What is Project Based Learning & Why It is a Classroom Must Have!

 

Project based learning is a must in my opinion. This teaching approach allows for deep investigation into a particular question or focus that engages all the core subjects (math, language arts, science, and social studies) along the way.

This approach stems froms student interests that are transformed into an investigation of a particular question or topic. This investigation creates the project and is can last long periods of time, compared to typical theme based teaching where themes are rotated on a weekly or biweekly basis.

 

 

I have incorporated project based learning to my classroom throughout my 3 years of teaching. I have witnessed a great amount of learning and knowledge gained that was achieved in a more meaningful way for the children, in comparison to classrooms not focused in a project based learning model.  It was a tricky tightrope to walk when there are so high expectations on test scores and literacy skills, but I was able to demonstrate that I was still meeting the standards required, my students were performing well on the tests, and I was teaching in a developmentally appropriate way as well.

The past 3 years of teaching, my project based learning looked different and changed to the needs of the students in my classroom. My first year we had projects that studied weather and in depth on different seasons. We were about to begin an author study on eric carle. But then the covid pandemic hit and we were switched to distance learning and put on a survival mode. My district I was working in, only allowed us to review material taught and not teach any new content during that time, which meant we could not begin our newest project. But I did get to finally do my eric carle project with my next group of kindergarteners the following year, and it is one of my most proud projects to date.

This project integrated all core subjects in an engaging manner that the students loved. (Stay tuned for another in depth blog on the full details of what our Eric Carle Study encompassed!) The best part of project based learning is that it incorporates all major elements that are considered necessary to be taught in schools, but it gives the children the power and ownership of their own learning.

 

 

 

When children are given autonomy and choice in their school experiences, their learning is a million times more meaningful. I say that from true personal experience. Growing up, I went to a private school and learned from a traditional curriculum with traditional teaching methods. I had an average school experience and wasprepared for high school, college, and then later my teaching career, but I think often about if I had an experience where I was given the oppportunities like exploring my interests and being able to demonstrate my learning in a way I felt comfortable of and proud of, how would that have impacted my view on my educational experience? This reflection encourages me to provide a school expeerience for my students that best meets their needs, and project based learning allows for differentiation, play based learning, inquiry, exploration, and so much more. Think about, you can spend weeks or months or even a whole school year deeply investigating one topic, can yield itself to children becoming experts in specifc topics and feeling accomplished for the hard work they have done alongside their classmates and teacher.

 

If I haven’t sold you yet on why you should use project based learning in your classroom, I have one more selling point for you. Children love it and begin loving learning. That is honestly huge. You can create lesson and lesson that the children learn and can apply, but in my opinion, the true job of school is to construct a child ‘s love for learning. All humans are learners and will be learners our entire life. Learning and loving learning has led our world to so many great discoveries, inventions, and life changing practices that have added to our world today. We, as educators, have to think of our students being future presidents, doctors, lawyers, teachers, human rights activisits, parents, social workers, scientists, authors, architects, and literally so many more things. The future of the world is our classroom, which I know you have heard before, but let that truly sink in and I will say it one more time: The future of the world is in your classroom. Loving learning can lead children to what they are passionate about and want to learn more about or it can lead to children loving learning and devoting their lives to bettering themselves in that topic or field or profession. As teachers lets teach a love of learning, and project based learning is an exemplary way to do that.

 

Switching from a traditional teaching approach to a project based learning approach can be intimidating. Where do I begin? How will my students react? What about my curriculum I have to teach?  The first thing to do is find what your students are interested in. What do they talk about at recess? What are they drawing in the corners of their notebooks? Even ask the students what they are interested in learning about and go from there. You might be suprised what they are interested in. Then start collecting books, videos, browing on Pinterest for lesson ideas. Start small with a topic, beginning with the basics and an overview. Then start expanding more in depth on various parts of a topic. Follow the students’ lead and take it one step at a time!

 

For even more ideas for projects to start with as you transition to project based learning, check out my All About the Five Senses Project on my Teachers Pay Teachers store, Kinder Dream Land. This resource comes with a full 7 days worth of lessons. In these lessons, there is a Google Slides slide deck, my five senses reader/coloring mini book, and 5 additional activities to complete with each of the 5 senses. This all comes as a bundle and you can find this by clicking the product preview button down below!

 

2 thoughts on “What is Project Based Learning & Why It is a Classroom Must Have!”

  1. This is the right website for anybody who wants to find out about this topic. You understand a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally would want toÖHaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic which has been written about for years. Excellent stuff, just excellent!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind and supportive comment! it means so much to me that I can provide information that truely helps others! I will continue to write more posts about project based learning using examples from my own classroom that will hopefully help and inspire other teachers!! Stay tuned 🙂

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