Project Based Learning in a Resource Room

Coming back from Winter Break, I had a couple of girls want to be "The Teacher." I said okay and asked what they had in mind. They wanted to something other than guided reading. After asking more questions I pulled out ideas like animals, camping, or rain forest. I have three second grade reading/math groups and they each chose something different. The fun part was working out how IEP goals were going to fold into the mix. In some cases, it was easier said than done.

I had students start with making a KWHLAQ chart. This gave me an idea of what they wanted to do and learn while working on they Project Based Learning Experiment.  Starting this way gave me a template on what the group wanted to do while I focused on making sure IEP goals were met. Plus, they didn't get hung up on spelling and went to town. (This will be used as an assessment though out our project.)

From here I was able to complete my Google Presentation and create a road map of where they were going. This Presentation for each group, became the working list of what each student needed to get done.  They all started out with creating group expectations before setting them off to start their research. The list of requirements aligned with IEP goals. As I have them only 30 minutes, I didn't put a timeline on each item but let students move from task to task as they completed them. My thinking was it would give me a chance to differentiate each task for each student and they could move at their own pace--not getting hung up on the whole-the end being more important.

From this, the group moved to building their background knowledge through Symbaloo and Google safe for kids. This allowed me to pull the places together that would information they could look at, read and watch. I had the opportunity here to create a scored example of what the final written product needed to look like. I did this because their written work needed to align with their IEP goals. Their writing needed to include a circle map which could be turned into a five sentence tree map frame and then became their written paragraph. All with the help of the internet and books.
The thinking map frame is a Tree Map which was created to support them writing in complete sentences. They have a topic and concluding sentence with three compound sentences. Both thinking maps are designed to be a thinking frame and students are encouraged to use critical thinking and the information from their "resources" the books to create the final written product. Even when the same text is used, students will create their own paragraphs. Its that critical thinking that we celebrate as a group moving them away from always using my examples.

The example I created for them has all the pieces they have to create using their own topics. It also has the scoring rubric attached to it. Students have seen all pieces of my examples with each piece modeled and independently practiced before this project.  They paragraph will be used as part of the portfolio of examples since it targets multiple IEP goals.

Each tree map is corrected by me after students have completed their draft. I help them make sure sentences make sense and double check their spelling. The ideas are strictly these and supported by the resources their used. Its cool to see students work on the same topic but create very different paragraphs and they love sharing what they have found. I think I'm going to have to add a sharing aspect--probability somethings they will hate but I think with all the sharing they are doing it will work out.

I can't wait to see where they take the part of their project which is everything from a science experiment to make s'mores to making commercials  to save the rain forest and save endangered animals. Where ever they take me, I'm sure it will be fun. Until next time,


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Welcome to my all thing special education blog. I empower busy elementary special education teachers to use best practice strategies to achieve a data and evidence driven classroom community by sharing easy to use, engaging, unique approaches to small group reading and math. Thanks for Hopping By.
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