To all my readers,
I wanted to share with you something special! This theme we are working on is Fall Investigations. So, in order to spice things up a bit our Pre-K team decided to do a project based learning (PBL) unit. Well, not to anyones surprise, we were totally scared to death to try something completely different and throw the last couple of years down the drain and start a whole new way of teaching and learning. Not only were we starting a new way of doing things, but we are also learning how to infuse all of our lessons with technology including google hangout, h@tch, google drive, promethean flipcharts, and much more. Well, given that I am a first year teacher, I was all for it! The first thing we started with was what was our driving question?
A driving question in project based learning is a question where a student cannot google the answer but is a series of answers and something that can not easily be answered. Well, if you have ever done project based learning. This is probably the hardest part, because I mean, what can’t you google now-a-days? Well, I thought about this a lot. The other teachers had some good ideas, but none of them really jumped out to me. Then, I had a break through, I was driving home, and I looked around. I live in a small town, where they grow sugar cane in the Fall. This was perfect, I finally had an idea! My question could be, “What is fall in Louisiana?” I googled the question. NOTHING. I mean of course they had swamp pictures and stuff, but nothing that really resembled what Fall actually was in Louisiana. Our trees don’t always change colors, not everyone lives by a swamp like everyone thinks, and it really isn’t cold here just yet. So there it was, my driving question!
After finding my driving question, that was just the beginning. We found ourselves wondering well how do we do this? How can we let the children lead the lessons? How can we let them discover, if we don’t tell them what they are trying to look for? How can we prepare for the week, if we don’t know which direction it will go? We were completely overwhelmed. But luckily, we had a mentor to help us with what to do next. Our school board was behind our team 100%. They took time out of their day to train us with PBL and the new technology. They even gave all of us webcams so we could hangout with people around the world and other classes! It was truly impressive how much support we received.
After all the trainings and discoveries, we were ready to start. I began my charts with my driving question. I let the children tell me what they thought fall was in Louisiana. I let them lead the way. I let them discover and tell me what they wanted to learn! This unit was truly eye opening.
Now let’s fast forward to now. We are one month into the PBL and next week is our culminating activity. For our activity, the students decided to have a fall festival! At the festival, we will have activities that let the parents know what fall means to the little ones.
This week, after the students decided to make their own fall festival, I asked the students, “Well, what will we do at a fall festival?” The ideas we heard were perfect. All around the room we had: pumpkin carving, pumpkin patch, pumpkin rolls, fall clothes dress up, leaf rubbings, etc! Fall to my kids was all about pumpkins in my class! They loved them. So naturally, what did we decide to do? A pumpkin investigation! We were going to have pumpkin races, pumpkin measuring, pumpkin bowling, and pumpkin carving! But where were we going to get all these pumpkins? Well, to help my little ones I bought a lot of pumpkins for my lower income kids, but most pumpkins were donated by parents.
I can’t wait to start our fall festival. I will let you know more when it happens!
Our Louisiana Fall Project Based Learning flipcharts, lesson plans, and activities are located in my TPT store available at this link! Fall PBL
A Happy Teacher