Tuesday, July 11, 2017

(Review) Project Based Literacy: Fun Literacy Projects for Powerful Common Core Learning

Project Based Literacy is an approach of high interest to the Literacy PLN. 

“Overall, this book is a fantastic guide for the teacher wanting to engage their students in real-world, authentic learning.”

“Easing the struggle of implementation, Gura and Reissman provide a practical guide for teachers to not only get their feet wet, but also dive into PBL with a specific focus on literacy... Additionally, they make the case that PBL is an essential part of the literacy classroom, as it reaches cross-curricular goals of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).”


“This book makes a meaningful contribution to teacher/practitioner literature. It is organized to first motivate teachers to consider a new approach to standards-based teaching, and the authors provide strong rationale for incorporating viable and authentic projects into the literacy classroom. Twenty easy-to-follow guides assist teachers with starting their journey to PBL activities.”

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record
Date Published: May 22, 2017
http://www.tcrecord.org  / http://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentID=21986

ID Number: 21986, Date Accessed: 7/10/2017 7:00:15 PM


Project Based Literacy:
Fun Literacy Projects for Powerful Common Core Learning

reviewed by Jason Trumble — May 22, 2017Project Based LITERACY
Title: Project Based Literacy: Fun Literacy Projects for Powerful Common Core Learning
Author(s): Mark Gura, Rose Reissman
Publisher: Information Age Publishing, Charlotte
ISBN: 1681232928, Pages: 214, Year: 2015
Search for book at Amazon.com
or from its publisher @ http://www.infoagepub.com/products/Project-Based-Literacy

As I work with preservice and in-service teachers, I challenge them to consider how their teaching and curriculum engages students in authentic ways while also increasing their digital age competencies. We explore how real world, digital age learning must include communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. Project based learning (PBL) exemplifies these skills and promotes real-world learning for students of all ages, but it is difficult to do, and do well. Easing the struggle of implementation, Gura and Reissman provide a practical guide for teachers to not only get their feet wet, but also dive into PBL with a specific focus on literacy.

Project based literacy: Fun literacy projects for powerful common core learning begins with an explanation and rationale for incorporating PBL with literacy, and then the authors provide practical tips for teachers, followed by twenty detailed projects. Finally, they wrap up the book with tips for incorporating technology into PBL. This logical progress allows the reader to develop a conceptual understanding of the concept and contextualize the pedagogy before putting it into practice.

 Readers get their feet wet in the introduction as the authors propose PBL as a viable alternative to the humdrum test-centric curriculum dominating many schools. Gura and Reissman suggest that moving literacy teaching to well-designed PBL activities allows students to be self-motivated in naturally and authentically achieving essential literacy competencies. Throughout the introduction, they reiterate that during well-designed literacy projects, student motivation increases as students invest in the process of learning through doing. They propose that teachers will enjoy teaching through PBL as well.


Additionally, they make the case that PBL is an essential part of the literacy classroom, as it reaches cross-curricular goals of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).
 Chapters One, Two, and Three define PBL and refine the reader’s understanding of what differentiates a classroom activity from a PBL exercise by identifying core elements of the project based approach. This approach finds its foundation in the English Language Arts mentioned in Chapter One, and is expanded upon in Chapter Three. Four of the language arts are identified in this book: reading, writing, listening and speaking. Although the authors do not include seeing and visual representation, given they are not part of the common core literacy standards, there is an implicit understanding that PBL is effective at engaging all the essential elements of the English Language Arts. The core elements for PBL are derived from the ELA standards, and are supplemented by the eight essential elements listed on www.bie.org. This book was published in 2016, and bie.org has updated their PBL frameworks to look a little different from what is presented in this work. Much of these changes are semantical, and Gura and Reissman sufficiently explain what must be analyzed for a teacher to successfully implement PBL activities.


The explanations in Chapter Three identify the Common Core literacy standards and discuss how this pedagogical and curricular shift in the classroom meets all four literacy categories with rigor and authenticity. These chapters all discuss how PBL is a natural fit for the Common Core and the literacy classroom.
 


In Chapters Four and Five, the authors discuss some practical benefits of literacy projects. They discuss how PBL activities create intrinsic motivation, because they focus on the students’ real world. Students can find purpose in learning about and impacting their community beyond the classroom as they engage in the project. This naturally moves into the tools and competencies for digital age learners. These are skills that incorporate technology and collaboration, and prove essential for the 21st century learner. The connections between these skills and PBL experiences are detailed in Chapter Five.

Chapters Six, Seven, and Eight move to support the development of teachers’ pedagogies as they offer practical solutions to general questions for PBL experiences. They address the elephant in the room and the reason many teachers stay away from PBL instruction: classroom management. They discuss four strategies for understanding how to manage the learning environment. The authors then provide strategies for teachers to procure an authentic audience for students’ performances. Then, before delving into the practicality of a proposed project, the authors discuss assessment in relation to Common Core standards and learning goals of literacy projects. The practical strategies in these chapters set the stage for Part Two.

Part Two is where Gura and Reissman provide actual projects that are ready to be implemented in the literacy classroom. Each of the twenty chapters begins with an activity summary followed by specific procedures leading to the student learning project. The authors predict the amount of time a project will take, and then comprehensively align the PBL activity to both common core standards and the ISTE Standards for Students.

Assessment suggestions are outlined and the authors describe possible avenues for authentic sharing of students’ work. Each project chapter ends with technology connections, literacy connections, suggested texts, and project extensions. The logic of instruction for each of the projects allows teachers to quickly read and reference as they implement PBL activities. The final chapter includes tips and tricks for incorporating technology, and serves as a guide for teachers who may be less comfortable with digital technologies.

This book makes a meaningful contribution to teacher/practitioner literature. It is organized to first motivate teachers to consider a new approach to standards-based teaching, and the authors provide strong rationale for incorporating viable and authentic projects into the literacy classroom…

Overall, this book is a fantastic guide for the teacher wanting to engage their students in real-world, authentic learning. For those teachers anxious about change and technology use, Gura and Reissman provide scaffolds and supports for reference. As teachers, we consider how to make learning real and authentic for our students, and while it can be difficult, resources like Project-based literacy: Fun literacy projects for powerful common core learning, help facilitate the exploration of new pedagogies and approaches to teaching in the digital age.

Read the full article at its source: http://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentID=21986