Mrs. Swafford's fifth grade class at Coosa Christian in Gadsden, Alabama was asked to research and present an Ellis Island project based on a rubric and complete an online virtual tour and a journal. Project-based learning is an approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges like being an immigrant coming to a new world. With this type of active and engaged learning, students are inspired to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they're studying. The students learn by doing with the PBL presentation.
Some people are not used to projects or PBL presentations but it is the new way of learning in the 21st Century classroom along with incorporating technology in the curriculum. Some are afraid of change or afraid of technology but if we hold our children back from stepping forward or moving forward then what are we going to say when our children graduate from high school not being able to present a PowerPoint or iMovie when asked to in college. Technology is here to stay and we must embrace it and projects with open arms; they help our children work independently and learn as individuals. The school work load will only get harder as they get older and if we don't allow our children to have some responsibility then when the time comes and they have 2-3 projects to do at one time, they will feel anxious and overwhelmed, because we did not want them to do it in the earlier grades.
Mrs. Swafford wanted to know how her class felt after completing the project, because they were the ones who had to present the project to the class and miss play time to work on it. Was it too much? Too hard? Was it boring or fun? If they could tell next year's class anything about the project, what would they like to tell them. Would you recommend next year's class to do the project, why or why not?