Today was supposed to be our project completion day for our park project with the Scott County Street Art Initiative. All week, the rain chances have been 30-50% for today. Thinking of that risk made it an easy choice to postpone our completion date to a couple of weeks from now.
Low and behold, did it rain today? NO. It was the most beautiful day we've had so far this year. I'm just going to take it as we were just meant to have a little more time to make this project even more amazing.
Let me walk you through where we are at this point.
The Entry Event
Although I knew about the basis of this event for weeks prior to the entry event, I kept it a secret from my kiddos. For our entry event, we were working in our classroom when FaceTime started ringing in on my iPad. It was April Ramoni with the Street Art Initiative at the site of our future pocket park.
Just in case you are asking, "What is a pocket park?", it is a small strip of land that is beautified so that people can enjoy it. They are so small that they are mainly just places for people to sit.
I reflected the FaceTime onto the big screen so the kids could see it well. April explained to the kids that she really needed their help in helping to make our city beautiful. The kids were excited about everything that April said, and instantly had great ideas for the space.
FaceTiming from the classroom
April and Ms. Josie, the owner of the property.
They were 100% engaged!
While on the FaceTime with April, we were able to see the property we would be working with on our project. The location is just off of our town square between the local United Way building and an orthodontist office. The property owner owns the pet store that is just in front of the property, so the kids were instantly intrigued by that.
Here is a peek at the property. We have a lot of work to do!
The Guiding Question
After we were done with the entry event, the kids gathered at the circle to discuss how we would proceed with our proposed project. We came up with the guiding question, "How can we, as citizens of Scottsburg, make our community a more beautiful place to live?"
We began this project as we do all of our projects: Deciding on roles and responsibilities for the project. The kids and I came up with three main committees for the project. The kids thought it would be important to disguise some of the things in the alley that could be considered eyesores. They also thought it would be a great idea to plant flowers and vegetables there for people to enjoy and the animals at the pet shop to eat. Finally, we decided that the big white wall needed something. How about a mural? :)
From there, we broke into three committees: Reusing, agriculture, and mural committees. We elected two project managers and committee managers to help with the responsibility of the project. Each group researched their topics using BrainPop Jr., MyOn, and met with experts in each area specific to their topics. Committees met and made decisions about their specific projects.
The reusing committee was responsible for finding recyclable/reused materials to disguise the eyesores. I don't want to give anything away until the big reveal, but they have done an AMAZING job coming up with creative projects for this.
The agriculture group studied plants that would be good for the small animals at the pet shop and decided to plant lettuces, carrots, radishes, tomatoes, and flowers. They also discovered it's way too early to plant these things. :) We will be planting the seed starts in our classroom and then transplanting them when the freeze risk is over for our area.
The mural group designed three concepts for the mural. They were all three fantastic! I uploaded all three concepts to a Google Form and sent the survey to family, friends, and other teachers in our school.
110+ votes later, this concept was declared the winner!
I mentioned earlier that we had experts visit our classroom to help teach the kids about their specific committees. We were fortunate to easily find people who are truly experts in each area.
April from the Scott County Arts Council came to talk to the reuse group about things they could use to make art in the area. Dale Armstrong, Master Gardner, came with seeds and lots of information for the kids about planting. Local artist Bruce Merriman came to give the mural committee input on their mural ideas.
I will say, one of the most important components of PBL is the community connection. Making those connections with outside sources is vital to the authenticity and success of a project. Finding those resources is probably the most challenging aspect of PBL, but I have found that once you give the kids the resources they need, they really can run with it. These 22 kids have amazed me with this project. They are making a mark on their community, and they are only kindergarteners. These kids will do big things in this world. :)
There is still lots to share about this project. Check back after April 24th to read all about our project completion!