Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Project Based Learning: Preparing Students for a Lifetime of Finding Solutions

Any senior teacher can tell you that this time of year is one of the most stressful. My students have been frantically filling out college applications, taking exams and asking for dates to the homecoming dance.  With our Humanities Capstone Seminar course we make a concerted effort to engage students in project based learning.  My two colleagues offer students the opportunity to give speeches and re-create a play into a modern production.  My section of Humanities offers students a study of success - the essential question is What does it take to be successful? A tough one, huh?! We read a variety of texts including Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers and Carol Dweck's Growth Mindset.  For an end of term project I wanted students to demonstrate their knowledge so I assigned them a Public Service Campaign with the specific goal of helping inspire 4th graders towards success.  Here's the assignment.  What I found was that the assignment needed to be tweaked after I conferenced with my two co-teachers. Overall, the students did a great job in working together to come up with a common theme and message.  I was impressed with the earnest effort to help younger students.
Working with seniors is a blessing....although they are antsy to move on to the next phase of life, they still need guidance along the way.  Project based learning and assessments give them just one more tool to help them navigate their future.

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