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STEM/PBL Showcase Night - November 15, 2018

Dear Parents,

As you know, our 2018-19 school-wide instructional focus is Soaring to New Heights! This initiative is centered around Project Based Learning, or PBL, to promote deep teaching and learning while creating a school culture where students love to learn.  Research shows that through the PBL model, students gain valuable knowledge which gives them the opportunity to apply the skills they learn in school to personally relevant, real-world situations. Your child also learns valuable 21st century skills through PBL such as how to think critically, solve problems, work in teams, and make presentations. These skills will help students succeed in the future, both in school and in an ever-changing workforce.

We would like to invite you to our STEM/ PBL Showcase on November 15, 2018 from 4:30-6:30 pm. This evening showcase will be a time to browse your child’s classroom and view the amazing work our students have done this semester through PBL units.  The presentations will not last the entire time frame. It will be set-up in an open-house style, as if walking through a museum. While it is not required that students come to the showcase, it would be great for them to participate and share their work with others in the learning community. We encourage parent visitors to first go to your child’s classroom, and then walk around and browse what other grade levels have done. Students may remain in their classrooms while you browse, as some will be sharing their presentations with other visitors. All students do not need to stay the entire time and may leave with you once you have had the chance to browse the museum. 

We are very excited to showcase the outstanding work our students have done with STEM/PBL thus far and hope you will be able to attend.  Our students are so proud of their accomplishments! They have been engaged in the real-life application of Project Based Learning and can’t wait to share this experience with you! You will see everything from microorganisms and preventing the spread of infectious disease, to our own student biologists researching how to prevent animals on the endangered list from becoming extinct!

5 Reasons to Showcase Our Project-Based Learning

1. Accountability – Measuring Our Impact
If we want to be evaluated by something other than test scores, it is incumbent upon innovative and progressive educators to come up with other ways of telling our stories.   Committing to sharing student work with the public is a great accountability measure because PBL performances require demonstration of a broader skill set including not only content knowledge, but also important 21st century skills such as collaboration, creative problem solving, communication and creativity.

2. Community Learning – Teaching Our Friends and Family
PBL showcases can have the added effect of educating our community about topics they might not be readily familiar with. Public demonstrations of student learning are an opportunity to bring our learning community together to focus on critically important topics we all could learn more about.

3. Increased Student Effort – Making It Real, Makes It Important
When students know they will have an audience beyond their teacher, there is an immediate adrenalin boost that motivates them to up their game. 

4. PBL Sparks Public Dialogue – Talking About Schools
I have found that my sincerest conversations with parents about why and how school should change to meet the evolving changes of our society happen at school events when parents are exposed to the impact that PBL teaching can have.  It is hard to question the decreased reliance on traditional skill and drill teaching methodologies when students are exposed to deep teaching and learning that looks like this!

5. Celebration of Youth – Giving Them the Spotlight
Finally, our students are wonderful—diverse, creative, energetic, and kooky. What better way to honor their hard work than to let them shine publicly and recognize them for their awesomeness? Nothing is more rewarding than watching students visibly glow with pride after successfully completing a significant accomplishment. Because success is contagious, as students begin to believe in what they can do, they want to do more.

The joy we get from watching our students exhibit their academic skills and knowledge at an unprecedented level, particularly when those performances are in front of their parents, siblings and the community, makes PBL well worth the effort!