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Project-Based Learning for Gifted Students: A Handbook for the…

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Todd Stanley reflects on his experience as a teacher of gifted students, as well as recent education research, to share best practices in project-based learning (PBL) strategies. He begins with an introduction to the philosophy behind PBL pedagogy, then goes into specific methods so that educators can adopt this teaching style in their own classrooms. Stanley gives examples of projects his prior students had worked on, including successes and pitfalls of the PBL method.

The book is divided into nine chapters that focus on different aspects of PBL, including its benefits; creating ownership with your students; learning standards and Bloom’s taxonomy; structure in regards to classroom, projects, and collaborating with parents and administration; rubrics; technology; and being a coach to your students. Stanley ends with some thoughts on empowering students. The appendices offer several great resources, including sample lessons and projects--some of which are content specific and some that can be adapted to any content. There are also reproducibles of the learning contracts, calendars, and rubrics that Stanley references throughout the book.

I really enjoyed reading Project-Based Learning. Even though I do not teach gifted students in a sheltered environment, I believe the methods described in this book can be equally useful for students in heterogenous classroom settings, or students in other sheltered instruction groups such as co-taught, inclusion, and ELL/LEP.

What really stood out to me is the emphasis on intentionally creating a true 21st century learning environment so that students will be prepared to succeed in later grades, in college or post-secondary school, and in the workforce. The traditional factory/sweatshop set-up of classrooms and old-school competitive isolationist pedagogy are no longer relevant in a global economy that revolves around collaboration and connectivity. Stanley encourages teachers to structure their classrooms to facilitate a true project-based learning environment. This means tables and large workspaces, access to technology tools such as computers and printers, arts and crafts supplies.

The PBL structure enables teachers to run a truly differentiated classroom in which students take ownership for mastery of standards and objectives while the teacher takes on the role of coach/facilitator. Students will learn valuable skills such as time management, organization, responsibility, self-monitoring, and collaboration.

I am excited to implement these research-based methods in my classroom this school year. As Stanley mentions, I anticipate that many of my students will not be familiar with this learning structure, so I will follow his advice and ease my students into PBL through modeling and scaffolded learning opportunities. My hope is that my students will feel empowered by utilizing PBL to take ownership of their learning.
  jessicaundomiel | Aug 25, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As a parent, I found this book extremely useful in explaining to me how Project-Based Learning (PBL) works. Although the book is aimed at teachers, parents whose children's schools are using PBL approaches will gain an understanding of the PBL process and terminology, which helps us to better support our students at home.

Stanley's writing is clear and, unlike many writers of material like this, he does not repeat himself unnecessarily. His examples are well presented and relevant.

I appreciated what I learned from this book and I feel it will make me a more effective partner in my children's education. ( )
  530nm330hz | May 30, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This resource would be great for teachers looking for actual ideas and sample projects to use with students. Even though this book says "for Gifted Students," the ideas in this book can be used with all students with some modifications. ( )
  Daisha | May 26, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Pretty simple projects outlined, might be good for homeschool or alternative education parents. Ties skills related to the projects to those awful state standardized tests that no teacher can get away from. ( )
  erickandow | Mar 23, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Project-based Learning for Gifted Students by Todd Stanley provides a concise introduction to project-based learning. Although designed for teachers of gifted students, the approaches are useful for all types of learners.

The book contains lots of templates, worksheets, examples, and other useful information resources.

Although the book provides a nice overview, it lacks depth and examples. I was looking for more details. In addition, it's billed as a handbook for the 21st-century classroom, however it doesn't provide many new resources beyond what's already been published the past couple decades. Other than a short list of technologies, there are few references to how technology night be used in teaching and learning. ( )
  eduscapes | Jan 16, 2012 |
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Project-Based Learning for Gifted Students: A Handbook for the 21st-Century Classroom makes the case that project-based learning is ideal for the gifted classroom, focusing on student choice, teacher responsibility, and opportunities for differentiation. The book also guides teachers to create a project-based learning environment in their own classroom, walking them step-by-step through topics and processes such as linking projects with standards, finding the right structure, and creating a practical classroom environment. Project-Based Learning for Gifted Students also provides helpful examples and lessons that all teachers can use to get started.… (more)

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