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Our Take

Student-led Learning with Sandra

Read on to find out how the newest member of the curriculum team, Sandra,  has developed a fun, new resource for teachers and students!
Since joining the team at Education Opens Doors in August, I have supported the implementation of our curriculum in dozens of classrooms. On a weekly basis, I see students participate in conversations around their academic aspirations. Prior to joining EOD, I taught 5th grade in Fort Worth, Texas and championed a college going culture on my campus. I am lucky to be able to merge my interests in college readiness and student achievement in the name of educational equity at Education Opens Doors.

On my second day at work, our curriculum guru, Courtney, let me know that I would lead the development of a brand new curriculum initiative: Project Based Learning Experiences. I was thrilled! My best memories from teaching were the times I facilitated project based learning experiences with my students. If you have not seen what project based learning looks like in action, check out this quick video from Edutopia:

Project Based Learning allows students to have autonomy. Students decide how they will create their project and what information they will actually present. They determine what questions they’ll have to answer as they complete their project. In short, PBL requires that students step up and lead their own learning. Students are able to demonstrate their understanding of content without a multiple choice test or fill in the blank questions.

I am ecstatic to share what is in the works at EOD. Currently, we offer one complete Project Based Learning Experience. Building on our “Types of High Schools” lesson, students will research and compare two local high schools so that their classmates can make the most informed decision about the high school that is best for them. The project can end with presentations in their classroom, or it can be extended and developed into a campus “High School Fair” so that the Roadmap to Success students can share their learning with their classmates, peers, and community members.  I fundamentally believe in teacher autonomy and the project is set up in such a way that teachers can make decisions that match the needs of their students.

This PBL is a framework and includes:

  • Teacher Guide
  • Student Guide
  • Student Launch Document
  • Research Guide
  • Research Organizer
  • Rubric

At EOD, we constantly consider what teachers will need to successfully execute the Roadmap to Success. As former teachers, the curriculum team meticulously combs through each resource we share to ensure that our teachers  can run with it in their classroom. Teachers can use each of the components exactly as they are laid out or they can choose to customize them for the needs of their classroom.

There is an opportunity for teachers and  students to be game changers in their community. Our aim is that after completing the project  students will experience a great sense of pride, demonstrate their mastery, and share information with their peers that will potentially transform the decisions they make regarding their academic trajectory.

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