Things I Know 339 of 365: Putting learning in place personalizes the experience

A colleague asked me last week if I had any resources on place-based education (PBE). It rang the memory bell of an episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers I got to sit in on in February. Diana and I were asked to talk about our Building History project. Best of all, I got to connect with Woody Woodgate who’s working with the Alaska Department of Education on place-based education initiatives.

Never one to shy from tracking down resources and it being a task I’d meant to get around to since February, I was happy to oblige.

I anticipate PBE popping up more frequently in the educational conversation in the next year. It’s a natural approach for those working within the context of the breadth of the Common Core who want to anchor their teaching in something local and specific to the worlds of their students.

Boiled down, PBE encourages one central question, “How does where I am influence who I am and how I understand the world?” It’s no small question.

According to Promise of Place, a site dedicated to structuring and supporting PBE:

Place-based Education (PBE):

  • Immerses students in local heritage, cultures, landscapes, opportunities and experiences;
  • Uses these as a foundation for the study of language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and other subjects across the curriculum; and
  • Emphasizes learning through participation in service projects for the local school and/or community.

Watching our students complete the Building History project, I was moved by the attention to detail and depth of questions they asked once the learning moved into their own neighborhoods. It shouldn’t have been surprising that asking students to think about home would make the learning more personal. Still, it was.

If you’re interested in more PBE resources, here’s what I was able to offer my friend after some time searching the Interwebs:

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