Project Based Learning
Log into the OneNote Class Notebook for your section to access the Peer Team Teaching Planning Guide for this week.
|Component of Creativity||Explanation||Activities to Encourage this Component of Creativity|
|Fluency||the ability to generate quantities of ideas||Name everything you can think of within a specific category (the goal is to generate the longest list)|
|Flexibility||the ability to create different categories of ideas, and to perceive an idea from different points of view||Name all the things you can think of that have a certain characteristic (wheels, for example), or come up with a list of ideas for the perfect bathtub (the goal is create different categories of ideas and perceptions from different points of view)|
|Originality||the ability to generate new, different, and unique ideas that others are not likely to generate||Come up with the most outrageous solution for a particular dilemma (the goal is to come up with the most unique idea)|
|Elaboration||the ability to expand on an idea by embellishing it with details or the ability to create an intricate plan||Take an existing idea and elaborate further (the goal is to embellish the most)|
The Gifted Child Today article “Creative Thinking in Schools: Finding the ‘Just Right’ Challenge for Students” provides the following suggestions for teachers trying to incorporate more creativity into their lesson plans:
- Diversity and large volumes of ideas and work increase the chance for creative outcomes, so encourage students to generate lots of work, and give them the appropriate tools they need to develop this work. Free students from busy work, lots of worksheets, DVD watching, etc. in order to get them working on projects and generating solutions.
- Teach the value of hard work and discipline in finding solutions, solutions that make sense and aren’t simply nonsensical or impractical. The ability to decipher good ideas from bad ones is an essential part of the creative process, and a skill that also should be taught.
- Encourage risk taking, and discourage perfectionism. Establish an environment that shows students that sometimes ideas fail, but the effort wasn’t wasted. Ensure that integrity is maintained during successes and failures.
- Provide strategies for managing group dynamics, such as discussing with groups the possible difficulties that could arise, and how to troubleshoot those situations. Give the students a signal to inform the teacher when they need advice or mediation.
- Set up a rubric for the final evaluation of projects and assignments. Guidelines, expectations, and goals should be a part of every project.
- Layer independent study with group study, and give older students the option of working with students in younger grades.
- Teachers should model creative thinking in how they make decisions, solve problems, and how they approach their instruction and guidance.
- Encourage divergent thinking by providing students with nonconventional tools and supplies. For example, instead of using traditional art supplies, bring in objects that seem bizarre or out-of-the ordinary, and let kids create with these items.
- Lessen the amount of extrinsic awards, such as stickers, special privileges, or an emphasis on the final grade. Creativity researchers have shown that extrinsic awards actually reduce creativity. Instead, encourage intrinsic satisfaction by providing all the guidelines, materials, time, and space students need to complete projects and assignments.
- Allow time for student feedback sessions, and encourage responsible and productive critiques from all students.
- Show exceptional work in libraries, hallways, even in community buildings and businesses.
- Teachers that expect great things from students will receive great things.
Critical Components of a Project-Based Learning Experience
- Need to Know – The idea here is to go WAY beyond “because it’s on the test.” The entry event can be almost anything: a video, a lively discussion, a guest speaker, a field trip, or a piece of mock correspondence that sets up a scenario. In contrast, announcing a project by distributing a packet of papers or assigning whatever is at the end of the chapter in the textbook is likely to turn students off.
- Driving Question – A good driving question captures the heart of the project in clear, compelling language, which gives students a sense of purpose and challenge. The question should be provocative, open-ended, complex, and linked to the core of what you want students to learn. It could be abstract (Is all really fair in love and war?), concrete (How safe is the water we drink?), or focused on solving a problem (How can we create an eco-friendly house?).
- Student Voice and Choice – The more student voice and choice, the more meaningful to the students! Choice and voice may range from selecting a particular topic from the general topic to choosing from a menu of products, to students making all decisions from topic to resources, to final product.
- 21st Century Skills – Collaboration, communication, critical thinking, use of technology, an important purpose
- Inquiry and Innovation – Students generate additional questions and hypotheses related to the driving question. The classroom culture should value openness to new ideas and new perspectives.
- Feedback and Revision – The teacher acts as facilitator and coach to give direct feedback and guide students in reflection, self-assessment, and peer assessment.
- Publicly Presented Project – Presenting to an authentic audience gives students pride.
- Check out some of these PBL lessons in your content area and grade level: http://www.squidoo.com/project-based-learning-ideas-resources-for-pbl#module168335011
- 5 keys to rigorous PBL lessons (from edutopia): http://www.edutopia.org/video/five-keys-rigorous-project-based-learning
- Go through the PBL Do-It-Yourself kit at http://www.bie.org/diy
- A great blog on PBL https://biancahewes.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/project-learning-aka-pbl-for-beginners-plsm13/