Today Hillside teachers launched their 11th quarter of integrated curriculum centered around a driving question, and I think it was the best example so far of how to draw students into their learning, inspire them to be more intrinsically motivated, and encourage them to think more deeply about what they are learning
Today Hillside teachers demonstrated the power of these important PBL (Project Based Learning) components! They did a fantastic job of drawing students into their 2nd Quarter Question: What compels people to venture beyond their personal world?
Without giving them the overarching question, Ms Leah, Ms Cindy, Ms Suzanne, and Ms Jena guided students through a series of questions and activities to get them thinking. What compels you to do fun things? After imagining their favorite activities, students were asked to answer the question on a hot pink sticky notes and share their ideas by sticking them to a large poster paper in the front of the class. What compels you to do the things you have to do? Up flashed pictures of household chores, students doing homework, kids mowing the lawn. This time they answered the question on a blue sticky notes, and attached them to another poster paper. What compels you to do things for others? A video played showing students doing service projects, people being served, images of those in need and people holding up signs saying I WILL GO. This time students used green sticky notes and answered the final question. Students were engaged, and they were excited to share their ideas. Sitting in the back listening, I was able to capture some of the things they shared.
What compels you to do fun things?
They are fun. They help you relax. You know you like to do it. Fun things keep your mind off things. I get to do them with my friends and hang out with friends. I enjoy them.
What compels you to do the things you have to do?
It meets my needs. I’m forced to by my parents. If I don’t I’ll get in trouble. I want to do them so I can be successful.
What compels you to do things for others?
It’s the right thing to do. It brings me joy to see others happy. God calls us to do it. It connects me with others. It helps to spread joy and love.
To further connect students to the idea of being compelled to do something, teachers introduced a young guest speaker, Sarah Ulrich. Sarah was invited to come talk and show pictures of her recent trip to Laos and Vietnam. She and her team carried Bibles into churches that didn’t have any other access to Bibles. She shared her experiences and what compelled her to go on the trip. She explained her motivation using 6 key words or phrases. 1) Story – your story tells what you value 2) Motivation & Action – motivation is only shown through your actions, your actions reflect your motivation. 3) Compel – when you are compelled, you are pushed toward doing something by a force 4) Love – Christ’s love compels us and so does the Bible 5) Sacrifice – giving back what we have been given 6) Dream – What do you dream about? Passion should motivate, not fear or worry. Students listened intently. Some asked questions, many nodded along, showing their agreement and understanding of the things she was saying.
Finally, to encourage students to take their own ideas farther, students were asked to sort the sticky notes with their ideas into overarching categories that described the force or motivation that compelled them. Teachers modeled for the students using a few of their examples. Soon students had three descriptions for the things that compel them: Guilt/ Fear, Self Motivation, God’s Calling. Working in groups they sorted all of their responses into one of the three categories. When they finished, they were given their Driving Question for the quarter. What compels people to venture beyond their personal world? Immediately, students started talking about what might motivate people. And the question and ideas were talked about in numerous classes throughout the day.
The morning was a success. Through the Launch students were engaged both emotionally and intellectually into exploring new ideas, and the Driving Question will frame the project for quarter. I can’t wait to see how students link their knowledge and skills from their subject areas into answering the question at their second Expo! If you would like to learn more about Best Practices for Project Based Learning, you can find great resources at www.bie.org. For more information about our upcoming Expos of student learning please visit our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Hillside-Academy-141934655867326/.