What can teachers and students teach us about project based learning?
Every teacher should want their class to be the most beneficial and the most fun. No one wants to have a boring class with meaningless projects. How can you make projects fun for your students while teaching them meaningful information?
Get a Grip on Project Based Learning
From reading Seven Essentials for Project Based Learning they taught me what every good project needs is for it to be personally meaningful to the student and to fulfill an educational purpose. They also listed the seven essentials of project based learning that provide the students with a meaningful project that can also be fun. Those seven essentials are:
1. Launch projects with an entry-event that engages the students' interest and raises questions
2. Ask a driving question. This needs to be open-ended, complex, and linked to the core of what you want your students to learn
3. Give the students a chance to show their voice and make choices for the projects. This could be in the form of them choosing how they want to present or providing them with a list of driving questions to choose from so they can choose the one they like best.
(an example of how fun projects can be when you let students choose, watch: Two Students Solve the Problem of Watery Ketchup by Designing a New Cap)
4. The process of doing the project should give them real-life skill practice such as collaboration, communication, critical thinking skills, and the use of technology.
- Read about Ten Sites Supporting Digital Classroom Collaboration in Project Based Learning
5. The driving question should lead them to discover new questions and find new answers about the subjects as well.
6. Provide the students with feedback. Students can critique each others' work using rubric's they made and the teacher can get experts or adult mentors to provide feedback as well as the teacher meeting with each group to make sure they are on the right track.
7. Make it public and have a real audience. It is more fun and meaningful when a project isn't just another grade but instead to present a real problem and solution for a real audience.
From watching Project Based Learning for Teachers, the video reiterated that it is important for the projects to:
- have a purpose
- address an audience
- provide a driving question
- identify learning standards
- create a rubric
- group students together
- brainstorm branching questions
- meet deadlines
- focus on the process
- refine the end product
What Motivates Students to Want to Learn?
Sometimes it is intriguing and valuable to see what motivates students. From watching What Motivates Students, I learned that it is important to students that teachers provide positive feedback. Tell them they have done a good job, write nice things on their paper, something simple just to show that you have noticed their hard work!
The video also taught me that students who had goals were more motivated because they had something to work towards or for. If they had consequences for getting bad grades they also were also more motivated.
Finally, rewards are motivation in itself. Children like to get little treats or goodies for their hard work or good behavior and I believe that it is good to reward those things. This video had great ideas for rewarding children for good things such has having a board to clip up or down on and if you get the highest clip up, you get a reward such as eating lunch with the teacher, a lollipop, etc.