Project Based Learning in a English Learners’ Classroom Part 2

Dr. Shary Shimray, is a Stem Department Chair, CLI Ambassador, Campus Data Facilitator, Campus Innovation Connector and a Mentor for new teachers at International High School.Currently, I am teaching Algebra 2, Geometry, Computer Science.

I would like to share some of the highlights of Project Based Learning (PBL) that I have implemented from what I have learned through PBL Leadership Pathway.

Our school consists of 100% emerging Bilingual students, with the majority having beginner level English language proficiency.  With this limitation, students are hesitant, and few are likely to be risk-takers unless we provide them with authentic choices. Students feel empowered when provided with more authentic choices in what they learn, how they learn, and how they demonstrate that learning. Given agency, they become more invested in learning the content. By increasing student investment in their learning design, they will effectively engage in the course content and can achieve a higher level of success.

At the beginning of the unit study, the teacher provides a clear vision of learning content that allows students to have a clear vision of their final learning goal. In addition, the teacher allows students to have authentic voices and choices. This enables students to plan out their learning pathways according to their own needs and their pace. During the process of planning and seeking knowledge, students develop critical thinking skills and develop metacognition.

Example of students using learned Geometric 3D concept to design a birdhouse:

As students implement PBL, from “Need to Know” to  “inquiry & innovation” to “student voice & choice” to “feedback & revision” and then concluding with “publicity presented product,” each step requires critical thinking skills to carry out the journey of seeking resources and making connections with what they have learned in order to have a final product to present to the public.

Example of providing sentence stem for self-reflection & Group presentation Rubric for feedback:

Another element of PBL requires teamwork, which is very helpful for emerging Bilingual students. Through teamwork, they build a trusting learning environment. As a result of this, they feel free to give each other constructive feedback, and they learn how to work in a team to achieve a goal.

Team Carolina Black-Capped
Team Golden Eagle
Team Tufted Titmouse

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