Project-Based Learning

 

Blending literacy, art, geography, social studies, and cultural studies, BBUSA programming cultivates a dynamic, interdisciplinary project-based learning environment where student individuality is recognized and respected. 

 

Differentiated instruction levels the playing field for participating American students of all learning capabilities—including those with special needs—ensuring that everyone has a chance to demonstrate their knowledge through multiple modalities. 

 

Projects like BBUSA’s have been proven to serve students by:

 

  • Strengthening higher level thinking and understanding across content strands 

  • Improving retention of presented concepts

  • Reinforcing collaboration and communication skills

  • Building confidence in abilities

  • Helping students find their voices

  • Establishing a sense of purpose in the classroom and the world at large

  • Boosting good classroom behavior, engagement, participation

 

To facilitate effective project-based learning and set every student up for success, supervising teachers and BBUSA Directors strive to: 

 

1. Collaborate: Collaboration is just as important among the adult educators supervising the project. Sharing information related to the following areas should occur from the earliest stages to ensure that the project is accessible to all participating students:

  • Classroom environment

  • Teaching strategies and practices

  • Student needs

  • Project design elements and goals

 

2. Tend to individual goals: Every session spent working on the project delivers opportunities to strengthen any weak skill areas that students, especially those with special needs, possess. These include, among others:

 

  • Communication

  • Self-management

  • Reading

  • Expression

  • Organization

 

3. Recognize learning styles: Supervising teachers and BBUSA Directors are sensitive to the fact that every student learns information differently. For this reason, a variety of multi-sensory tasks are incorporated to differentiate instruction and serve students who may respond better to content presented via one modality over another:

  • Visual

  • Auditory

  • Kinetic

  • Tactile

 

4. Give students voice and choice: Participating students are supervised, but they are ultimately the drivers of their projects. They own their learning and make decisions along the way about:

 

  • Their interests in the context of the project

  • Areas of a project they want to explore most

  • Content they will create and how they will create it

  • Peers they would like to work with on certain tasks

 

5. Create a level playing field: Throughout the project, supervising teachers and BBUSA Directors evaluate progress equally among students, promoting the inclusion of all learning abilities. Assessment can be done, for example, with a standardized rubric. 

 

With these key components in place, BBUSA’s programming positions real-world connections and competencies within the reach of participating students, who represent a diverse range of learning abilities. This culture of inclusion ensures that no student is left unequipped with the skills necessary for their future academic and professional lives.

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