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Alisa Schofield: Cultivating Minds through PBL

Alisa Schofield is the definition of a life-long learner. Her path to teaching took many different turns, but they led her to a position at the Wasatch North Campus. As a 12-year educator, Alisa constantly looks to engage her students in new and excited projects. Last year, she took project based learning with her students to a new level as they developed a community garden. 

Alisa Schofield is the definition of a life-long learner. Her path to teaching took many different turns, but they led her to a position at the Wasatch North Campus. As a 12-year educator, Alisa constantly looks to engage her students in new and excited projects. Last year, she took project based learning with her students to a new level as they developed a community garden.

Alisa worked with different members of the community to get the 240 square foot garden project started, but it was the students who took over from there.

The students developed the design. The students decided what we were going to plant. They proposed the project to the principal at the high school and came up with the funding strategies.

One of the best things Alisa loved about the garden project was her students’ excitement. This was something so different from a traditional class project and the kids treated it differently as well.

The students loved being part of something big. We knew this project has a large scope and the students were excited to be part of it. They loved the idea of growing their own food. One student couldn’t wait to grow his/her own watermelon.

Alisa’s students were excited to build the garden, but PBL is more than just the final project. What aspects of the entire project provided students the most challenge?

They struggled a lot in the planning phase - especially trying to envision what the garden would look like. One aspect that was particularly difficult was making up designs of what the space would look like. They had to picture everything in their minds before they actually got their hands dirty.

Now that Alisa’s students have been bitten by the Project Based Learning bug their next project is already off and running. The kids are building a Makerspace, complete with cardboard arcade games. They are excited to show off their project to their peers and can’t wait to demonstrate what they are learning.

Since we started using PBL in our class I’ve noticed that my students’ interest level in what we’re up to is sky high. They come into class ready to build new projects everyday. Sometimes, I’m the one who has to slow them down so we can talk things through first. Still, it’s great to see them so motivated.

 

Listen to entire interview with Alisa below. Be sure to listen thru the end of this month’s podcast as Story, one of Alisa’s students, shares her thoughts about being part of the garden project.

 

Contributed by Dani Sloan

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