Bennett Day School News

Family Project-Based Learning (PBL)

We’re kicking off a new school-wide project called “Family PBL” and we invite you to join in! 

Posted: November 22, 2021
Written by: Ms. Judd

The process of learning through dynamic projects is called Project-Based Learning (PBL), and it is a lively aspect of campus life at Bennett Day School. Information and knowledge gleaned through projects with real-world connections offer authenticity, engagement, reflection, and adaptation. 

Teachers at Bennett often take photos that showcase glimpses of the active learning that occurs at school, yet we also know that significant forms of teaching and learning occur during family time at home. It’s easy for family wisdom, practical household tactics, and cultural strategies to go unshared within our contemporary lives. Our new “Family PBL” aims to tap that wealth of knowledge and share it with others in our town and beyond. 

To start playing Jaipur, each player has 3 camels and 5 cards for the market. It’s fun math!

Please read these details on our website and watch for your own moments within your home life when you see home learning tools such as a sewing kit measuring tape, kitchen recipe book, crossword puzzles, comic books, study desk, or a game of Scrabble. Each month we will offer new examples within the broad categories of “Math” and “Language” and we invite you to offer some to add to our collection. As a Fellow at Bennett Labs, I will help coordinate this project and write captions for these shared images. 

As Family PBL opens up a new form of sharing on our school website, we understand that family privacy is paramount, so we will only be sharing photos sent to us that are void of any faces, names, or identifying markers. How exciting might it be to inspire others to invest in home-time learning by sharing family photos of your hopscotch chalk numbers, the fractions marked on your measuring cups, or a handmade scoresheet where you keep track of game scores?  Seeing images that capture these learning tools can remind viewers of similar learning strategies that occur in our own homes, and Family PBL can help spread the word and spark these shared images. 

We love dinos and sometimes we create new pretend dinosaur words. Here we are making a Box-o-saurus using old boxes. Does your family make up pretend words too?

We hope that you will take a look, become inspired, and will find moments of your own household learning tools that you can capture to showcase how home-life offers very valuable provocations and projects for enrichment. Bennett’s “Family PBL” website will then share those with others, to help widen the circle throughout Chicago and beyond. 

Lastly, on a personal note, the idea for Family PBL was sparked during the initial phase of the worldwide pandemic, when remote teaching and learning involved families generously opening up their home screens for educational purposes. For many Bennett teachers, like myself, it was deeply humbling and inspiring to see the extent to which family involvement is critical. If the pandemic created one positive element, it has been to remind educators of this fact. We hope to extend this moment by using Family PBL to extend and expand these deeply valued home-school connections. 

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