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Project-Based Learning for Gifted Students: A Handbook for the 21st-Century Classroom

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Quick Overview

Project-Based Learning for Gifted Students makes the case that project-based learning is ideal for the gifted classroom, focusing on student choice, teacher responsibility, and opportunities for differentiation. This book guides teachers to create a project-based learning environment in their own classroom, walking them step-by-step through topics and processes such as linking projects with standards, finding the right structure and creating a practical classroom environment. Project-Based Learning for Gifted Students also provides helpful examples and lessons that all teachers can use to get started.

This book is designed to help a teacher turn his or her gifted classroom in a project-based learning environment. There are numerous advantages associated with shifting from traditional learning to project-based learning. For instance, project-based learning:

  • allows for more creativity,
  • is easily differentiable for students of varying ability levels,
  • motivates underachieving gifted students, and
  • creates a passion for learning.

Teachers often claim that they cannot incorporate project-based learning into their classrooms because they have to cover specific state and national learning standards. Teachers sometimes lament that they are bound to these learning standards, but these standards can instead be viewed as building blocks from which projects can be built—projects that foster student understanding, rather than rote memorization. When planned and implemented thoughtfully, project-based learning works alongside state and national standards and complements them. This book provides strategies for how to plan projects using state and national standards as guidelines, so that students approach core concepts with new depth and passion.

Chapters 1–3 of this book explain the rationale behind project-based learning. What advantages does project-based learning provide for your gifted classroom? Where, when, and how is project-based learning best implemented? The rest of the book looks at the practical applications of using project-based learning in the gifted classroom. Chapter 4 deals with finding the structure that works best for you. The structure of your project-based learning classroom—how you create and run projects in a way that best fits your teaching style, your students’ knowledge and abilities, and your classroom and resources—is the key to project-based learning. Once you have decided on a structure that best matches your and your students’ situation, everything else usually falls into place. Chapter 5 discusses how to vary this structure, once you have found it, to adapt to your classroom’s needs. Chapter 6 explains how to implement the structure you have chosen, which is greatly simplified after you have already considered your situation and how you might vary the structure as you are implementing it.

Because rubrics are the backbone of the project-based learning classroom, Chapter 7 is devoted to the topic of rubrics, discussing how to train students to use rubrics as a tool for self-empowerment and deeper learning. Chapter 8 addresses the importance of the classroom’s physical setup, which can go a long way in terms of making projects run smoothly. The role of the teacher in a project-based classroom is covered in Chapter 9. Whereas in a traditional classroom, the teacher imparts knowledge to a passive audience of learners, in a project-based classroom, the teacher acts as a coach, enabling students to excel and supervising them as they progress. The reproducibles in Appendix A, including rubrics and learning contracts, can be used as they are or adapted to fit your classroom. The lessons in Appendix B provide samples of projects that I have used in my own classroom, with students’ work included. You may use these same projects, or perhaps they will provide you with ideas for your own classroom.

Once you commit to project-based learning, you and your students will find it difficult ever to return to the traditional ways of teaching and learning. Having made my own classroom a project-based classroom, I know that I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • Todd Stanley

    Todd Stanley

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Additional Information

SKU PRU7132
ISBN 9781760017132
Publish date 09/10/2015
ascd video No