Friday Favorites - PBL Activities

Every Friday this summer I am sharing some of my favorite things with you! The month of July is focused on technology and academic areas.

Check out past Friday Favorites...
PD Books
Read Alouds
Kids' Favorite Series
Book Studies
Tech Apps
Math Activities

Today I'm sharing with you my favorite PBL or social studies activities. PBL stands for Project Based Learning. It incorporates multiple subject areas into a unit and is very student-led.  I now teach social studies this way and have also been able to incorporate reading, writing, math, public speaking, and more into my projects.

Here are my favorites from this year...

Johnson Elementary - I start the year off with Johnson Elementary. Basically my class starts our own elementary school. I am the principal and they are the teachers. They get to decide what class they're going to teach, what they will focus on, what their classroom will look like, and what the rules/expectations they will have in their classroom. The teachers (my students) also get together to come up with expectations for the main areas (hallway, lunch room, etc).  The goal of this PBL is to get kids interested in PBL, start working in teams, and understand the need for rules/expectations in a school.  For more info - check out my detailed blog post on it - here.

Statue of Liberty - The Statue of Liberty was a new PBL that I started this year. The goal was for this to be a little more guided than the rest of the PBLs, but it is the first research PBL.  I knew that some of my kids hadn't researched before and some didn't have much experience with report writing so I wanted to guide them through this one a bit so they'd be better prepared for our research PBLs later in the year.  We talked about American Symbols and also brainstormed questions that we would want to find answers to when learning about the Statue of Liberty. I created a website on Weebly with links to safe, kid websites for the Statue of Liberty.  Students researched and took notes and we also wrote our first report.

International Week - Holland Presentation - This week our school had an International Week. Each class had a country to research.  My class researched Holland. I broke my class up into partners and the students focused on researching a certain topic - culture, food, kid's lives, etc.  Then, they created a little presentation and presented it to our visitors to teach them about Holland.  For more info - I wrote an entire blog post on our school's International Week - check it out - here.

Famous Historic Figures- One of our social studies standards has us focusing on important leaders in US history. We focus on Rosa Parks, MLK Jr, George Washington, and Abe Lincoln. Students can request certain figures and they work in groups to conduct their research. Then, like the others they create a report and come up with a way as a group to present their information about their person to the rest of the class.

Country Presentation - We did this PBL prior to our school taking on International Week. The kids were split into groups and each group took one of the six countries.  It was very similar to our report on Holland - each group focused on their country's culture, food, geography, schools, etc.  After they researched, they wrote a report about their country and then came up with a presentation to share with the class. Some students created books to share their information, some created posters, and some a KeyNote.

Thanks for stopping by! Next week I'll share some of my favorite teacher supplies for the classroom!

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