Week 8 Reflection
This has been a good week. These past readings about project based learning have made me think about my own classroom and the projects that I do. I have been reflecting on my projects and thinking, “Is this Project-Based Learning?” When I was reading about Project-Based Learning, I gained a deeper understanding of it and, at the same time, realized that I still have much to learn.
One of the things I don’t see myself doing much is having students working in groups. This is something that I still need to work on. I have never really liked students working in groups. I have tried groups a few times, and it seems like they don’t work out the way I want them to. Either one of the students is doing most of the work or they can’t get together to work on the project. Many times, the most advanced student ends up carrying the burden. The problem I have observed is that, while one outstanding student might have the skills to do the whole project, he or she doesn’t have the skills to teach the others how to do it, so very few in the group actually learn anything. On the other hand, the teacher knows how to teach, so I will have a much better chance of getting through to an individual, and differentiating my instruction for that student than if I throw her or him into a group with other students.
This week, I learned that the problem I have been having with groups can be helped by dividing up the tasks assigned to group members. This is something I still need to work on before I do it in my classroom. I think if I give them a task, as is done in some of the articles I have read, then it could go much smoother.
One thing I do think I do well on is incorporating the multiple intelligences when possible. When I am teaching, I present what I am teaching in a variety of ways. I usually present using auditory, visual, and kinesthetic tools. This way, I at least reach most of the students. After I then can see who still does not get it, I can work with those few students one on one to help them understand.
These past readings have really made me want to do more with Project Based Learning in my classroom. I want my students to be engaged, to be able to use their individual strengths to get more from a lesson, and to remember what they have worked on. I have been looking on the Internet to see what else I can find that will relate to what I am teaching in social studies. What teacher doesn’t want her students to be engaged and to process information in a deeper, more knowledgeable, manner? I know I want this. I also know it will take more work, but once I get it down, I will have developed a whole new approach to use in my classroom.
Once my students are immersed in a project and I can see they are learning and retaining that information, working in groups, and producing a quality project, then I will be happy and know that they will be ready for the 21st century.