In my recent post The Foundation for my Ideal School, I talked about relationships being at the core of everything in education. I also shared that I believe that it is important to tap into our students’ interests and passions to get them engaged and empowered in their own learning. After the winter break, my students and I talked about our goals for the new year and we also shared our passions and interests. This ongoing conversation is crucial to the planning that goes on in my classroom. I believe that if I can include my students’ passions and interests in my lessons, than everyone wins! And this is how our project based learning project on the 5 senses was born…
My student teacher Natalie Marcoux, our teacher-librarian Derek Acorn, and I all sat down to discuss how we could revamp the 5 senses unit. This brain storming lead to (what I believe is) a pretty solid plan.
We launched our project to our students by taking them outside in the “forest”. (Note: we did this right outside of our school, but in the future, I would probably try to plan a walk to a nearby park where we could actually feel as though we were in a forest). The students laid down, closed their eyes and imagined and shared what they would be able to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch if they were in a forest.
The next day, Paw Patrol toys came to school and the students watched a French Episode of “La Pat’ Patrouille”. There was a lot of buzz in the air!! We then had a discussion about the fact that each pup has a specific job or superpower but that together, all the pups make a great team to solve problems. Slowly, we were planting seeds of excitement into their minds!
Now and over the next couple of weeks, we will be doing mini lessons, experiments, having guest speakers and experts all to help us learn about the 5 senses. Once this is complete, the creativity will begin!
The students will be in groups of 5. Each student will pick a sense as his or her superpower. The students will then have to imagine that their group is lost in a forest together and they’ll all have to work together and use their superpowers to find their way out. We are imagining that their final product will be some sort of short movie inspired by Paw Patrol, where they will have to write a story line, make props, act, record, and edit. Having said that, we are very much open to letting the students use their creativity to decide how they would like to show us their learning, even if that means that their final product will look different than what we had envisioned. We also look forward to including their voice and choice when it comes to setting the criteria for their work.
We’re very excited to see where this project will lead us. We know that we may have a solid plan, but that we have to go with the flow to see how everything will unfold! I’m excited to see what the students come up with as I’m sure it’ll be a rich experience they won’t soon forget! I’m far from being an expert when it comes to project based learning, so if you have any comments, tips or suggestions, I would love to hear them!