Project Based Learning is currently a buzzword in academic circles. Project Based Learning is a “teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge.” Here at Calvin Christian School we are committed to this teaching in our classrooms, with the hope of inspiring a passion for learning and exploring God’s creation, and the various relationships found within it; in science, socials, English, physed, music, and even within our peer relationships. We believe that when students are engaged in learning, excited about solving problems and given freedom to make choices and mistakes, amazing things happen, and beautiful work is accomplished.
Through PBL we challenge our students to develop 21st century skills such as collaboration, team work, creativity, critical thinking and problem solving,we encourage our students to produce “beautiful work,” work that they have put significant thought and time into, something that has often gone through several rounds of editing and refining (with the help of classmates critique and ideas) and something that they are proud of.
Beautiful work is also motivated by the desire to share it with an authentic audience. This is a large part of Project Based Learning. Students discover that what they produce means something to someone else, or can be used in a meaningful way by others or the community around them. Our school is excited to invite the school community through our doors during Open House in May and see what PBL is all about. Each student will have PBL inspired work to show and share with others. Come and see what it is all about!
We believe that our purpose as teachers is to equip every student “for every good work” in God’s kingdom. We often reflect on how this can be accomplished, how we can meet the needs of each student and also challenge them to refine and develop the gifts God has blessed them with. At CCS, PBL inspired teaching is a tool that we can use to develop these gifts in our students. Some examples of PBL units and PBL inspired teaching include:
- JK/K classes – Inquiry based learning – listening to students wonder about things (butterflies, ants, weather, space etc), exploring them further and developing communication skills to articulate what the students see/hear/feel and have learned. - Grade 1 – Exploring the question of what an animal needs to survive. Students engage in learning about a self-selected animal and learning about what it needs for food, habitat and defense. - Grade 2 – We ask students what makes a fun and safe playground. Students learn about 3D shapes, each attribute of the shape and designs the ‘ultimate’ playground. Students develop presentation skills and also create a 3D model of the playground along with a map.
PBL is an amazing tool that teachers at CCS are using more and more in their classes. We seek to engage our students in the learning process and develop a passion for learning. It is our hope that as we do this, each student will be equipped with the skills needed to serve in God’s kingdom, and be a light.
~Mrs. K. Taekema
"Why Project Based Learning (PBL)?" Project Based Learning. Web. 19 Oct. 2016.