Sunday, January 27, 2013

President's Day Project Based Learning

photo of: Project Based Learning Approach for President's Day via RainbowsWithinReach

Project Based Learning! 
What do you know about this approach to learning? 

I have had the great good fortune to spend time in kindergarten recently, where the PBL approach is being explored with vim and vigor! 
With my 'Author/Illustrator Day' to their school on their horizon, 
they investigated Veteran's Day through the prism of my picture book,
"Red, White and Blue." 

Take a look at their patriotic investigation. 
Ramp up your own approach in time for President's Day. 

photo of: Project Based Patriotic Anchor Chart via RainbowsWithinReach

The anchor chart above was the backbone for the learning that unfolded over weeks of dynamic classroom investigation and instruction. It was still on prominent display in the hallway in time for my arrival. Actually the entire wall was one big anchor chart of learning. (Ohio is one of the few states left that still have many schools that have half-day kindergarten, so you'll notice each chart is duplicated: a.m. + p.m.) 

photo of: Project Based Learning Anchor Charts for American Studies at RainbowsWithinReach

Surrounding the anchor chart were AMAZING flags created by small groups within the kindergarten program. Lots and LOTS of flags!

photo of: Kindergarten Created American Flag via RainbowsWithinReach

photo of: Kindergarten Created American Flag via RainbowsWithinReach

Imagine over-sized American flags created by kindergartners, gracing every single inch of public space in an elementary school: bulletin boards and walls alike. THEY WERE EVERYWHERE! 

photo of: Kindergarten Created American Flags for Project Based Learning via RainbowsWithinReach

photo of: Kindergarten Project Based Learning American Flag via RainbowsWithinReach

photo of: Project Based Learning Approach to Patriotic Investigation via RainbowsWithinReach

Flags in every possible combination of media. 
Flags made digitally on the computer. 

I'm telling you. 
When my friends in Hilliard get on a subject they REALLY explore!

photo of: Project Based Learning in Kindergarten via RainbowsWithinReach

Following the collaborative flag making work, the kindergarten children proceeded by studing my picture book and in that model, make their OWN picture book -- complete with their own illustrations!
They had it completed prior to my arrival....
and they were SOOOO excited to share it with me. 

You're going to LUV LUV LUV these! 
My friends in Hilliard, OH know how to take an idea and run with it!

photo of: Kindergarten Project Based Learning Picture Book via RainbowsWithinReach

photo of: Kindergarten President's Day Writing Project via RainbowsWithinReach

photo of: President's Day Class Book in Kindergarten via RainbowsWithinReach

photo of: Kindergarten Project Based Learning Picture Book via RainbowsWithinReach

Photo of: Kindergarten Project Based Learning Picture Book via RainbowsWithinReach

Here's a glimpse at a response earlier in the year created by first graders in their study of my picture book. On the left you see the quilted illustration that becomes the 'end-paper' of my book -- where the illustrations are made from fabric. On the right you see the construction paper response from the first graders. These were made on September eleventh of this school year while I was in their midst in Door County, Wisconsin. 

After the students shared their 'book' with me the very next item on the agenda was for them to 'perform' my song for me!!! Just prior to my arrival they had invited all of the Veterans in their school family to come for a grand performance..... so they had given much preparation. Singing my song for me--the author/illustrator/music-lady was just the cherry on the top of months of learning about America, our flag, our history and what makes us great. 

What?!?! You don't know my song? We must remedy that right away. Here's a YouTube video filmed in Illinois at their annual Reading Conference where I presented workshops. The teachers are learning the sign language as the song unfolds.

Here's a look inside my book! 
I made the illustrations from fabric as small quilts!

I included all of the bits and pieces in the book that teachers have asked for!

If this is your first visit around here, let me tell you that I'm a Pinterest Princess! 
I have a collection of all things patriotic to support your use of my song. 
I have 465 ideas already pinned and awaiting your search. 
Click right here to go to my "Red, White and Blue" board at Pinterest. 

At the end of last week I installed the code, 
so that if you hover over any picture on my blog you can pin it easily. 
Please-o, Please-o, Please-oooooo Pin to your heart's content. 

I now have over 90,000 followers at Pinterest!!!
I'm so grateful for every pin you add out there to the wider world. 

Of course you can always order the picture book directly from my website

Pre-K, Kindergarten, First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth -
My growing TpT Store

Or if you are already shopping over at Teachers Pay Teachers today, I have my books listed there as well. I have my books on sale today at TpT..... so hurry because I'll have to ship it to you. If you need the song and sign language chart IMMEDIATELY you can get the digital file with Mp3 versions of both the song and its instrumental accompaniment from TpT as well. 

photo of: Early Education Emporium: Shopping with the Authors of PreK+K Sharing

If you're up for a new shopping adventure, come visit our EARLY EDUCATION EMPORIUM -- brought to you by the authors of our collaborative blog PreK+K Sharing! The digital version is available right here in my own personal EEE! Check out all of the other resources under our umbrella! We are looking for other contributors to the EEE and you have the unique opportunity to list as many items as you'd like for free -- now until the end of June. Come on over and explore!

-- Debbie -- 


  1. I love the rigor in this project! What an absolutely fabulous unit for Kinder. I think it would be great for First, too! :) Thanks for sharing, Debbie! Love the song!! :)

    Second Grade Sparkle

    1. Yes, Kate!!! The effort and energy in this investigation was truly phenomenal. The evidence of their work on display at every turn! I'm very grateful for your popping through with encouragement and your insight. Thanks so much.



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