CD 356 Reflection 3- The Project Approach

We had a really nice discussion about the importance of allowing children to have a choice in what they are learning. We talked about how projects are so much more meaningful when children learn about things that they want to learn about. We shared personal experiences of projects we have done in the past that we felt we were able to do whatever we wanted for. We all had similar experiences of spending a lot more time and effort on those projects than others because they were things we cared about and wanted to know more about. We also talked about how this method requires a lot more work out of the teacher. It’s not really possible to recycle old curriculums when you receive a new group of children with a new set of interests. However we agreed that this was a good thing. This way the activities are always designed around the specific group of children they will be conducted with. I really enjoyed learning more about the project approach.


The Project Approach – Curriculum

The Project Approach

I looked into the Project Approach to curriculum for this posting. I found a website online, http://projectapproach.org/. This was a great website that went over teaching and setting up the project approach from a teachers point of view. So this has a few extra steps than just going over it with the classroom. It was a little more guided than some project approaches have been in the picking of topics. The company explains as Megan also commenting on in groupd discussion of how the project approach builds on natural curiosity, enabling children to interact, question, connect, problem solve, communicate, reflect, and much more within one curriculum set up.  My interpretation of the steps, went as followed;

  1. Project Approach Introduction
    1. Objectives: This section introduces you to the theoretical framework and learning benefits of the Project Approach. Journal prompts guide you to reflect on your own teaching methods and to consider possible advantages of implementing the Project Approach in your classroom.
      1. What do you know
      2. What do you want to know
        1. Journal a list of goals to achieve from this study
  • Planning a Project
    1. Objectives: This section builds on the theoretical foundation established in the first section by guiding teachers to take the first steps in planning a project for their own classroom. Readings and project examples provide a better sense of what might work well in your classroom, while also helping you integrate curricula goals and learningstandards into project work. Journal prompts encourage you to develop ideas and questions and to reflect on what was learned.
      1. Consider the topic
      2. Design topic web
            1. Journal why this topic
            2. Key events for the project
            3. Where and how are we going to get data for study
  1. Starting a Project with Students
    1. Objectives: This section begins with a number of readings about the initial stages of the Project Approach. These readings help you build a toolbox of strategies for introducing the project to students by tapping into what they already know about the topic. This lesson also includes activities to try out in class to enhance students’ knowledge base and discover the potential of the topic. Journal prompts allow you to brainstorm and reflect on strategies.
      1. Go over previous steps with students
    2. Developing a Project with Students
      1. Objectives: This section walks you through the development phase of project work with students. It includes readings about how to prepare for and undertake fieldwork—and how to follow up on and make the most of fieldwork experiences in the classroom. A journaling assignment allows you to reflect on and consider the learning benefits of your field experiences.
        1. Visit to Field Site
        2. Assess interests
      2. Representation and Investigation
        1. Objectives: This section guides you through the process of using documentation for students to showcase their steps in project work and learn from their classmates. It also helps you select/design appropriate assessments to track each student’s progress, both as individuals and as members of a group. A journaling assignment enables you to take note of and reflect on their observations of students engaging in project work.
          1. Plan, discuss, and negotiate with students the project work to be done.
          2. Develop ways to keep records and assess progress
            1. Invite experts to the class
            2. Assess and monitor
            3. Develop displays of students work.
  1. Work Process and Products
    1. Objectives: This section guides you through the heart of the project by giving tips on how to collect additional resources and enhance the learning that occurs through project work. It also guides you to help students develop an evaluative language for assessing their own work. A journal prompt encourages you to jot down questions and solutions for this particular phase of project work.
  1. Conclude the Project
    1. Objectives: This section guides you through the last stage of the project, during which teachers and students work together to figure out ways to present what they’ve learned to an outside audience. A culminating event is planned, and both teachers and students reflect on and evaluate the entire process. Steps are then taken to start thinking about a next project. A journal prompt encourages you to reflect on you thoughts about the last stage of the project, and a writing assignment offers an opportunity to earn a certificate of completion from Sylvia Chard.

I think from the group talks we all like the project approach. We agree that it should be used within most curriculums. I personally think that I would use this with a younger class and use this to teach research techniques then upon there cognitive growth they would be able to participate in personal studies and projects. However until then you can still let them find their independent part to the big project. I think the uses are adaptable and very DAP for children.


356 Reading Response 3

On March 4 in CD 356, there was a small group reading reflection discussion, in regards to Waldorf education and it’s curriculum practices. Around the circle each person talked about the article that they had read. One of the members of the small group discussed reading an article in regards to flaws within teacher practices and training. She said that the article had rather upset her and arose an interest. While looking for an article to read for this reading response, that article peaked my interested but instead I read an article about and titled Anthroposophy and the riddle of the soul written by Rudolf Stiener. hearing her frustration of the article, did raise interest and will be reading and gaining perspective on what exactly is going on with teacher training.


CD 356 Reflection 3 Montessori

Once again, I read about the Montessori Method. Even after reading it twice already, I still find that I am learning more about the Montessori Method. Those that I met with in class had also been apart of previous Montessori meetings. This particular reading taught me about the different types of mind that a person reaches at the different stages in their life. I also found it to be interesting that we, as a society, have built the idea of education around this idea of different stages of learning. We expect certain types of learning at certain stages in life. When someone enters or leaves a stage, we change what it is that we want to teach them.


