I AM Projects! Go Ahead, Color Outside the Lines Projects!
We've already said that learning, at its best, needs to be emotionally jarring and ecstatically moving for our students, while simultaneously measuring up to high quality and standards. But what we haven't yet said is that it also needs to measure up to the future world of work, be progressive, and be relevant. So how to get instruction to align with so much fun and still be so meaningful, relevant, tied to the world of work, still produce results, and help our students become progressive learners? How do we produce learnavores, informavores, and instill life-long learning in our students? LBP -- Learning-by-Projects! Brand You Projects. Expert Projects. What-do-I-want-to-know Projects. Me Projects. I AM Projects!
On our strategy chart, nondirective teaching (giving choice and control to students) and individualized projects fall under the learning pathways of Personal and Emotion, meaning that they involve personal insight and individual learning preferences while also involving student emotions during learning. This combination maximizes student motivation, engagement, purpose, passion, enthusiasm, interest in learning, promotes creativity, synthesizing, application, life-long-learning, independent thinking, problem solving, thinking outside the box, coloring outside the lines, and digging, digging, digging in the sandbox of life. When students choose to become experts in an area of choice, the learning process is natural and students are free to work within their preferred learning style (Dunn & Dunn) or area of intelligence (Howard Gardner). Their project matters to them, it is relevant to their interests and potentially to their future world of work. Total engagement. Complete and utter indulgence. And we want that!
"I don't know."
"Well, go find out. Exert your intelligence, passion, and enthusiasm on a WOW! Project." Give students room to explore, to dig, to find out, to think, to ponder, to wonder, to question, and to "out their passion." Make your next classroom assignment a WOW! Project.
"They made me fall in love. They helped me figure out who I was. That's what teaching - and learning - is all about. In the real classroom."
What to read?
Eliot Levine, author of One Kid at a Time: Big Lessons from a Small School
Education and Third Millennium Work: We've Got It Dangerously Wrong: PDF Booklet
The Key Learning Community: Cultivating "Multiple Intelligences"
Project-Based Learning: At a Glance
The Big List on Project-Based Learning
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