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Ok, at first I didn't really understand what PBL was. I found this online: "Teaching with PBL is the difference between the atmosphere at Disneyland and the atmosphere at a Six Flags resort. No offense to Six Flags, I love a great roller coaster, but their décor needs some serious work. At Disneyland, you are submerged in the story of each ride from the time you enter the line. The walls, the ceiling, the ground on which you tread as you advance to the actual ride, all support the end result" Well that sounds cool, right? But how in the world do you do it? I got this book because ultimately a cool definition will only take you so far, amiright? Because it is hard to implement with just an idea of what it's supposed to be like. This breaks it down in a way that you can understand- and includes helpful hints if you have no devices, some devices, or every kid has devices. But ultimately? For me it's about how to help kids learn while not boring myself to pieces in the process. Great tools in here.
This has made such a big difference in my classroom. I’m so tired of being required to test my kids’ learning styles, finding it that half of them are kinesthetic learners, then having NO way to implement that knowledge. Now I can look through the book (which is helpfully sorted by subject, rather than by age, like many other similar books) and choose an activity that will take about a week to complete and be much more fun and memorable than a textbook or lecture. They’re kids! We’ve got to start designing lessons that respect their developmental status, rather than asking all children to fit into the same kind of learning box.
I also can’t speak highly enough of what the constant teamwork has done for the classroom social relations. The work is designed in the book to lend itself to every child having a job. So kids who were more withdrawn, more bossy, more inconsistent in work ethic are now accountable to each other. It’s also helped people be more friendly to one another— even if occasionally there are some disagreements :)
Project-based learning— you know what the individual words mean, but do you really know what it is? April Smith’s "Project Based Learning Made Simple" gives you the basics and everything beyond to implement project-based learning basics in your classroom. Put simply, in Smith’s words “project-based learning is a teaching method where students gain and apply skills by working on a long-term project that involves an in-depth inquiry into a topic or question.” The book is split into disciplines— “science and Stem,” “Math and financial literacy,” “English Language Arts,” and “social studies.” Each sample project begins with a “spotlight on” describing the focus of the project, a “driving question,” and an “audience.” It then details a step by step, easy to follow process. While made for classroom teachers, I could easily see this being implemented in a home setting or other community spaces.
I'm a task-oriented sort of person. I like to have projects: they are natural series of tasks with a definite end goal. I find it very satisfying to complete projects, and exciting to start new ones. I was fortunate enough to attend a school that incorporated Project Based Learning into our curriculum. I love this book because it provides a lot of examples of projects you could incorporate into different subject areas for different ages. April Smith takes you step by step through the project, and points out things to makes sure you do and things to avoid along the way. She explains how you can modify these projects to fit your circumstances: lots of technology access? minimal technology access? These projects are adaptable. A great resource for any educator.
I personally felt this book was a let down. Many of the ideas are quite obvious and so are the directions to implement them. Some project ideas include: 50 state flags, class pet, make a school map, and postcard exchange. I’ve found better detailed (more creative) ideas on a certain teacher printing website.
This book is FULL of amazing ideas, that really fit nicely into what I teach in 5th grade. Although I am at the end of the school year this year, with really just testing and a few days left, I look forward to using this a lot next year! I love how each PBL is set up in an order to follow, and that there are chapters before and after to kind of help you know what you should do to get started, as well as if you find yourself stuck with a few issues. Thank you so much for all of the hard work you put into this!
Everyone learns in different ways. This book is a great book for teachers of third to fifth graders looking for a different approach than you are using now. Step by step instructions are given for the project-based learning basics. Once the basics are implemented in the classroom, your mind with come up with even more ideas than are in this book. Areas covered are Science and Stem, Math and Financial Literacy, and English Language Arts. Each have 25 projects. I especially like the Project Wrap-Up guidelines and hints given. This makes it so simple. Every teacher needs this book!
I loved this book!!! April’s ideas are dead on and make you think why didn’t I think of that or man, that would look amazing in my classroom. It’s such an easy read and all ideas are easy enough to implement. I cannot wait to bring a lot of these ideas into the classroom. I’m a new 5th grade teacher and have loved PBL but this is going to be the Wong of PBL!!! Thank you for all of your hard work and sharing such amazingly creative projects to engage/challenge our young minds.
I absolutely LOVE this book! This is my first year doing project based learning and it has SO many ideas to work with!! It is so easy to use and incorporate! Even if something doesn’t align up exactly to what you are planning to do, she makes it so simple to get the “big picture” so you can tweak it to be your own! Honestly one of the best educational book purchases I have made!!