Saturday, April 25, 2015

BIE and Project Based Learning

I was very impressed with the quality of professional development that I received this week (Thurs and Fri) from BIE. As NSE begins to refine our efforts to teach students how to combine 21st century skills and content standards to accomplish necessary task, our involvement with BIE is critical.

I learned that project based learning (PBL) is not another thing to add to our plate, but a useful tool that will help us prepare our boys and girls to be successful in middle school, high school, college, and career. Too many teachers and students "play" school today. We must move beyond the compliant, skill and drill, and compartmentalized teaching and start inspiring our students to be leaders of their own learning.

Project based learning done well can improve student achievement, student attendance, student behavior, teacher attendance, teacher engagement, and community involvement.

I also strongly believe that in elementary school we must take the time to teach and assess the basic skills of reading and math as we facilitate student engagement in projects. However, the project is the main course and the basic skills are the side items and tools to get things done. With the project being the main course instead of the desert at the end of a unit, students will be highly engaged (not just compliant) in the learning.

I am looking forward to the three days of PBL 101 this summer for all of our certified staff. Our classified staff, and parents are more than welcome to attend on a voluntary basis.
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