Science and health lend themselves easily to PBL (passion or project-based learning) in my mind. But I wasnâ€™t sure how I was going to make it all work in a social studies unit about relationships, rules and responsibilities. I want this to be based on what the students are interested in. Yet there really is nothing about the words â€œrelationships,â€ â€œrulesâ€ and â€œresponsibilitiesâ€ that has the ability to inspire passion in most six-year olds. But then I thought about our six Nintendo DS gaming devices.
Because we are doing inquiry or PBL (passion-based learning) this year, my students have asked more questions than they ever have before in my classroom. Both the students and I are still learning about this process, but I like this shift. The person who asks the questions is in charge of the learning, and I want my grade one kids to be in charge of their own learning.
I believed that being new meant I had to follow someone elseâ€™s advice for the first six weeks of school, or I would be doomed. Now I know that students mostly know how to do school, and we must respect their intelligence as we build community with them.
In his summative reflection about an afterschool enrichment program, principal Matt Renwick shares comments from his students and his fellow teaching partner Renee, who agrees that “many of the students did things in this computer club time that blew me away.”
When students in Matt Renwick’s afterschool enrichment club shift from a collaborative focus to a competitive drive in Minecraft, it’s time to get out the Lego maker toys and ponder some fresh questions about the relationships among digital games, hands-on projects and curriculum objectives.