I apologise that I didn't write last weekend. Finding a balance between work and life is a very fine line. Especially when your job requires you to prepare everything outside of the hours 9-3.30pm (yes, I do get 3 hours of preparation time, they just seem to fizzle away most of the time, chasing up enquiries, answering emails and updating displays etc).
We conferenced with each project group over the course of last week. Like any learning environment, there are some groups who have luck on their side and projects that are naturally falling into place as well as others who are in need of a gentle nudge in the right direction, still enthusiastic none the less though!
The purpose of the conferences was to discuss the end product that each group is working towards. Having the opportunity to sit together without time restraints was a luxury that allowed everyone involved to have a clear picture of the goal that is approaching with speed. When do we get the opportunity to do that in a traditional classroom?
The clarity that came out of these chats was the result of careful planning; something that came up in conversation between the PBL staff members this week. Throughout our journey as educators, I am very proud that it has been through careful planning and considered questioning that our students have created each opportunity to learn about and develop their project.
For many students, this week was the 'ah-ha' moment. Having to articulate what they would be presenting on exhibition night and how they planned on sharing this with their audience suddenly made this whole process very real, but in such a positive way.
It is hard to describe; perhaps it is pride in their own efforts, a sense of fulfilment in the hard work completed so far or the drive to be the first students at Moreland Primary School aiming to raise the PBL bar as high as possible, our expectations or a combination of all of these things that are making project based learning a valuable and rewarding experience.
Another milestone this week was the arrival of some of our first 'experts' in the form of parents with specific skills required to support our projects beyond the seemingly everlasting knowledge of teachers ;)
To have adults discussing the evolution and direction of the projects was exciting to observe. The genuine interest from boths sides was clearly apparent and we are very grateful to VJ, Michael, Rebecca, Augusta and Brigid for giving up their time to come and learn together.
Being a naturally inquisitive person when it comes to the new and slightly unfamiliar, I am continuing to read about project based learning as an experience for students. I think the link below is a wonderful example of the many ways that we have carefully gone about planning for this pilot project. Please take the time to read it and leave your feedback as a comment!
I think I will conclude with a quote from one of our students when asked what she like best about PBL. The answer (whispered in case a magical hand might swipe down from above and rebuke her); "We get to learn like adults." My job here is done.