If you were to ask me, "how can I make my summer school program fun and engaging?" (and not just fun and engaging for the kids), I would say, "make personalized, self-directed project-based learning the foundation of your summer school program".
It doesn't matter what subject you teach, whether you're a classroom teacher or a home educator, or whether you're a rural or urban educator. My answer would be the same across the board. No question. Run a project-based summer school program.
Spring is the perfect time of year for citizen science! It's warming up outside, students are getting antsy and exhausted, testing is underway, and breaks are badly needed. On top of that, things start to get active in the world of wildlife, especially in temperate regions like Minnesota. Animals emerge from hibernation, migrating species begin their long journeys to their summer sanctuaries, and it's breeding season for many organisms.
What are some examples of self-directed learning activities? This is a popular question among educators that have an interest in student-directed learning, and know the benefits, but aren’t sure about semantics.
Before getting into great self-directed learning activities, let’s review what student-directed learning is and why this blog post is worth reading.
Are you in need of inspiration or examples of project-based learning activities for Earth Day?
Earth Day is just around the corner and it’s time to start thinking about how your students can not only learn about Earth Day and the Earth itself but also examine and act upon the role that they play in keeping a clean and healthy planet.
Project-based learning is a great way to do that. Here are 10 examples of project-based learning activities for Earth Day that challenge your students to protect, conserve, and preserve the Earth for generations to come.
So you’re looking for activities for women’s history month, but wonder how you can make them experiential? Women’s history project based learning is the way to go!
There are so many history project based learning activities for Women’s History Month, and I will offer some of those ideas right here in this blog post.
About ten years ago I picked up a book called "Half the Sky". Within the first chapter I read this quote: "More than 100 million women are missing..." at any given time. This is because of trafficking, gendercide, domestic violence, etc. This quote, and this book, really struck me. I mentioned it, and the PBS documentary that goes along with it, to a few of my high school students.
They were interested, largely because many of the issues resonated with them personally. These students led project-based learning experiences on some of the issues and shared their final products with the school community.
When it comes to assessing project based learning project experiences, or figuring out how to demonstrate learning and showcase learning experiences from the students' end, project portfolios are a great option.
Project portfolios are great for evaluating project based learning projects as single experiences as well as on a more grand, comprehensive level. For this reason, I love to start self-directed project-based learning project experiences with the end in mind. I implement and design PBL experiences around these portfolios.
So how do you utilize project portfolios in your classroom or homeschool? In short? Students can self-direct the building and management of project based learning project portfolios all on their own with a portfolio template and the implementation tips in this blog post.
As I write this we are approaching year two of the pandemic. Teachers are still in and out of the classroom, with distance learning becoming the reality again, at least for the time being. Educators are looking for ways to motivate students to work effectively, productively, and independently from home. But how?
With self-directed project based distance learning experiences, of course! But HOW? How can you not only coordinate and facilitate project based distance learning experiences, but do that smoothly and effectively?
Innovative final products can really help spice up a project or project-based learning experience. Rather than the tired poster board or slideshow presentation, kids can get really creative with final products.
Now more than ever, either because of project based distance learning needs, interest in building tech literacy, or the desire to go paperless, educators are in need of digital final product options. This blog post is an extensive catalog of digital final product ideas for demonstrating learning in innovative and creative ways.
What is an authentic presentation?
Some of my favorite projects over the course of my teaching career have been those that have truly embraced the idea of sharing work with a relevant and meaningful audience; those that have included an authentic presentation.
To provide innovative educational resources for educators, parents, and students, that go beyond lecture and worksheets.
Sara Segar, experiential life-science educator and advisor, curriculum writer, and mother of two.