At Windy Hill Middle School, content area teachers get one day each month to plan and collaborate with their grade level professional learning community (PLC). While those teachers are working hard studying data, setting goals and planning units, lessons and assessments, the students spend the class period with their PLUS teacher. Each month, students will spend one class period each day for four days practicing and integrating skills with a project based approach to learning.
Last year students went on a mock archeological dig, survived being stranded on PLUSigan's Island with limited resources and solved the mystery of "Who Killed Frosty the Snowman? We finished up with using skills from across the content areas to plan a dream vacation with a $10,000 budget.
During the first round of PLUS this year, students identified and practiced the academic skills that are necessary in the designing, implementing, competing and reporting of the Olympic Games. Among the many tasks completed, we were able to review Cornell Note-Taking, Summarization, Citing Evidence, Using Thinking Maps and Graphing Skills.
Currently, the PLUS unit is responding to the question "How do NASCAR Engineers modify racecars in order to affect performance and safety? We will extend the question to be able to explain how we might use this information to make judgements in purchasing cars for normal use. Within this unit, we continue to practice taking good notes, summarizing, citing evidence, using thinking maps, scientific method, forming hypothesis and graphing skills.