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Valentine’s Day Project Based Learning

Have you implemented a long term project in your classroom? Students benefit tremendously from these experiences. Read below to learn what it is, the 5 benefits, ideas and examples, management strategies, and how to plan it.

WHAT IS PROJECT-BASED LEARNING?

Project-based learning is a great way to implement real world learning in your classroom.  It is a teaching method where a teacher poses a real world problem and complex question to students.  It is imperative that the problem and question is authentic and engaging. In addition to this project equipping students with a deep understanding of the content, it also gives them opportunities to strengthen their problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills.  These skills are essential for students to develop and refine for their future. Students work on the project over an extended period of time (week, month, or semester). Some important components of the process are student choice, inquiry, innovation, and meaningful feedback. When students come to the conclusion of their project, they present it to a real audience (peers, teachers, administrators, parents, and the local community).

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LONG TERM PROJECT DEFINITION

A long term project is a project that takes one week or longer for students to complete. Students work on it in class, at home, or a combination of the two.

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10 BENEFITS OF LONG TERM PROJECTS

  • Increases content knowledge and skills.
  • Deepens understanding of content.
  • Develops time management skills.
  • Provides the time students need to make connections.
  • Fine tunes problem solving skills.
  • Strengthens critical thinking skills.
  • Fortifies collaboration skills.
  • Enhances communication skills.
  • Creates an environment to apply skills to a real world situation.
  • Builds stamina.


LONG TERM PROJECT MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES

  • Give clear and concise directions and expectations orally and in writing and pictures.
  • Show a sample final product.
  • Provide copies of a project calendar to students or post a large copy in the classroom.
  • Schedule progress checks with students to monitor how they are doing and what they need additional scaffolding and support for.
  • Utilize a visual timer during work time.
  • Play soft classical music during work time.
  • Offer developmentally-appropriate amounts of time for students to work.

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LONG TERM PROJECT PLANNING

Utilize the principles of Understanding by Design. 1) Look at the standards you want students to master by the end of the project. 2) Design the finished product or project using these standards. 3) Think about what students need to know in order to reach the final project. Turn these concepts and skills into mini lessons.  Determine the order of the lessons that make sense. After completing this process, put these lessons into a pacing guide. Make or use a calendar to map out deadlines or benchmarks of when certain steps should be completed by.

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LONG TERM PROJECT IDEAS AND EXAMPLES:


Try a research project in your elementary classroom! Check out…



The Valentine Cookies PBL shown throughout this post or my very popular



Animal Research Project



Also, check back for these blog posts about coming soon!


  • How to Teach Research Skills to Elementary Students
  • How to Teach Informative Learning



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