Project Based Learning
FAQs Project Based Learning
What is Project Based Learning and why is it better?
Project based learning is a teaching method where students answer questions, problems and challenges about real life projects. It is more engaging for students as they gain a deeper understanding of foundational skills as they apply them to a variety of authentic situations. Through project based learning students establish a desire to learn and honor an atmosphere that allows student voice and choice alongside the knowledgeable guidance and thoughtful planning of skilled educators. It is through specialized training that King Elementary educators will have the knowledge and foresight to expertly carry this out. These educators purposefully orchestrate times of guided discussion, direct instruction, group work, and thoughtful inquiry to allow for an optimal, rigorous learning environment. This environment creates a culture of high level thinkers that are adept at sharing perspectives and ideas, a necessary 21st century skill.
How will you balance basic traditional learning with PBL?
Project Based learning will allow our children to learn differently than our current traditional structure. We must ready our students for a future in the 21st Century, different from traditional learning which prepared students for industrial jobs. In the same sense, we will remain steadfast in research based practices to ensure our students learn to read, write and demonstrate the skills necessary in math to be able to apply these skills to our projects.
Our current success with Standards Based education as shown by our state assessment scores over the past several years has been enlightening. This will remain a strong drive for our skills and content focus. With that being said, we realize that the singular memorization of content is not enough for future success and we must strive for the application of knowledge. We no longer want our students to just become content masters. Projects will be tied to these fundamental skills, and used alongside standards to enhance and deepen understanding. We want them to apply their knowledge and use their skill sets to solve-real world authentic problems while making connections to careers. Again, our world is ever-changing and our students must be able to think quickly, adjust, and communicate with others to become problem solvers and be ready to tackle the unknown. It is said that many job opportunities our children will seek out won’t even be created by the time our elementary students graduate.
What portion of the day will require students to utilize technology?
Technology is an important part of 21st century learning. Project Based Learning schools have a strong technology presence. King Elementary strives to find an important balance between the use of student driven technology and traditional instructional methods. As a project based learning school, we have a unique opportunity to offer increased access to a digital platform. Technology use will vary between grade levels, individual needs, and projects. We will strive to provide the best learning opportunities for students of all ages and abilities. It is difficult to provide an exact schedule of technology use, however it is a powerful tool that will be utilized when instructionally appropriate.
How will King Elementary support students with social and emotional growth?
Today's students come from increasingly diverse social and economic backgrounds. Social and emotional learning (SEL) provides a foundation for safe and positive learning, and enhances students' ability to succeed in school, careers, and life. It is King Elementary's priority to not only meet student’s academic needs, but also provide supports for student’s social and emotional needs through our 16 Habits of Success. The Habits of Success are critical skills and mindsets that help you keep learning, growing, and succeeding at whatever you want to do in life whether that’s learning new things, building your skills, deepening your relationships or pursuing your dreams. These habits will be explicitly taught and modeled by the adults, as we continue to strive to use them in our daily lives as well. The habits build on each other offering a platform for us to work on the foundations and progress into more difficult habits, all with the same focus of success in school and life.
Along with Habits of Success, our counseling team implements a problem solving curriculum to help students self-regulate, understand their emotions, and interact positively with their peers. Counselors support through targeted small group instruction. A military counselor is also available to support the unique needs of our military population.
How will all learners needs be met?
King is committed to the academic growth and success of all our students. Due to our focus on all students being successful, the state has awarded us the Governor’s Growth Award the last three years. Foundational and fundamental skills will continue to be a primary focus. A student’s day is thoughtfully designed to reach their specific needs.
King will continue to provide the following supports for students:
- Title I
- Gifted and Talented
- Special Education
- Differentiated small group instruction (in and out of the classroom)
Is the staff trained in Project Based Learning?
All staff has received 3 days of intense project based learning training from the Buck Institute.
In addition the 4th and 5th grade teachers have received training on the curriculum/projects through Summit Learning, which includes a week long training in the summer and conferences in the fall and spring.
Throughout the year, days are set aside for continued planning of projects and collaborating for cross curricular subject areas.
What are some specific examples of projects that my child might participate in?
Project Based Learning gives lessons purpose and allows students to apply mathematics, reading, writing, social studies and science concepts in an authentic way. The number of projects and project types will vary among grade levels dependent on standards, curriculum, and age. For example, a 4th grade student in a social studies class will research information about the Colorado Gold Rush. Then, they make an argumentative claim as to whether or not the Gold Rush was good for Colorado, and create an advertisement to support their claim. A 2nd grade student learning about animal habitats might choose their own animal to research. They will learn about their animal’s specific environment including the available food and water sources as well as possible shelters in order to create a clay model demonstrating their knowledge of the necessary elements of a habitat. These projects give the content purpose and sparks interest among all levels of learners.