Kris Hahn is a fourth grade teacher and PLTW Launch teacher at Fox Ridge Elementary School in St. Charles, Illinois. This is Fox Ridge Elementary’s second full year of PLTW Launch.
I am most excited by how PLTW Launch has completely reinvigorated the learning experience across the board for our school community. Students, teachers, and parents all have that spark again – that spark being the thing that gets them talking and extending the learning far beyond the classroom.
Students come back to school telling me what they did at home to continue their problem solving, thinking, and learning. They are creating things in art class that are examples of potential and kinetic energy. They are bringing in objects that demonstrate elastic and inelastic collisions. But these aren't just demonstrations, these are truly explorations in which they are manipulating the variables to continue their learning.
An additional benefit is that students don't want to be absent!
Furthermore, parents are writing notes in their children’s planners and emailing about the rich conversations and questions their children are bringing to the table at dinner time or as they observe things out in the real world. Teachers are buzzing with each other in the hallways about what came up in their classes today.
This reinvigoration is not limited to PLTW, though; it has seeped into all other subject areas, as teachers are intentionally finding more opportunities for student exploration so that we are facilitating learning experiences meaningfully. More student-to-student discussion and discourse, and less teacher-down instruction.
This ties perfectly with the changes we have made in math as a district. The collaboration behaviors are present in writing and reading groups as well, and that has made all of those areas more effective and meaningful.
Though it has definitely been a big undertaking, it has been worth all the effort taking on PLTW. My students and I are better at what we do because of it.
PLTW’s blog is intended to serve as a forum for ideas and perspectives from across our network. The opinions expressed are those of each guest author.