RIE approach

The Magda Gerber’s approach philosophy is respect for, and trust in the baby to be an initiator, an explorer, a self learner.  Magda encourages caregivers and parents to provide an environment that is safe and cognitively challenging and emotionally nurturing.  A big thing that is seen in her approach is “Never put a baby into a position she cannot get into or out all by herself. Caring for a child is more actually like a partner dancing, in which both members of the dance team need to know the steps, someone has to know the leads. The more this routine is rehearsed the more secure it will be. This dance routine is a way of disciplining toddlers. Setting up a predictable life with expectable routines, sets up an infant  to become a child who is more easily able to display self-discipline. The infant is more willing to accept adults guidance because she has developed trust in us. An infants needs should be met in a timely manner. When the caregiver responds this let’s the infant know that they are a good communicator.

Reflection #3

For my last reading I read about Montessori, I learned that Montessori techniques can be used successfully with all children, whether they are gifted, have learning disabilities or other special needs. Also this method gives children Self Worth they learn that they are important and their ideas are valuable. I really like the sensorial materials for the purpose of developing a child’s five senses. The materials have a wide range include the cylinder blocks, the pink tower, the brown or broad stair, the red rods, the colored cylinders and more. Their are other materials used for the learning and discovery activities of older children.


[CD 356] Reading Reflection – Project Approach

Last week I read Helm and Beneke’s book, The Power of Project, and found the book very practical for teachers who choose project approach curriculum as teaching model. There are teaching strategies that I found extremely useful, such as it mentioned the fact that, when planning project themes, not all topic are interested to al children: “For those who might be more interested in different topic, the teacher can acknowledge the feeling by saying something like ‘I understand that you are not especially interested in the Bike Shop Project. I hope the next project we do will be more interesting for you. In the mean time, do what you can to help the others in your group.’ In this way, the teacher expresses genuine understanding and respect for the child and makes clear the importance of working and helping others” (p.15). The book included tremendous amount of projects that students worked on in different schools, based on separate learning goals as well as special focus for ESL (English for second language) students and the ones with special needs. There is a specific chapter that the book spent to talk about ESL, which I found personal related because I learned English as a second language in school. “Being bilingual has definite economic advantages and increases career opportunities” (p. 64). While more and more students in US are bilingual, teachers are mostly only speak one language. “Children with ESL are more likely to have discipline problems and to drop out of school before their education is completed because English is the only language used for instruction” (p. 65). It is important for teachers to realize that children with different language often experience cultural conflicts due to different expression such as expression of emotions and attention. Teaching English to an ESL children are more challenging for teacher as well as for students to learn English as a second language. The book listed teaching second-language strategies, including: using demonstrations, modeling and engaging role-plays, repeating words and sentence patterns, etc. “Children vary greatly in their motivation to learn a new language” (p.65), and I believe that it is important for educators to make any language learning experience meaningful for children. To achieve academic learning goals as well as help develop children’s internal emotions, “the warmth of the classroom and how comfortable a child feels with the teacher also influence language acquisition” (p. 65).

The other member from my discussion group also read the same book, and we both found it interesting that the book mentions, “the use of the project approach in the U.S. has been stimulated by information about projects developed in the preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy” (p.7). I thought that project approach model is developed from Piaget’s Developmental Theory because there are big amount of the guidelines of project approach model is similar to Piagetian’s philosophy, such as autonomy and engagements. At the same time, it is understandable due to the close relationship between project approach and Reggio Emilia approach: they both focus on children-directed learning experience through sensory and relationship building.

In the Introduction of The Power of Project, there are several records of the conference of NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children), and one of them was talking about curiosity, “If children aren’t challenged to think, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If children don’t get a chance to be curious and find answers to their questions, they don’t see themselves as successful learners, or they don’t view school as a place where they can learn interesting, relevant thing. Eventually, their intellectual curiosity dies” (p.1). I shared this with discussion group and we both found this really powerful and influential for our personal teaching philosophy.


Reading Reflection 3

For my third reflection I choose to read about project approach. My group member and I both read the same book, and agreed that this style of curriculum supports a child’s natural way of learning. What I like best about project approach is that it seems to accommodate best with a child’s zone of proximal development. This style allows children to question, explore and reflect on real life events and situations. The advantage of project approach is that it allows flexibility in teaching. This allows the teacher to be there to guide children in exploring. Rather than expecting children to come up with a right or wrong answer. This helps children to feel confident in their findings and become self-motivated learners. My group member and I found it interesting that “the project approach” stimulated by information about projects developed in the preschool of Reggio Emilia.


Reading Reflection 3

For the last reading response I did I read about Waldorf Education and the Rudolf Steiner articles. I really focused on the first two articles and I actually really enjoyed them. The Waldorf education is a model that I really enjoy learning about because of how hands on it is for the children and how real life it seems to me. When discussing about Waldorf in the group I think we all decided that we like how hands on it is and we like that because it is a good way to keep the children engaged in what they are learning. We also enjoy that with Waldorf there are so many different methods the use when teaching about a certain subject, like math. The Waldorf education is a good approach for children who need hands on learning and like to have movement within the curriculum.


Sarah’s Piaget Reading Response

For my third and final reading response I read about Piaget and his theory on teaching arithmetic. One thing that I found to be interesting was that Piaget believes that children should do their own thinking when it comes to mathematics. Children should be given the opportunity to invent their own procedures for solving math problems. I really like this idea because it allows children to discover a way of learning that helps them the most.

Piaget also feels that children should share their methods and thinking with their peers so that students can learn from one another. This is very important to me because I think children learn best from their peers and are more likely to remember something when someone they can relate to taught them. Mathematics helps children develop their social skills if they are able to share their ideas with their peers.

Another important point that I learned from Piaget is to relate mathematics to children’s daily lives. When children are able to relate what they are learning to their own life then they absorb the information better and have an easier time remembering the information learned.  Overall I think Piaget has a great overall approach to teaching children mathematics.