Project Based Learning Week {Part 1}

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Happy PBL {Project Based Learning} Week!  I am not going to lie, PBL week is a LOT of work and I go home a zillion times more exhausted than I do on a normal day of school (if that is even possible). And full disclosure: it is totally not my cup of tea given that we throw our whole schedule out the window for a week (no specials aka no preps, no "subjects", no routines- nothin'!) BUT I will say that it is one of those things that after it is done you think, "Wow, that actually did turn out nicely".  In the end, everyone rallies and the kids have a stellar time, which at the end of the day, is all that matters.

At my school, each grade has a different PBL week theme.   This year our First Grade theme is "Community Needs and Wants".  Our culminating project is for each individual class to build/construct/create their own community.

Yesterday was the kick-off day with many activities centered around mapping.  We anchored our conversations around the Dr. Seuss series book, There's a Map on My Lap, which was quite entertaining. Gotta love anything with a good rhyme and Thing One and Thing Two!  We talked about directionality in the morning and played games that had the littles hopping around the classroom to face north, south, east and west.

In the afternoon, I created a fun treasure hunt that marched them around our campus searching for clues to lead them to the buried "treasure".  I had 11 clues in all (one per child) and at the end the treasure was a new sharpened pencil- what's better than that?! It was tricky to get each clue to rhyme but I was determined.  The hardest one was getting a rhyme to go with the tennis courts location (racket, court, tennis... so difficult!).  All the rest were pretty clever, if i do say so myself. ;)

We gave each little a map of our campus and they had to follow the map as we ran from clue to clue. My Assistant Teacher spent hours making the beautiful map below; it is even drawn to scale! 

Today (Tuesday) we began to discuss more specifics of our project.  We kicked off the 'Community Needs and Wants' discussion with the book, Roxaboxen, which was based on a true story and literally written by Alice McLerran for this e.x.a.c.t project.  The theme of the book is a group of children that built their own imaginary community in the desert of Arizona. 

Then came the BOXES. 

... oh yeah, and the building, too. 

We have been collecting boxes upon boxes upon boxes for the past week.  Today, each partnership selected one NEED building and one WANT building off of our anchor chart (pictured above).   They picked boxes that fit their specific requirements and began to tape them together. 

Tomorrow, we paint. Since specials are cancelled and we don't have to worry about fitting in the "usual" subjects (math, ELA, science, social studies etc) so we can devote virtually every minute of our day to these projects.  I have to say, the time does fly.  Two and a half hours on selecting boxes and constructing them sure does fly.  Needless to say, tomorrow I will be wearing my painting clothes!   I will post a PBL Week Part  2 post later on this week. Wish me luck :) 

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One Response to “Project Based Learning Week {Part 1}”

  1. So cool! What a wonderful experience! It sounds like a blast!