As teachers, we constantly think about how our classroom is set up. We may move furniture every year or even mid-year to change things around and try something new. But, have you ever tried to ask your students how THEY would like to have their classroom set up? What would their perfect classroom look like? What type of environment would they learn best in? What types of seating would they love to have? I decided to create a Project Based Learning project centered around this idea.
What is Project Based Learning?
Project Based Learning (PBL) is a way of teaching that allows students to work together to investigate, create, and solve problems in a deeper and more meaningful way. PBL addresses learning standards in a more complex way because students are actively involved in the learning process.
Every PBL activity has a question or problem to solve. Then, students work collaboratively together to brainstorm, research, and create a solution to the question or problem.
Just handing instructions to your students to complete a project is NOT Project Based Learning. In PBL, students will use critical thinking skills to brainstorm, research, plan, and execute their project. Then, students will reflect on their project and the entire process of completing the project.
Design Your Perfect Classroom – The Project
You will begin by presenting the students with the Essential Question. You can decide if you would like to do this project with “realistic” or “fantasy” type classrooms. They could even be separate PBL activities.
Students will have individual brainstorming and group brainstorming time built into this project. All of the steps to the project are laid out for you.
I have also included “Think About It” Question cards to really get their minds thinking critically about what would truly make the perfect classroom.
With this Project Based Learning Activity, I really wanted to put a huge focus on cooperative learning. This includes teaching the students to be active listeners. Each student should have the opportunity to be heard throughout the project.
An important stage in the PBL process is research. I have included some resource sheets to help students think about their research when designing their classrooms.
Every step of this project is broken down into manageable portions for your primary students. For the materials, you can provide the materials for your class or you can have them decide as a group which materials to bring from home.
I have provided a variety of recording sheets to fit the diverse needs of your students. Kindergarten students and early 1st grade students will be successful with the drawing reflection sheets and brainstorming pages, where 2nd graders and some 1st graders can use the writing reflection sheets and brainstorming pages.
What are teachers saying about this project?
“This is such a fantastic resource! This will be a perfect way to introduce working in groups right at the beginning of the year while also receiving insight on what students would like to see in our classroom! It will make for a great back to school activity! I really appreciate the step-by-step implementation directions, as well as the resources to even help with expectations. Thanks for a great resource!”
You can check out this Project Based Learning Project by clicking HERE or on any of the pictures.