During an unprecedented time in the history of schooling, nearly 55 million of the country’s 57 million K-12 students have been affected by school closures. Learning is taking place on a variety of levels ranging from all technology-based learning to students having no access to technology, requiring paper/pencil learning plans. But even as these challenges are being dealt with, students already have completed at least seven months of learning, and we do not want that to be invalidated.
We know our members across the country are grappling to find resources while simultaneously creating plans to ensure that their students’ learning does not end with the closure of their school building and ascertain whether their efforts have succeeded. With this in mind, AFT President Randi Weingarten has promoted the idea of project-based learning kits (also referred to as capstone projects) as a way for students to demonstrate what they have learned in innovative, meaningful ways.
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Free Project-Based Learning for K-12
To address this, a cadre of K-12 AFT members worked together to design standards-based, integrated content culminating in project-based learning kits that are grade level and developmentally appropriate, and which enable students to demonstrate learning in a variety of ways. Teachers can adapt and modify these project ideas as needed. All of the necessary resources have been provided (e.g., hyperlinks, activity sheets, question prompts, etc.) to make them easy to use. Most of all, we want students to feel good about all they know! Explore ways for your students to show off what they know, and check out the grade-band themes and keep in mind that you can share completed projects on the free Zigazoo app or share personal interviews and narratives using StoryCorps Connect. These project-based learning kits are great for distance learning, but can also be used as year-end capstone projects for in-person teaching. Read more about these innovative project-based learning ideas and projects below.
Grades K-2: All About Me
The "All About Me" project can be customized to focus on mathematics, science, reading and art.
Elisabeth (Lisa) DickinsonManager, Professional Learning & Member EngagementEducational Issues Department AFTLisa Dickinson oversees the professional learning work at the American Federation of Teachers.