As you may know, or maybe not, I am incorporating Project Based Learning (PBL) in to my Gifted Education classes. I blogged about that just a few weeks ago. I thought that I would do a short update to let you know how it is going. For me most part my students have bought into the who PBL style of learning. They finished their first project, which was to scale an obelisk and make a 3D model of it. This was a whole class activity. Now they are doing small group or individual projects. (Here is a list of projects that I am doing with my classes. They are Google Docs.) I got the format from Todd Stanley’s Project-Based Learning for Gifted Students book. It’s a great book with a ton of resources. I adopted many of the pages to fit my students needs, and how I wanted to set things up. (Here is a list of resources that I am using in my classes. Again, they are Google Docs.)
As this second project is getting underway, I am starting to see how my students’ thinking is changing. They are becoming more focused, and they are delving deeper into the process of their project, along with content. I am finding that students are enjoying the projects they are choosing, and seem gung-ho about things right now.
I have come across a few snags. At times, students forget their materials at home, and so it is hard to continue a project with very limited resources. At times, parents have brought materials in, but most of the time, students couldn’t get the materials they forgot because their parents are working.
The second snag is pacing. I haven’t been able to figure out how to effectively pace the projects out. I know if we work on a project too long it becomes stale. I don’t want that to happen. It seemed the project we just finished was getting stale. I personally have to keep the project moving. That’s my responsibility. It’s hard to keep the excitement when students come to class one day a week.
The last snag deals with absences. As I stated earlier, I have students one day a week, and when one of their partners is absent, the remaining partners seem to be lost at times. So I am trying to figure out how to deal with that. I encourage students to continue on the same path, but try to think of what their partners would want to add. Sometimes, the missing student has some of the resources needed for the project. If you have any suggestions on how to deal with that I would take them.
Overall the first nine weeks of school, and implementing this change into my classroom has been positive. I know I still have a lot to learn. I am still learning more and more about PBL. I personally believe PBL is the best way to teach gifted children. it makes things more relevant, and more realistic. It suits the way my students think,and want to learn.
I hope that I have more to talk about in a few weeks about the PBL journey my students and I are on.