Creating and developing skills by doing is the product of understanding. This supports and leads me to share about the importance of project-Based Learning (PBL). I first became familiar with PBL when reading Tony Wagner’s Global Achievement Gap that goes to a much deeper level about schools that work. He defined rigor as not how much content is covered but how deep the analysis of the content goes. Rigor is about the pursuit of inquiry, which results from hands-on learning and showing what you know. After beginning a new reading and writing program three years ago, time did not permit any efforts of implementing PBL into the curriculum. I now realize just how important it was for developing thinkers and problem solvers, and I will now be looking at ways to find time to bring it back into the classroom.
During the reading of David Perkin’s book Making Learning Whole, I was able to make connections to the way that I manage my classroom and I discovered so many other ways that I can teach for understanding. Practicing skills on a regular basis without the real world application of how it works doesn’t allow students to make the connection and see the importance of what they are learning. Perkins used the analogy of baseball practice: the practice of pitching, catching, hitting, and throwing. He discussed how working on the small parts prepares one for the big game. It’s not until you put it all together to play the whole game of baseball that you see the importance of practicing the small parts.