SLUSD knows that kids learn best when their classroom learning is authentic, relevant, and interesting. In our new strategic action plan, SLUSD’s #1 goal is to provide standards aligned, engaging, personalized and responsive teaching and learning to all of our students TK-12. Over the past year, we’ve been preparing to use Project Based Learning as the vehicle to meet this goal.
What is Project Based Learning?
Project Based Learning, or PBL, is a teaching method that engages students actively in learning by asking them to investigate an interesting and complex question, problem, or challenge, and then to create something in response. Projects can vary in length; some may take a week or two, others a month or more. Projects may be done individually, in teams, or by a whole class.
The basic steps of a PBL project are:
How are we preparing our SLUSD Teachers to engage in PBL?
All teachers and administrators in San Leandro Unified are being trained by the Buck Institute for Education in Project Based Learning methodology. At this point, we’ve trained approximately 250 of our TK-12 teachers, and will complete training all of our teachers by the Spring of 2018. All administrators are learning how to build the vision, culture and systems for PBL work at their school sites.
What are our SLUSD students doing and learning in PBL classrooms?
In a good project, students not only learn the traditional knowledge and skills that they’d already be learning, but they also build the success skills that lead to lifelong success: communication, problem solving, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. Students who successfully complete projects learn valuable things about themselves as well. You might notice that your students tell you about different uses of classroom time - working in teams, sharing work with each other for feedback, investigating questions, and making presentations. They may tell you about more connections to the world outside the classroom, and you may notice more opportunities to be involved with projects at school, either throughout the process or to attend a public display of their work.