Sunday, May 13, 2012

Playground Project Reflection 

  What I would really like to tell everyone is that I developed this project last summer and have been rigorously working on this day in and day out for months to make it perfect.  However, there is nothing farther from the truth then that statement.  
  This thought actually trickled into my mind when I was on a Saturday morning date with my daughter mindlessly digging in the sand.  I was trying to conjure up some ways to make learning the mundane math material (dare I say it) fun!  I thought 'here I am, a grown man, having fun digging in the sand and the school I teach at does not have any recess equipment for the kids.' Then I put my two thoughts together: fun and a playground.  'That's it - I'll have the students create their own playground!'
  With that one thought I was quickly off and running with ideas overflowing my brain, like an unwatched pot of boiling water.  First, the essential question came to mind. Then, the learning goals - then lets have the students create businesses.  All these thoughts keep coming to mind. The students will have to create a budget.  The budget will include buying equipment, making purchases, including tax on products.  They will to use a variety of math skills addition, multiplication, percentages, and so on. We can use Google Earth to purchase the land next to the school so the kids have to figure out the perimeter and area.  I was firing off these ideas left and right ready to finish this entire project in one day.   Then...I heard this little tiny voice, 'Da-Da' oh how I was quickly brought back to reality.  Then I realized family first - I'll have plenty of time to work on this during naptime.  
  What started out as a tiny little thought turned out to be one of the most interesting, educational, not sure where the road is going to take us journeys that I have ever been on.  I believed that I already had a motivated, overachieving math class to begin with.  Once I explained to the students what we were going to do - students were already talking to their neighbors on what they wanted their playground to look like.  On a daily basis the students were diligently working, asking intriguing questions to one another, performing at a level I had never see them reach.  I realized that the students were driving and I am just along for the ride.  You know what?  I enjoyed each and every minute of the trip! From the minute we started until the minute we stopped students were collaborating, creating, and taking control of their learning.  It was one of those moments when you really realize why you became an educator. 

1 comment:

Lani said...

I love the tone of this post and the exemplary learning you designed for your students!

Your video out on YouTube really illustrates their engagement, and their learning.

With this wonderful success, I'm wondering will you be approaching your curriculum through a PBL approach more in the future?

Congratulations-- your creative PBL approach is clearly a winnner!