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Progressive Education and Project Based Learning at Kazoo School. What we do How we do it Why we do it. Kazoo School. Kazoo School is a small, independent, progressive, Pre-K - 8th grade school in Kalamazoo, MI. What is a Progressive School?.
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What we do
How we do it
Why we do it
Kazoo School is a small, independent, progressive, Pre-K - 8th grade school in Kalamazoo, MI.
As Jim Nehring at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell observed, “Progressive schools are the legacy of a long and proud tradition of thoughtful school practice stretching back for centuries” — including hands-on learning, multiage classrooms, and mentor-apprentice relationships.
Progressive education doesn’t lend
itself to a single fixed definition.
Any two educators who describe themselves as sympathetic to this tradition may well see it differently, or at least disagree about which features are the most important.
Despite such variations, there are enough elements on which most of us can agree so that a common core of progressive education emerges:
Attending to the whole child -- Intrinsic Motivation
Community -- Collaboration
Social justice-- Deep understanding
Active learning -- Taking kids seriously
Today’s students will enter a job market that values skills and abilities far different from the traditional workplace talents that so ably served their parents and grandparents. They must be able to crisply collect, synthesize, and analyze information, then conduct targeted research and work with others to employ that newfound knowledge.
In essence, students must learn how to learn, while responding to endlessly changing technologies and social, economic, and global conditions.
Traditional academic approaches won’t develop learners who are critical thinkers or effective writers and speakers. Rather, students need to take part in complex, meaningful projects that require sustained engagement and collaboration.
Conducting experiments to
Plastic spider does not stick!
Engaged in Learning
Focused, cooperative learners
Fun with trains!
Sharing our learning with the community
Magnetic Fish Pond Student Made Displays
Teaching others what we have learned
Why teach this way?
-Real world problems capture students' interest and provoke serious and critical thinking
-Students learn to collaborate and share ideas
-Depth vs. Breadth - students explore topics more fully and develop deeper understanding
-Students learn to solve problems and make decisions independently
-Students develop competence and confidence
Haitian Earthquake 2010
Native tallgrass prairie
restoration at Ft. Custer
Collaborative Plot Studies
Individual Observation & Recording
Older students pair with younger
'buddies' to serve as mentors,
role models, project helpers, and
field trip 'chaperones'.
Every 4th and 5th grader is provided a laptop for school use.
Students learn the basics with hands-on projects.
. . . add some fun
Student "Legislators" presenting the bills that became laws during the Legislative Session.
A race to find the important features of our United States Regions
Create a series of clues that will direct the players to important geographical, cultural, historical, or recreational features of your region.
Use your research skills to find the important features about each of the states in your region in order to create good clues for your contestants.
-More teacher preparation
-Greater involvement with Students
-Teacher as Facilitator vs. All-knowing Teacher
-Assessing a Project vs. Grading a Test
-Managing Group Dynamics and Conflict
-PBL teaches skills (planning, problem solving, collaboration, deep thinking) that are not easily measured by standardized testing.
-Decide how you want to teach.
-If progressive, project- and inquiry-based learning resonates with your style and your philosophy of teaching and learning, seek out independent or public schools that support these ideas for your internships as well as for your future teaching positions.