Thursday, July 26, 2012

PROJECT BASED LEARNING-Crystal Clear Explanation AND Great Classroom Application:)

Project based learning dovetails easily with the goals of the common core standards.   PBL presents a real world situation/problem in a given subject area to students to solve as a team.  This type of scenario is one that offers an ELL multiple opportunities to develop English as s/he takes on her/his assigned roles to complete her/his specific assignment within the group.  ELLs will need to negotiate meaning so that they can be fully productive participants.  This will entail developing a working grasp of the academic vocabulary needed to be able to address the problem, find the solution, or solve the problem as a member of the team.

PROJECT BASED LEARNING This link provides students with a quick overview of what PBL is and how it applies to the real world.  The contrasts drawn between it and traditional education do have some kernels of truth in them.  Students will definitely be amused and teachers will have reason to pause and wonder how they could weave in more PBL with the common core.  ELLs will have word walls, concept maps, model activities to refer to, group partners, and notes so they will have solid insight to add to their group's discussion.  When the activity is done correctly, no child is left out of the process.  Teachers are then free to navigate from group to group to assist when or if needed.  Think of it as a win-win for both teacher and students:)  Done over time, ELLs will see their mastery of academic English grow and with it the chances of attending college or pursuing a business career grow.

JET SETTER PACK PBL MATH LESSON-- Students use all sorts of math as they promote their city to tourists in this video.  The assignment is clearly explained.  Though not shown here, it is evident by the students' performance that the teacher has modeled what it is that the students must do.  The "I DO" phase of preparing students to do the task is a must especially for the ELLs.  During this stage, the students observe and ask questions as needed.  Then there must have been an activity where the class worked as a team to "try out the assignment."  Call it the "WE DO" phase.  Here the ELL can follow along with her/his elbow partner to make sure that s/he follows the assignment.  Last, there is what you will see in the video--the "YOU DO" phase.  At this phase, the teams start on the task (with teacher monitoring regularly).  As you can well imagine, the ELL is poised to do well since the teacher spent time setting the students up to be successful with the project!

Common core will enable all content teachers to include regular productive PBL assignments throughout the school year.  This type of classwork will most definitely prepare them to enter college or the world of business with ease:)



P.S.  Don't forget to sign up for our back to school August 1st newsletter by July 31st.  We will have lots of great free sites for teachers to use in their lessons including a great facebook-like app that is safe for schools to use with students and parents!

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