January 30th, 2012
Project-Based Learning, Elementary Edition: Video for Jan 30
This week, our Featured Educator Andrew Larson integrates mathematics into an art lesson, demonstrating the power of a cross-curricular approach. He leads his students through a lesson on measuring and takes the time to show them how to use measurement tools correctly. Then, he and his students work together to make salt dough.
Mr. Larson is a skilled and patient teacher--both important skills--but he also takes the time to link to the subjects that his students are learning in their other classes. For example, he focused on the human body and mummy-making while his students learned about Egypt in their social studies class. By paying attention to the wider curriculum, Mr. Larson makes his art class much more meaningful for his students.
Take a moment to brainstorm how you could create cross-curricular projects in your class. Enjoy the video, and please leave any comments or questions below. Thanks!
February 3rd, 2012
Project-Based Learning: More Discussion
In our video this week, our Featured Educator Andrew Larson teaches math concepts with a hands-on approach: they measure ingredients together to use in making salt dough. This approach provides immediate real-world relevancy; each student has experience with seeing measuring utensils used in recipes.This real-world approach to projects is a dynamic and powerful model for instruction.
If you'd like to know more about how project-based learning differs from traditional classroom instruction, I recommend the sample videos found here, at the Buck Institute for Education's site. The BIE offers online resources, research, books, and articles that all support project-based learning, so this site is a great place to visit often.
Because I personally learn best by accessing specific examples, I also found this article to be very helpful. A Canadian teacher recently won a $15K prize for her outstanding approach to project-based learning, and she's posted a video that explains her approach.
February 1st, 2012
Project-Based Learning: Some Helpful Links
In this week's video, our Featured Educator Andrew Larson brings math concepts into an art class. Rather than spending all the time passively lecturing, he and the students experience hands-on learning as they measure the ingredients for dough. I especially like the way he explains math concepts organically, as they emerge during the process. Experience-based learning is more powerful and helps to enrich the concepts being taught.
There's an emerging research base that extols the values of carefully-planned project-based learning of the kind that we see in Mr. Larson's classroom. One of my favorite new blogs, educationaltechnologyguy.blogspot.com, explores this topic in greater depth. A couple of especially thoughtful posts are:
1. 10 important skills students need for the future (and how project-based learning helps get them there)
2. Introduction to project-based learning (especially helpful for those of you who are just dipping your toe in these waters)
Finally, here's one more article featuring many links to helpful sites. It's titled Ten Sites Supporting Digital Classroom Collaboration in Project Based Learning and is full of great ideas. Project-based learning offers many chances for students to collaborate in meaningful ways, and this article links to those tools that promote this skill.
I hope you find these links helpful. I'd love to hear your thoughts about project-based learning, so please leave them in the comment field below. Thanks!
Blog Posts05/09/2013 - How to Create and Teach Math Tasks
05/06/2013 - Preparing Questions to Improve Learning and Thinking
04/30/2013 - The 15 Guiding Principles of Student-Centered Learning Communities
04/23/2013 - Focus, Alignment, and Feedback
04/16/2013 - Implementing the First Steps of Practical Lesson Study
04/01/2013 - Student Progress Reporting that Communicates Effectively
03/26/2013 - How to Evaluate Your Professional Development Program
03/15/2013 - Helping Students to Generate and Test Hypotheses