Monday, May 30, 2016

Westward Expansion Projects

Throughout the school year the third grade team and myself collaborate to create connected learning experiences that bridge the enrichment classroom to the topics that students are studying in their classroom. Sometimes the learning in enrichment is preparation for extension in their classroom--for example we explored many materials useful for learning about electricity during enrichment time and then students expanded on that use in their classrooms.  This year for students' study of Westward Expansion we decided that their enrichment time would be spent creating  projects that would be a culmination  of the learning that happened in their classrooms. Students spent three enrichment classes creating and making something that would share their learning about the Westward Expansion topic of their choice.

We had students cooking, creating green screen videos, making 3D projects from wagons to models of gold rush panning and the Alamo.  I love giving the students freedom to create anything that showcases their learning and to see what they produce.  I also really valued that students wanted to include reports and information that they had collected in their classrooms during their research. I think that creating a project at the end of a learning process can be a great way to give students creative freedom and to help them synthesize the knowledge they have acquired.

Sharing their learning in a project was great, but what gave it additional meaning was the knowledge that they would also share their projects with second graders and in the display case at the front of well as online in this blog post. As second graders prepare for grade 3....this connection at the end of the year is meaningful for all!

Here is a glimpse into the share with Grade 2:

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