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Project-Based Learning at PFFS

DSC_0002As you may know, students at both PFFS-University and PFFS-Downtown are fully engaged during these last weeks of school in the deep learning associated with interdisciplinary, project-based units of instruction.  Project-based learning (“PBL”) is an instructional methodology that asks students to engage in curriculum in a meaningful way and requires that they demonstrate not only mastery of content, but that they also utilize the important 21st century skills they will need to be successful in today’s world.  For more information on PBL, visit Buck Institute for Education; JoAnn Groh (PFFS Co-Director) is a National Faculty member of BIE.

To Rise 1During these last two weeks of school we encourage you to engage your young person in conversations about what they are learning:  At the University campus – the Game of Life (8th) and Iconic Children’s Toys (6th/7th) and at the Downtown campus – Rock Cycles/Climate Change (6th/7th).  Our goal is not just have students accomplish tasks, but to think deeply about Essential Questions that will shape how they see the DSC_0006world.  All of our 8th graders at PFFS-U successfully completed their Graduation Portfolios on Wednesday and many wrote significantly about their project based learning experiences throughout their three years with us.

During the last week of school, at PFFS-Downtown there will be a Showcase Night on Monday, May 18th from 5:30-6:30 pm.  IMG_4798 (3)On Thursday night of that week, May 21st the PFFS-University 8th Grade ‘Promotion Ceremony’ will start at 6:00 pm in the ZUZI! Dance Theater followed by a reception in the Historic Y ‘Courtyard’.  At that event, students will talk about the people who have meant so much to them while they were engaged in the deep work of learning at PFFS, reminding us that academic rigor cannot happen without the relationships that first set the stage.

Finally, it is the last day of Teacher Appreciation Week.  PBL is enthusiastically embraced by all of our teachers because they know that it is the best way for students to learn.  But it isn’t always easy.  It takes creativity, collaboration, communication and problem solving (the same skills we are working to have our students practice!).  We would like to publicly recognize and thank our PFFS teachers for sticking with it – especially at this time of year when summer and break is just around the corner.  It may not be easy, but it is so worth it!

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