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Project-Based Learning at ICCS
1/5/2018 1:03:16 PM

ICCS positively changes our community one classroom project at a time, creating learners who will be ready for the real word.

Education is the profession that makes all other professions possible, and at Immaculate Conception Cathedral School (ICCS), bringing project-based learning to the classroom brings students closer to understanding the requirements of professions they may be interested in within our own community. Project-based learning is a teaching method where students gain knowledge and skills by cooperatively and collaboratively working over a period of time to investigate and answer authentic, engaging, and complex questions or solve challenging problems. 

At ICCS, students in all grades have opportunities to make decisions on what they want to learn, how they want to research to solve a problem, and which community experts are needed to enhance their understanding and learning experience. They begin to realize that assignments are not easily finished and require critique and revision, making the learning authentic because that is the process that happens in any profession. Assistant Principal Blair Tadlock says, "This is where incredibly deep learning happens. We have found that our students in this model have much higher expectations of themselves than we would realize in a traditional classroom setting using this method.” 

All of the teachers at ICCS are trained in Buck Institute for Education Gold Standard Project-Based Learning, and evidence of this can be seen in any classroom, from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade. A sixth grade Spanish class taught by Señora Alicia Manthey has been working on a project designed to answer the driving question: How can we use Spanish communication skills to develop a taco truck business?  Students collaborated to create a mock-up taco truck, develop a menu, and experienced ordering in Spanish and seeing a taco truck business in action with Señor Mel of Taco Mel. They published their projects via the ICCS Facebook page, and were able to gain real world business experience applied in the classroom setting. 

Second graders have learned about cartography through project-based learning, and music classes have learned how composers create and record music, bringing in local musician Chris Shearman. "When students are creating a public product, they are more likely to be invested in the work,” says Aimee Romano, ICCS fourth and fifth grade English Language Arts teacher. "I have noticed that since their essays and artwork are now posted on the class website, they care so much more about making sure their work is high quality. They don’t even mind making corrections to their final drafts.”

Eli Crawford, an eighth grade student explains, "I liked that we got to solve a problem and make an improvement to our school. I also learned about having a fixed mindset and a growing mindset.” Fifth-grader John Filo says, "I liked how we got to compose or remix our own song. I learned that it may take a while to compose or remix a song, but it is totally worth it.” Students who created songs will be selling them to the school and community soon, giving even more value to the idea and practice of project-based learning. Cole Pierson, an eighth grade student, sums up the heart of project-based learning perfectly. "I learned that my team can change our school community with an idea.”
Posted by: Lauren Atterbery Cesar | Submit comment | Tell a friend

Categories: Parenting

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