Have you implemented a long term project in your classroom? Students benefit tremendously from these experiences. My favorite type of long term project to use in my classroom is a project based learning (PBL) task. This post features one of my favorite project based learning activities for elementary students that is perfect for Valentine’s Day and the days leading up to it. It’s a great way to celebrate the holiday, while continuing to work on grade level standards. Learn more about PBL and these project based learning activities for elementary students below!
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).
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. You can decide what works best for you and your students.
Long Term Project Ideas and Examples
Try a research project in your elementary classroom! Check out these project based learning activities for elementary students: The Valentine Cookies PBL shown throughout this post.
10 Benefits of Long Term Projects
Below are the benefits of using long term projects like the project based learning activities for elementary students featured in this post.
- 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
Here are some long-term project management strategies that are helpful for when you implement project based learning activities with your elementary students. If you are interested, check out these other classroom management strategies too!
- 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.
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.
In closing, we hope you found this post about project based learning activities helpful! If you did, then you may also be interested in these other posts: