Project Based Learning- A Service Learning Project

Are you familiar with Project Based Learning?  Let me share a little bit about what it is and how this new project was created.  I have always wanted to take some time to create a hands-on, critical thinking project that also involves giving back to the community.  I was talking to an instructional coach last week and this topic came up.  It was like a gentle mental reminder that I needed to move this up on my to-do list.  If you are like me, when something gets in your head it just doesn't go away until you just do it.  I thought about this project for hours.  I even dreamed about it. 

What is project based learning?  

Project based learning creates opportunities for students to work on real-life situations.  It allows the students to think critically, problem solve and collaborate with a group.  When I think of project based learning, it reminds me of our roles in our careers.  We work together on a project and produce an end product.  Project based classrooms are student-centered and less teacher-centered.  The teacher is the facilitator.  Students learn by doing.  I just love this! 

In Create Your Own School Carnival, students will learn how to prepare a school event for the community to enjoy.  The twist on this PBL is that the money profited will go to charity.  This is a community service project that will benefit any charitable organization of their choice.
I know we are all stretched for time in our classroom.  State accountability is a big pressure.  In order to achieve high standards on state testing, we tend to push things like this aside.  In a world of no state testing, I could see an entire academic year filled with project based learning classrooms. However, there is a possibility of how we can implement PBL and still meet state standards.

1.  Start Small- Have 1 class/teacher begin a Project Based Learning.  In this packet, the students will have a great end of year carnival (or any time of the year).  If you choose for the students to just plan the event but not have the carnival, that is also a possibility.  However, the entire school and community could enjoy the end project.
2.  Pick the time of year- If you're worried about accountability and how to fit this in to your already hectic schedule, you pick the time of year to begin the project.    
3.  Put it in your daily schedule- Some schools are including Genius Hour or PBL time in the daily schedule.  Students get an hour to research, investigate and collaborate with their peers on topics that are of high interest.

WHY Implement PBL?
Project based learning is not only real life but it is meaningful to the students and it is academically aligned.  We all know by personal experience that when something has more meaning we are more invested in it.  When we are invested, we learn more.  It's a win-win.

Here is a list of all the great activities:

• Carnival Team at a glance (two pages)
• Brainstorm planning page (details of the event)
• Carnival activities
• Donation list
• Event and Supply list
• Talent show planning guide
• Rental planning guide
• Communication and Announcements
• Carnival checklist
• Supply List (expenses)
• Rental list
• Ticket Prices (Three pages)
• Carnival layout grid
• volunteer information
• volunteer planner
• create a newspaper article
• Advertising using social media
• Conduct a school survey
• Analyze school survey
• Our business plan at a glance
• Our business plan- Big Idea
• Our business plan- Marketing
• Our business plan- Finances
• Charity Planning tool
• Design your own carnival tickets
• Design your ticket booth
• Create a new game

 Download a copy of this Project Based Learning Packet here!

 Question for my readers?  Does your school have Project Based Learning?  Tell me about it.

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