If your young students ask, "Why are we doing that?" If they wonder what school learning has to do with life outside of school; if YOU wonder how you will motivate, engage, or otherwise inspire your students to take schoolwork seriously, then read this book. Deborah Diffily and Charlotte Sassman give us pause to rethink the look, feel, and content of classrooms. They remind us that even the youngest students can fully participate in the life of their schools and their communities. And they show us just how successful children can be in conducting their own projects.
The authors detail the characteristics of an Applied Learning project, a venture in which students connect school work to the real world and direct their own learning. They offer a timeline for one such project, and describe several more, with suggestions for additional project topics, research resources, and end products. Using numerous vignettes and examples from their own teaching experiences, they demonstrate that, above and beyond academic learning, children grow into contributing members of different groups by learning how to negotiate and compromise, direct their own learning, and make daily work choices that mesh classroom learning with real-world projects.
As one six-year-old explained, "Projecks can be educkashional. Projecks can be fun." This book's purpose is the same: to help you understand the power, and the fun, of project-based learning. Try it and possibly change your life.