12 Days of Teaching: One project-based learning activity

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As we move into the holiday season, we thought it would be fun to focus on some themed education tips and teaching strategies, loosely following the 12 Days of Christmas—but with a Teachers Media International twist.

For the next 12 blogs posts—each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday—we’ll offer up 12 cool ideas, beginning with today’s post: One project-based learning activity. The posts may not make for good holiday song lyrics, but we can guarantee a fresh perspective on some new, or new to you, teaching strategies.

But first, a refresher on the difference between projects, and project-based learning.

Projects can be completed at home while project-based learning requires teacher guidance and team collaboration. Project-based learning demands some “need to knows” on the part of the students and teachers; whereas projects can be outlined in detail on a single piece of paper. Projects are often recycled year after year, whereby project-based learning is timely, complex, and takes time to prepare and implement.

Sound daunting? It isn’t—particularly when you consider that project-based learning provides an excellent opportunity for you to keep students focused on learning, even as the distractions of the upcoming holiday season threaten to take over your classroom. If students are engaged in a long-term meaningful project, they are less likely to be distracted by eggnog and twinkling lights.

The key is to start now.

This Edutopia article outlines some wonderful cross-curricular ideas for project-based learning activities, many of which tie into the holiday season, or can be completed without mention of Christmas at all. As a provider of professional development for educators across the globe, we’re especially drawn to the projects that teach about different cultures, customs, and learning practices.

However, if you’re keen to try a Christmas-themed project that will facilitate collaboration and teacher input, take a look at this Teachers Media International video in which students are tasked with creating a festive newsletter.

We hope the ideas here have inspired a project-based learning activity in your classroom. Check back with us on Wednesday when we offer two fun writing prompts to keep our 12 Days of Teaching going. As always, we welcome your comments and feedback.

~ The Teachers Media Team

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