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Project Based Learning
By: Second Grade Teachers Melissa Kriegshauser and Maggie Martin
Project Based Learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging, and complex question, problem, or challenge. We are inspired by project based learning and excited to incorporate it into our everyday learning. Recently, entire schools are taking this approach to teaching. With so many resources at our fingertips, it’s easy to try these new teaching and learning methods with our students. With our 1:2 ratio of iPads in the classroom, technology is often a major factor in our projects. In second grade, we try to incorporate projects into our teaching in a variety of ways. We know as teachers, students tend to relate and connect more to a project, so offering this throughout the year differentiates our teaching and learning and brings excitement to our students’ faces.
We read five literature books throughout the entire year in small groups and at the end of each novel, we assign a week long project. Each child gets to choose from a collection of four projects, ranging from adding a chapter to the book, answering comprehension questions, building a prop/item related to the book, or writing a letter to and from characters in the story. The students work on the projects at home and bring them to school when they are due. Later we give them the opportunity to share their projects with the class, presenting them to everyone. At the end of the year, one of our projects offers the option to build a kite. The students who choose this project get to go out to our field and try their kites out in the wind! We have had much success in the past. For another novel we read, students all get to choose a point of view of one of the animal characters from the story. They creatively brainstorm and develop a short story on our iPads using the Explain Everything app. This allows them to engage in the use of technology, art and writing all within a single project.
Our black history studies that coincide with black history month is another great example of project based learning. From books about these famous Americans, to the Worldbook app, to autobiographies, our students use several resources to find information about their chosen person. The students take notes and the project culminates with a research paper and drawing of their famous person in their element. We love to see the quality information that is gathered and hear how much the students learn about these famous, memorable Americans.
During the spring, our students work with partners to research countries in Africa and create a poster with facts and illustrations. Using worldbookonline.com, they enjoy this partner project and learn much more about countries all over the world!
As our education continues to evolve, so will our projects and areas of focus. We are enjoying seeing the minds of our students grow with our project based learning in second grade.
Rossman School, nestled on a 20-acre campus in Creve Coeur, is an independent private preparatory school for students in Junior Kindergarten (four years old) through Grade 6. The school’s mission is to provide a strong, well-balanced education in a nurturing school community committed to excellence. Dedicated to developing personal, nurturing relationships with each child, Rossman’s experienced educators provide a solid foundation in academics, athletics and arts while emphasizing strong character development and leadership skills. Request a free Rossman School brochure here.