I recently completed my first thorough session researching examples of project based learning activities. I found quite a few solid examples of PBLs. The examples I found have given me a stronger understanding of what a PBL is supposed to look like. While reading novels, the students and I make connections to the text constantly. That is a natural part of being an English teacher and a learner in an English classroom. Project based learning seems to take what I already do and expand upon it. Once I have a stronger understanding of PBLs, I know that I will incorporate them when it is meaningful and manageable.
At this point, I do have an idea for my project. I teach two different classes. One course reads To Kill a Mockingbird, and the other course reads The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Both novels deal with issues related to race, economic status, and compassion. I am currently looking at picking the first idea. I have two ideas at this point:
- How do you teach compassion to children?
- Something about race and the judicial system in America.
With the first idea, I was thinking students could look at the importance of teaching compassion to children in order to raise respectful, compassionate adults. Students would then create a way to teach the importance of compassion to first or second grade students at a local elementary school.
I am unsure how I would phrase the second question. I want students to explore the role race can play throughout the judicial process in America. Students can research communities, crime rates, and prison sentences. Students could compare data in order to create their thoughts. They would then create a product on their findings and what changes they think could be made to the system. Again, this topic is still a work in progress.
Here is the link to the PBL template that I will be editing throughout the course.