Welcome to Fresno!
We just arrived in Fresno, CA yesterday (safe and soundly) to embark on a 5-day training seminar at Rutherford B. Gaston Senior Middle School, more commonly known as Gaston Middle School. Our week long training session is focused on PBL or Project Based Learning. Project Based Learning is an effective method, backed by research, that is designed to enhance and develop integral learning capabilities that are needed for success in college, career, and beyond.
The use of PBL by teachers and educators across the US is becoming increasingly popular for a number of reasons. PBL encourages students to be active in projects that stimulate both the heart and mind, engaging them emotionally and intellectually. Through PBL, students are participating in projects that are focused on student learning goals that specifically involve critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, teamwork, and self-reliance. The project is defined by a meaningful real-world problem or scenario that requires the students to ask questions, perform research, and apply insightful information. Moreover, students make their own decisions in their project, including their work method and what they intend to develop. Once their projects reach initial stages, students give and receive productive feedback that can improve their own projects. After feedback, students make necessary adjustments and then publicly display their work outside the classroom while describing their processes and methods. For more information on Project Based Learning, visit the Buck Institute for Education (BIE).
During our stay in Fresno, each day we will be working with a different department of Gaston Middle to help train and develop PBL programs to be implemented throughout the school year. Today (Monday) we were able to work with the Physical Education department on creating PBL programs that they can use by having the students plan and create their own Olympic games, obstacle courses, or hiking trails (where permitted).
Many believe that PE and PBL do not go hand in hand but by using Project Based Learning, students are encouraged to be creative by using their surrounding resources and organizational skills to develop games or exercises with input from other students. Working in a teamwork setting, students are able to increase and practice their collaboration skills. Even more so, Physical Education and PBL can also be extended to the high school where students can develop an exercise plan, games or an obstacle course that focuses on a specific muscle group of the body.
We will be documenting each day of our trip here in Fresno via our blog and Facebook. Be sure to check in tomorrow to see what department we will be working with at Gaston Middle School. If you’re interested in our Project Based Learning training services, be sure to contact us today or click here to learn more. We are more than happy to provide you with any information about our PBL teacher and educator training services.