Rover Hosts First-Ever, Schoolwide PBL Night
Project Based Learning (PBL) has been taking off at many of our Tempe Elementary schools thanks to District-wide encouragement from our Superintendent Christine Busch. At Rover Elementary, Principal Dr. Mark Eley challenged the school’s leadership team at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year to come up with ideas to improve PBL participation. Rover Language Arts Coach Donna Raketich had a an idea that had the team 100 percent on board.
“I suggested we try a school-wide PBL project for grades two through five and have kindergartners, first-grade, and special area students participate in whatever way they could,” said Raketich. “In December, we took this idea to action!”
Rover staff brainstormed different ideas to focus the learning and then Dr. Eley created a survey to vote on which idea the staff thought would be most successful at implementing. Rover ultimately voted in favor of a school-wide PBL project on art standards.
“Our driving question was ‘How do culture and time impact art?’,” explained Raketich. “Each grade-level then chose which type of art, science, and social studies standard that they would like to focus their learning around.”
Rover teachers gave their students an overview of varying cultures and civilizations around the world that have spanned across time. For example, first-grade students focused their PBL projects on ancient Egypt, while fourth-graders focused on Greek mythology. Rover students have been working on these projects since the beginning of January.
“Students were able to choose which topic interested them most,” said Raketich.
On April 12, Rover welcomed family members, community members, and staff to admire the projects that students have worked so hard to create. The school was packed with people eager to learn about the world’s cultures from Rover students.
“The night was bigger and better than I would have ever dreamed possible,” said Raketich. “We received a lot of positive feedback from parents and District leadership.”
Although Rover has not approached staff about doing another PBL night next year, most of the teachers are excited for the possibility of another event.
“It was great to see the community and parent support our students,” said Raketich. “The night was a huge success.”