Project-Based Learning is Thriving at River Grove

Delivering essential standards-based curriculum in a way that connects with students
River Grove

Over the summer, River Grove’s Teaching Team has collaborated in depth to expand Project-Based Learning (“PBL”) at our K-6 charter school, located just outside Marine on St. Croix, MN. The enhanced educational platform is built around the concept that students learn by engaging in real-world and personally meaningful projects. 

Why PBL? 
Educators increasingly recognize that “the real world” — every kind of workplace, home, and even recreational setting — is filled with projects that require analysis and solution from many angles. Exposing kids to a multidisciplinary problem-solving process is a great motivator for elementary-age students, who thrive on hands-on activities. Simply put, PBL gets kids more involved in learning!

How is this PBL Program Perfectly Suited for River Grove? 
Building on existing plans, our teachers have designed a program for 2022-23 in which all students will take part in two large scale, age-appropriate group projects — one per semester. The projects will be centered around the concept of “Seasons of River Grove,” covering topics such as “The Winter Forest,” “The Sky Above,” “Growing Things,” “Our Town,” “Our River Grove Home,” and “Rivers and Dams.” Standards-based core curricula — earth and physical sciences, local history, math, reading and writing, music, and art — and are all incorporated into answering the “Big Questions” that are posed at the start of each project.

River Grove

Frequently during the school year, local community organizations and experts will come to campus to talk with students, or students will venture out on field trips to informative, pertinent sites such as the St. Croix River, museums, farms, or wildlife centers. Friday afternoons will be focused, uninterrupted blocks of time for students to focus on current projects.

Each student will work in groups, learning 21st century skills of collaboration, using important roles such as researcher, recorder, timekeeper, or materials manager. Students will also find time to work independently, bringing their contributions back to the group. River Grove’s philosophy of “PRIDE” will play center stage during the whole process:

  • Perseverance (have a growth mindset and don’t give up);
  • Respect (treat yourself, others, and your environment with kindness);
  • Integrity (do the right thing even when no one’s there);
  • Discovery (be curious!);
  • Excellence (always do YOUR best).

Ta-Da! Presenting a Showcase of Learning
Two River Grove school-wide celebrations will be held during the academic year for students to show products, share a publication, give performances, or do demonstrations.  We look forward to sharing our students’ successes with parents, families, and our community! Showcase dates will be announced after the start of the school year.

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