In the first video, “World History Exploration PBL“, I learned a lot from the student who spoke about the project based learning she was currently a part of. She honestly sounded like she was very knowledgeable about the topic her project was focusing on, and I think this speaks volumes for PBL. It seems to be in great support of real learning, and not pretending to learn to pass a test.
In the next video, “Oil Spill Newscast Lesson, 4th Grade, Social Studies“, I learned about how outside involvement can help make a great PBL assignment! Seeing videos before engaging in a new topic seems to really help students get excited about learning something new. I would love to try this when I am a history teacher. Before we begin discussion on a new segment, I could present my class with a short film about it. This could give them a great overview about what we will be diving into. I also love how the projects at this particular school had great administrative support. I hope that I will be able to have that backing in the future to help my students feel that drive to do well! Additionally, I think accessing where each kid is on a subject before diving in could be very beneficial!
The following video I watched was “The Civil War Project Based Learning“. One thing that I thought was great about the implementation of PBL in this classroom was the display of the students work! I personally would think that students would try to do a better job when they know that many people will be looking at their work. Giving them the freedom to choose their own topic within a subject is also awesome! This is something I would definitely consider doing! In this classroom, students also created collaborative blogs to share information with the other students in the class. This is important because it allows them to not only give each other feedback, but also to learn from each others projects.
Next, I watched “PBL for History at Lady Bird Johnson Middle School“. The creator of this video gives a break down of how to successfully use project based learning in the classroom. I really like the suggestion of the creation of driving questions. This can give the student a chance to really think about the subject and brainstorm. Ideally, this thought process would spark their curiosity. Again, I think that getting feedback from other students in essential. Often times, children are much more willing to listen to each other than to authoritative figures.
Finally, I read an article called “Constructing History in Our High School Project-Based Classroom” by Margaret Haviland. This is a hotbed of information, as well as tips and tools for history teachers and I highly recommend it to those going into this field! I love how she allows students to get insightful by having them pretend to take roles in historical events. Allowing them to use critical thinking by having them guess the ‘could haves’ and ‘would haves’ is very clever. I also believe that allowing students to find their own meaning instead of handing them all of the answers can truly prepare them for the real world. I plan to take much of her advice when I receive my own classroom.