By: Kathy Lohse
*This is part six of a six-part series exploring Projects with Purpose. Find part five here.
How will the community engage with and support our process?
Our celebration brought Shooting Star room families, school board members and community members to Borton. The family and friends of Miss Karen, the teacher the sculpture is dedicated to, came as well. The celebration started with the 2nd-grade students greeting people as they entered the school. They told their story, including every step in the process from ideation to completion.
As I listened to what the students were sharing with our community, I was struck by how well they remembered the timeline of the project. The students engaged with the community on a social level with a confident voice. One of the skills Project Based Learning promotes is the ability to “think on your feet”, being able to answer questions that might be unexpected. All the students showed their passion for the project, artfully answered questions and could clearly explain the purpose of the project.
What does this all mean for our students and our school?
Well, now we have a sculpture in our inner courtyard. Our community knows the story of the sculpture, and all of us are taking care of the sculpture. I believe that the community will continue to care for the sculpture because the project engaged everyone’s hearts and the Shooting Star Room students explained the “why” behind the sculpture so well. This project was large in scale, but never once did the students falter on their belief that they could accomplish the task.
Here are some excerpts from the student reflections on the process-
I feel wonderful about this project because everybody helped make the sculpture. I learned that you can’t do everything by yourself. I learned that everything is possible. -Alton
I learned that triangles are the strongest shape. – Jazleen
I learned that we all did an amazing job and that it takes a whole group of people to decide something, not just you -Flor
I learned that you need to make separate plans to make a big sculpture – Graham
The sculpture is full of kindness. It’s full of happiness. -Rayce
The students were engaged in this work because the project spoke to their hearts as well as their minds. They know that they made a difference because of the positive feedback from their school community. This type of confidence, growth, and learning, is why we pursue projects with purpose.
Thank you for following along! If you have any questions or stories to share, please don’t hesitate to reach out. For the links to the full series, visit the series overview here.
About the Educators:
Kathy Lohse is the PBL Coordinator at Borton Magnet School. Sheila Encinas is the teacher in The Shooting Star room. Borton Magnet School, in Tucson, Arizona, prioritizes Project-Based Learning and Systems Thinking.