Engaging students through Project-Based Learning

We have some incredible learning experiences going on in this district. Teachers across the grade levels are using Project-Based Learning to engage students, challenge them, encourage creativity and problem-solving skills, while collaborating with classmates. What’s even more encouraging is the number of students working with PBL and excited about the lessons, the intrigue of the driving question and the field-based inquiry needed to navigate through the components.

Some of our classes are in the beginning stages, while others have been working with PBL for over a year. When planning significant lessons there should be equal emphasis on significant content and 21st century skills. We must promote critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity. The Buck Institute has provided a resource titled, ‘Exploring the 8 Essential Elements of PBL.’ While the article is full of details and noteworthy examples on how to create meaningful PBL units, our own White Oak Middle School students are showcased in this piece with a project they participated in, titled, ‘Code: Maroon.’ I was part of the panel when these students gave their presentations, and the students were ready to take the stage at City Hall to promote the work they had put together for the entire community of White Oak. While there was some nervousness and anxiousness, they didn’t let fear get in the way of showing off the collaborative work and resources they had prepared.

Many of you have been crafting lessons that are changing the classroom and curriculum focus from teacher driven to student driven. It takes guts, time, resources, more time, and the ability to look beyond what you’ve been doing in the classroom and look forward to what you and your students need to be doing in the classroom. You have the support of your administrators at the campus and district levels to make the changes that impact your students and their learning. Take the challenge and have no fear–step out there with a desire to embrace the future, even when we don’t always know what the future holds.

Just something to think about………………….




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