This morning, we began to reconstruct our days. Yesterday, we spent all day on our bird playground project with little interruption or break. I’m not certain that is sustainable for them, but am going with it. Borrowing from Lyn Hilt’s session on Innovation: Elementary Edition at Educon, I placed a quick “keep/lose/need/has potential” chart on the table. They filled in a few things, and then we set it aside to continue with over the rest of the week. (Knock me over with a feather, but they LOVE the spelling we have been using because they construct their own games and projects with their words… so we’ll keep it.) On the back, we are beginning to construct a schedule. So far, they just have three things: mini-meeting, lunch, and video reflection.
I’m not certain this bird playground was the best project choice, but it’s a start and they are excited. I’m doing a lot of reading and learning at BIE and learning as much as I can about PBL and studying the student interaction and learning process.
Today’s learning highlights:
- Sourcing the last name of the landlord (using reverse phone lookup, brainstorming, visiting neighbor company)
- Researching proposal formats (found a pertinent one, compared with essay structure, collaborative writing in Google docs)
- Understanding litter prevention
- Learning how to draw birds
- Practicing phone etiquette and communication skills
- Reading about 12 year molars, pain, and medicine
As far as the meat of the day goes, today was a struggle. Several of them were not feeling the best today (see above). Beyond that, what they needed to accomplish was beyond their ability level. It was a challenge. Today was about writing, revising, and delivering a business proposal for their bird park to our landlord. It was hard for them, but they stuck through the writing process because it had a meaningful purpose. They wanted that permission bad enough to learn to write a business letter, edit it, edit it, edit it, and then deliver it.
Here is the end product:
Dear Mr. Cobb,
We are a 3rd – 6th grade class at Desiderata School working by doing project-based learning. Project-based learning is where a class or group does projects to learn. Our first project is building a bird park. We want you to allow us to use the landscaping areas west of our student center for the bird park. We will make a beautiful bird park that tantalizes the eye.
Benefits of Bird Park:
- We will be responsible for litter/maintenance in the area.
- The birds at the bird park will be beautifying the property.
- There will be no cigarette butts or hazards.
- The area will seem lively with all the birds frolicking around.
- There will be noise or music that isn’t the train.
- The birds will attract people come to shop and lease in the area.
- The bird park won’t be permanent and can be moved if needed.
The funding will be from Desiderata School classroom budget and material donations. The park will make the lot look beautiful and much more pleasing to the eye. It will be such a bright place for the ‘whole’ block, imagine, noise that isn’t the train! We will make it blend into the architecture so it will not stand out too much, but will attract birds and most people like birds. We will also try not to attract raccoons,mice,or ants.
Please grant us permission to plan a bird park in the two landscaping areas to the northwest of our student center. We will schedule an appointment to present to you the final plans of our bird park, and gain your complete consent before we build.
Thank you for your time.