning.  I learned a lot of things that I want to keep in mind in working on projects for my students.  Here is my reflection:

When I started this course I wasn’t fully behind the idea of project based learning.  I knew that my students loved to work on projects.  Students were more engaged in the learning process when they were working on a project.  I also knew that combining areas that I teach reinforced to the students what they should be learning.  However, I wasn’t able to figure out how to do project based learning and really make sure that my students were ready for their end of year testing.  I know that end of year testing scores shouldn’t be my only determining factor, but those scores are part of determining teacher pay in my district so they matter to me.

A couple of weeks into the class I had the realization that I could do both.  I can do project based learning as well as paper and pencil activities to make sure that my students know the core for testing as well as for the future.  It was a powerful moment to see how I can make project based learning work in my classroom.  I like how PBLs natural lead to rubric scoring and self-assessment.  I want my students to be able to really assess themselves honestly and I like that doing multiple projects will help my students to be more successful at assessing.

One of the concerns I had at the beginning of this class was the fact that in group work there are students who sit back and do nothing and that other students take the weight of the project on their own.  I really liked the reading and video this week.  It resolved that concern that I had.  I loved that in the article it said that sometimes the teacher puts the students who do nothing together to see if they will step up and become more involved in the project.  That one the students who are working hard on the project aren’t stuck with more work.  In one of the videos I really liked the teacher had the students come up with their own group norms and that he even talked with the group about what was going to happen if someone didn’t do their assignment.  I love the power that it gives students in making their group work for their personalities.  

I have learned a lot about project based learning in this class.  I have started looking over what things I still need to teach my class this year and if there is a project that would help them in their learning.

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