Personal Learning Plans: Unity Charter School’s unique approach to project-based learning

Written by Cat D. Posted in Education, Whole Child Education

Annie 2Football Player BiagraphyMath Word ProblemsMedieval Board Game

By Catherine Delett

In December, Amy V’s 4th grade students invited parents into the classroom to see their PLP presentations.

PLPs, or Personal Learning Plans, were the topic of a Community Coffee last year.

Being able to see the kids present their hard work really underscored what a wonderful learning strategy PLPs offer.The projects came in all shapes, sizes, and topics – but one thing can be said for all of them – the children were clearly enthusiastic about learning, creating, and presenting them.┬áSome worked alone, others in groups, and all appeared to be having a wonderful time showing parents what they learned about the selected topic.

Here is a sampling of projects that were presented to parents:

  • The creation and filming of a sequel to Annie, for which the students had to work together to write a script, learn lines, and learn how to film a movie, among other things.
  • A presentation of a series of more and more complex math word problems, a few of which, I’m not embarrassed to admit, had me stumped. Not so for our intrepid presenter, however, who called on parent audience members and let us know if we were correct.
  • An elaborate board game based on Medieval times and weapons which included not only creating a usable game with set rules but also extensive research into Medieval weaponry and history.
  • A presentation of a series of programs written using an Arduino.
  • A detailed biography of a well-known pro football player, presented as a PowerPoint presentation, complete with music and animations.
  • An exploration of the Greek gods through facts and information displayed in an elaborate ancient Greek-inspired MineCraft world, complete with temples, pillars, and movable levers revealing information about each god.

Each project was based on topics of interest to the students involved, but also interwove other areas of learning such as study skills, research techniques, and presenting. There is nothing like being in a room of confident, enthusiastic learners!