Project-Based Learning or (PBL) is a model for classroom activity that shifts
from the classroom practices of short, isolated, teacher-centered lessons and instead emphasizes learning activities that are long-term, interdisciplinary, and student-centered. PBL engages students in complex, real-world problem solving that draws on a full range of students’ interests and abilities while being relevant to students and the community.
First grade teacher, Molly Turner, from Auburn Elementary School has eagerly helped lead an educational endeavor over the past year for Logan County Schools by being a positive voice of change on the LC Innovators Team. The LC Innovators Team is composed of teachers and administrators from across the district that have focused their attention around the development and deep understanding of the Logan County Profile of Success. The team has created goals and action plans, self-assessed current teaching practices, identified desired teaching and learning for all staff and students as well as explored models, such as PBL, that help teachers shift from the traditional style of teaching.
Mrs. Turner’s first grade students are invested and working through a PBL currently that is centered on the amount of trash that Auburn School produces each day. Students kicked off the project by taking a stroll around the school while recording the different types and amounts of trash in and around the building. Students were surprised to learn that most of what goes in the trash, and ultimately the landfill, were items that could have been recycled. Students developed an action plan on how to collect the schools recycled products and then communicated this need to all other classroom teachers within the building. Students have been collecting and sorting the schools recyclables for just over a month now and are overwhelmed with the amount piling up in their classroom. Mrs. Turner’s class will begin constructing projects that will require peer collaboration and feedback in order to innovate something new from the collected items. These new student-made creations will be on display throughout the school once completed. During this project-based learning opportunity, students have learned about the types of materials that are deemed “recyclable”, ways to reuse materials and unwanted items (even old blue jeans), as well as how to reduce the amount of waste they produce so that we have a cleaner Earth to pass on to future generations. As a way to reflect the valuable learning that occurred throughout this PBL, students will produce a short public service announcement that will emphasize the importance of and ways to “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle”. The PSA will be shared via social media outlets with communities throughout Logan County once school resumes.