In my new role as a professional development coordinator I have been busy planning and writing about project based learning, proficiencies and personalized learning plans. On a regular basis my brain is full to bursting with new research, teacher ideas, education articles, and more. So lately I’ve turned to illustrating concepts and ideas with sketches and doodles, kind of like in high school and college. I never really did stop doodling. This time, it helps me communicate information in a different way and improves my synthesis of information. So, I’ll be posting my new #edudoodles here in this new series.
I bet you have big dreams of creative, innovative projects and engaged students in your classroom. Students who are busy researching, collaborating, creating, and solving authentic problems they are interested in.
But this doesn’t happen without a strong community of learners.
Why build a strong classroom community?
Project-based learning, or PBL, is a wonderful way to engage students in their own learning. But if the community is not ready to feel safe, take risks, and be supportive it can fall flat. Here are some ways to build a strong, supportive and inclusive community that is ready to engage and be inspired by PBL.
During the planning for the first few weeks of school, it is so important to build trust, community and shared experiences. One way to do this is to schedule regular team-building activities. These are a fun break from hearing about expectations and instead doing get-to-know you activities because they are often physical and challenge different learning styles. See the link for ideas and grab a few that fit your schedule.
Ownership of the space
(First published at the Tarrant Center for Innovative Education blog)
Something about this book title and summer reading fits perfectly. The open ocean, pirates, and fierce independence. I’m hoping you have a bit of time to settle into some reading for fun and some that inspires you in the classroom to have students take on more leadership and develop their own independence.
You know when you pick up a book and it just clicks? Learn Like a Pirate, by Paul Solarz is just that kind of book. As a teacher I have been trying to develop ways for students to take more leadership and ownership in the classroom (and beyond). Paul Solarz takes this to a new level– and I wish I had this book years ago. It is, in short, a guidebook for how to give your students voice, choice, leadership and independence in the classroom. The book gives very doable ways for students to take the lead in their own educations– to create classroom environments can foster community, life-long, engaged learning.