What Is Project?

Before incorporating the Project Approach into our curriculum, Rohan Woods faculty and staff visited and studied at Duke School in Durham, North Carolina – a leader in Project Learning. 

Rohan Woods implemented Project into our classrooms with an approach utilizing the best practices.  Rohan Woods School uses Project in class to provide in-depth investigations that challenge students to apply skills, knowledge, and strategies from different content areas as they do authentic research, analyze data, think deeply about problems and draw conclusions. As projects evolve, students build on their unique interests and talents and become experts in a particular area of the project topic. Through project work students not only learn new concepts and content, they develop the competencies essential for future learning: the ability to formulate essential questions, conduct research both independently and collaboratively, evaluate and synthesize results, present those results to others, and reflect on the strengths of their work and the ways they can improve.  Project provides a platform for engaging students with challenging academics that put the emphasis on student involvement.  This approach also encourages leadership skill development in teamwork, planning and presentation. 

Project Approach Model

Rohan Woods School bases its project work on the Project Approach model developed by Lilian Katz and Sylvia Chard. Katz and Chard define a project as an in-depth investigation of a real-world topic worthy of the children’s attention and effort (Chard, 1998). The Project Approach projects follow four distinct stages:

PROJECT APPROACH

  • STAGE 1:  PRELIMINARY PLANNING

The teacher selects a real-world topic based on student interest, the school’s curriculum standards, and the availability of resources. Using their experience, knowledge and ideas, the teacher represents them on a topic web.

  • STAGE 2: BEGINNING A PROJECT

The teacher uses an activity or discussion as a springboard to discover what students know about the topic. Frequently, the teacher e-mails parents, encouraging them to talk to children about the topic and share any relevant expertise. Students share their stories at school and represent their knowledge through drawing, writing, photography, drama and oral sharing and their representations are posted throughout the room. As a result of this phase, student questions begin to emerge. Teachers post these questions and wonderings along with the children’s representations. These can be amended or added to as the project progresses. During this phase, the teacher evaluates the students’ abilities to discuss their knowledge and formulate important questions.

  • STAGE 3: DEVELOPING A PROJECT

Teachers arrange for students to do field work and interview guest experts to answer their questions. The teacher also provides resources at school to help children with their investigations. These resources many include real objects, print, videos, or internet resources. At times, students will do the same field work; at other times research will differ depending on the interests and abilities of students. As students make and carry out plans, record observations, collect data, interview experts and conduct experiments, they represent what they learn and teachers help students post it in the classroom. Each day, the class discusses what students learn, which often leads to new questions. The teacher evaluates each student’s planning, follow-through, details in observation, research, ability to apply academic skills, and ability to work cooperatively with others.

  • STAGE 4: CONCLUDING A PROJECT

Teachers and students plan and prepare for a culminating event during which each student or small group of students take the role of experts and share with others what they have learned. Teachers help students select material to share and involve them in reviewing and evaluating their work. They also help them select the method by which they will share their knowledge, which allows students to capitalize on their interests and talents.


Meaghan Knobbe

Meet Meaghan Knobbe

Project Outreach Coordinator

Meaghan Knobbe began teaching at Rohan Woods School in the fall of 2014 bringing a plethora of educational experiences with her. Meaghan is passionate about differentiating instruction and activities to make learning enjoyable, and she provides a warm atmosphere that promotes independence and responsibility. Meaghan has extensive experience in both the public and private sector having taught since 2005. In her spare time, Meaghan enjoys traveling, reading, knitting, and spending time with her family and friends. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and Masters of Arts in Education Degree from Truman State University.

Contact Meaghan Knobbe

Class Updates

Second Graders Love RWS! (from Fall, 2019)

Nov 05, 2019 | Uncategorized

Wow! Time flies when you're having fun!! That was the Second Grade motto for the first trimester. It's hard to believe we are already in November! Some of the highlights we've experienced are: a field experience to Eckert's, a field trip to Litzsinger Road Ecology Center to study native prairie plants, Glendale Fire Department visiting for Fire Safety Month, Grandparents' Day, and a school-wide Halloween Parade!  Here are some things the Second Graders have been engaged with:

  • Students learned various subjects through hands-on instruction.
  • Reading for details
  • Reading about how different places affect us, and how we can be active members of making our community a better place
  • Spelling words (Third Grade curriculum) that focus on short and long vowels, abstract vowels, and consonant digraphs... Whew!!
  • Speaking and Writing, using complete sentences
  • Identifying the naming and action part of a sentence, using conjunctions and prepositions, and distinguishing between common and proper nouns
  • Distinguishing between the four types of sentences: telling, commanding, asking, and exclaiming
  • Daily 5 to become better readers and writers, while also allowing for student choice of books across a variety of genres
  • Singapore Math- Adding and subtracting three digit numbers with regrouping
  • Studying math facts to increase automatic recall
  • Showing responsibility with both our younger PK and First Grade Buddies
  • Project- Second Graders worked with First Grade on a mini Project about apple orchards. They went on a field experience to Eckert's to ask questions to an expert, see an actual apple orchard, and pick apples to make their own apple pies, apple crisp, and applesauce. 
  • Project- First and Second Graders began a Project on grocery stores. They brainstormed a 100 word-web, categorized the 100 word-web, invited an expert from Dierbergs in to speak to them, and generated meaningful interview questions for the community expert. During Project, students are learning about helping others, kindness, and empathy.
  • Multiple STEM activities to activate problem solving skills, collaboration, and teamwork
  • Dissection of pumpkins- Students estimated height, circumference, and seed count. They then measured for circumference, height, counted seeds, and dissected a pumpkin
  • Students continued to work on team building, collaboration, compromising, and problem-solving skills.
  • Social Studies- Students created their own Oceanside city maps. They used a map key, symbols, a map grid, scales, among other map concepts.

Second Graders worked hard to be kind, compassionate, and academically successful during this trimester! Stay tuned for more exciting news from the Second Graders at Rohan Woods!

- Ms. Coleman

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