Saturday, May 17, 2014

Inquiring Minds Want To Know...

This school year has been one of many changes, including how our first graders do their first research/inquiry project.

At the same time we were changing our research model, we also took a trial peek at PebbleGo which is a database for emergent readers - just right for Memorial School's young students. We purchased one of the databases in February and are so appreciative that our parent group, the CSA, recently approved funding of the other three, so we now have the complete set.

The first three projects this year were I Wonder projects where students were able to peruse PebbleGo and choose a topic that was of interest to them. To read more about one of these projects, click here.

For the next five class projects, I thought it might be fun to try something new. I've been reading and thinking about PBL or Project Based Learning, and thought this might be an interesting approach. Here's what this model looks like:
Image from EdTechReview
 I met with each teacher separately to plan and schedule our projects. They were onboard to try the PBL model. A few teachers were excited to have their students learn about the U.S. Symbols, which is part of our curriculum.  One teacher decided insects would be a perfect topic for her students to learn about as they have a class garden.  Now the fun began in earnest!

To begin, students were introduced to PebbleGo, teams of 2-3 students were created, student teams were able to choose their inquiry topic, teams came up with their Driving Questions, we had a lesson about note taking and about citation (thanking the creator/author of where we are getting our facts from) and we were finally ready to get researching!

Here are some our young inquirers in action (these pics are from three different classes):

These PBL projects engaged our students, put them in charge of their learning and taught them 21st century skills. I can't wait to hear their feedback and to see how each class chooses to present/publish their projects.

So much learning and change, oh, my!

P.S.  To see more pics of PBL in action, click on the Instagram icon on the right hand side of this blog.

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