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Alycia

I live in New York

I teach 3rd grade

I am an almost-digital-native and Ms. Frizzle wannabe

Rhonda

I live in New Jersey

I teach 6th grade literacy

I am passionate about my students becoming lifelong readers and writers

Beth

I live in Michigan

I teach 3rd grade

I am an enthusiastic teacher and techie, and a mom of three boys

Erin

I live in Michigan

I teach 2nd grade

I am a Tweet loving, technology integrating, mom of two with a passion for classroom design!

John

I live in New York

I teach writing for grades 5-8

I am a sharpener of minds who keeps students' thinking on point

Genia

I live in Michigan

I teach third grade

I am seriously addicted to all things technology in my teaching

Kriscia

I live in California

I teach 2nd and 3rd grades

I am an eager educator, on the hunt to find the brilliance in all

Brian

I live in North Carolina

I teach kindergarten

I am a kindergarten teacher who takes creating a fun, engaging classroom seriously

Meghan

I live in Alabama

I teach 3rd grade

I am an obsessive personality with a creative flair

Lindsey

I live in Illinois

I teach 4th grade

I am a theme-weaving, bargain-hunting, creative public educator

Shari

I live in Idaho

I teach kindergarten

I am a wife, mom, and home chef who loves cooking up ways to make learning fun in school

Christy

I live in New York

I teach K-5 technology

I am a proud supporter of American public education and a tech integrationist

Amanda

I live in Illinois

I teach 1st and 2nd grades

I am a jewelry-making, pet-loving, runner, crafter, and bilingual teacher

Allie

I live in Nevada

I teach kindergerten

I am a loving, enthusiastic teacher whose goal is to make learning exciting for every child

Classroom Management for Project-Based Learning Work

By Shari Edwards on November 7, 2012
  • Grades: 1–2, 3–5

Inquiry and project-based learning are effective strategies I use frequently with my 2nd graders, but in the midst of the activity it can feel a little messy and out of control. My classroom has been filled with election projects and activities for the last two weeks, and I have seen my students' knowledge increase as they worked through their projects. In this post, I will share some tips and tricks I have learned that help me survive and enjoy a project-based learning experience.

 

 

 

Start Small

Add one or two projects to a unit when first trying project-based learning. It’s very easy to go overboard when you have a good idea, but if the experience feels out of control, it might discourage you from trying again.

map measurement

Set and Review Expectations Frequently

I can tell five minutes into the work session if I have set the expectations properly. When things begin to go wrong, re-gather students and work out the kinks. Everyone will be happier for it.

Store Unfinished Projects Together

Are you worried about stacks of paper, books, and posters during an ongoing project? My students store their work in large plastic tubs. When it’s time to work, the tubs come out and the work starts quickly.

project tub

Use Technology as a Management Tool

We use the whiteboard for collaboration, data collection, and brainstorming for our projects. I use the same board for teaching so their information can’t stay on the board undisturbed. To effectively share the space, I pull out my smartphone and snap a picture of the board or use my favorite scan app (Genius Scan) to create a PDF file of the information for later use. I can email the file to myself and either print it for their tub or project it on the interactive whiteboard during a work session. Your 21st century students will soon be asking you to preserve their work by this method.

data from whiteboard

Activate Prior Knowledge

Spend time both accessing your students' prior knowledge and, as a class, developing that knowledge about the chosen topic.

In the primary classroom, this cannot be fully accomplished by most students on their own. They need help locating and pulling information from sources, and what could be more authentic? It takes some scaffolding on the teacher's part to equip young students with the tools they need to gather information for themselves, but the time it takes will pay off as the project unfolds.

group using technology

Don’t Expect Perfection

With all of the perfect, precreated activities flooding the Internet and most likely the classrooms around your school, hands-on learning may seem too messy. Although this is a valid concern, it’s probably one of the biggest hindrances to implementing project-based learning. There is a quote that has been circulating around social media that seems applicable for teachers attempting to give their students a little more control over their learning:

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”
                                                                                                                                                         —Steve Furtick

Don’t let books and websites that show pictures and videos of beautiful classrooms and perfectly behaved students working together and producing fabulous end projects intimidate you!

You don't see their behind-the-scenes reel. Every teacher working with project-based learning has times when things feel a little loose and hectic. The successful ones just know that the benefits far outweigh the rough times. If chaos happens, don’t panic! Instead, put the focus on what is going right, and refocus the class when needed.

 

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