On May 30th, English learners (and their teachers) from across the Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Maryland, came together to celebrate and share their learning. It was a day of smiles, questions, explanations, laughter, and most of all…..confidence with academic language. I’m excited to share our day with you!
Three years ago we began our project-based learning journey using our English language development curriculum. As recommended by the essential project design elements from the Buck Institute for Education, we sought opportunities for our students to share their learning and target their presentations to an authentic, public audience. Throughout the year, our teachers arranged for various ways to make this happen for students ,whether partnering with local businesses and organizations, the county’s volunteer network, or other schools.
I believe it is very important for those outside of our program to participate in positive experiences with our students and to learn the value they bring to the community. By year two, we knew we wanted a way for our teachers and students to share their work with one another, not only as a celebration of their successes, but also as an embedded professional development for our teachers who were still learning what project-based learning looks like in action. This year, our project celebration was double the size of last year and the quality of work was amazing!
Signing up to present at the Project Celebration was voluntary, with both an elementary and a secondary project room. Teachers and students worked on a rotating schedule, presenting to visitors and then being the audience for others. Students K-12 mingled, presented, questioned, and explored eat other work. Our school system television studio cameraman filmed and interviewed students, adding a level of professionalism and excitement.
I hope you are able to feel the pride and excitement for learning that buzzed through the building that day. That’s what we love about PBL – the student ownership and excitement makes teaching our students so easy!
COMING UP NEXT – Curriculum Rewind – Why PBL?? The development of a project-based learning approach to English Language Development Curriculum K-12