Kindergartners will be world changers. Right now they are learning to share, cooperate, and take turns. It is inspiring to think that one day these amazing little humans will make our world a better place.
The kindergartners at De Vargas Elementary School, in San Jose, California, recently completed a Project Based Learning (PBL) Unit called World Changers. What is PBL? It is a teaching method in which learners gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and answer an authentic and engaging question. PBL enables the learning to be personalized so that each learner has access to and ownership over their learning.
Academic standards are embedded into each PBL. The kindergarten social science standards include learning about now and long ago, learning about the community, and learning how to work together. All these standards were embedded within this PBL. In addition, key vocabulary and sentence structures were taught as most of our school population are English language learners.
Launching the Project
The Driving Question for this World Changers PBL was: How can you change the world when you grow up? This is a big question for little kids and one that they took seriously. To launch this project and give them the hook to inspire their curiosity and wonder, we invited community members to come, dressed in their professional wardrobes, and talk to the children about their careers and how that impacts the world.
Community members talk about their professions
This community member talked about the importance of heating and cooling homes.
Expanding the Driving Question
After learning from people in our community, we returned to the driving question for our PBL. We brainstormed things we need to know and new vocabulary needed for this project. We kept track of this information on our PBL Wall.
The children had opportunities to choose books on a variety of career topics that interested them. We found some video clips to aid in this discovery. More discussion took place, as they learned about different careers. They noticed that some careers that were important in the past are not needed presently. We talked about how and why those changes took place.
During playtime, they enjoyed dressing up and trying on different career choices.
Choosing Careers the will Change the World
Towards the end of the project, the children chose the future career they felt would fit them best. They created a model of their future self and stated how they will change the world. The children displayed these products in the Guided Learning Center for learners, staff, parents, and community to see. They also documented all their learning on a digital portfolio that is shared with their parents.
“When I grow up I want to be a veterinarian. I will change the world. I will help animals.”
“When I grow up I want to be a chef. I will change the world by making food for others.”
“When I grow up I want to be a shopper. I will change the world by buying food for people.”
“When I grow up I want to be a scientist. I will change the world by making medicine so people get better.”
“When I grow up I want to be a pilot. I will change the world by taking people to the other side.”
Through this project, the children learned about different kinds of careers, and the many ways in which they can change the world. They are now looking towards the future, and they are excited about what they can do and how their actions will affect others. It is my hope that this PBL will inspire the children to continue to think about how they will become world changers.
Paula Ford graduated from the University of California at Davis with a Bilingual Cross-Cultural Language and Academic (BCLAD) multiple subject teaching credential. She also has a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction and Early Childhood Education. She has been teaching for over twenty years. She began her career in bilingual education and then moved to teach second language learners.
Paula taught kindergarten, first grade, third grade, and has been a resource teacher for grades transitional kindergarten through fifth grade. The majority of her career has been teaching low-socioeconomic English language learners. Currently, Paula is teaching kindergarten at Manuel De Vargas Elementary School, and she absolutely loves it.
Make sure you follow Paula on Twitter at @prford5
Other Posts by Paula on Rethinking Learning
- Kindergarten PBL with School in Africa
- Random Acts of Kindness PBL
- Farm and City PBL Part 1 Traveling Toy Animals Part One
- Farm and City PBL Part 2 Traveling Toy Animals Part Two
- Episode #4 Podcast and Post with Paula Ford on Collaborative PBL with Kindergartners