EXTREME Classroom Makeover
If we can dream it, we can do it!
This has become my motto for my Kindergarten students after attending the Intel Teach Program last summer. It inspired me to fully incorporate project-based learning in my classroom. It has provided my high poverty students with meaningful lessons that allow them to be innovative and creative while strengthening their content knowledge.
Project-based learning has transformed my teacher-directed instruction into child-directed learning. With the use of interactive technology, word family flashcards are now songs through Garage Band. Winter lessons containing pictures of snow are now real-time video conferences with meteorologists and students who live in areas with snow. Robust vocabulary sentence strips are now vocabulary videos through iMovie.
Lessons begin with an essential question, which presents an opportunity for students to think critically through discussion and debate. I am amazed at how eager 5 and 6-year-olds are to discuss their thoughts and how often they provide real-life experiences as evidence. Students then discuss and decide as a group which type of project they will complete, promoting innovation. Students are encouraged to be creative and must only adhere to the self-assessing rubric that lists components of the project. The hands-on learning experience and collaboration of the student groups has proven to strengthen my students' understanding of the content.
Exposing my students to interactive technology has put them on an even playing field in a global economy that demands innovation and creativity. Project-based learning has transformed my students into enthusiastic, independent, life-long learners.