First they wanted a beautiful sign with the name of their bakery on it. With this they worked on literacy skills, collaboration and creativity. They had to discuss what was appropriate for their sign and agree on colors and what type of pictures to add.
A fantastic teacher from the Columbus area came to visit our room just as this idea was taking shape. She had bought us this beautiful book to thank us for letting her visit our room.
As we read this wonderful story, we came across this picture of a bakery display window! As soon as we got to this page, they noticed it and were inspired to create one for their cake bakery!
To do this, we had to do some rearranging. We love the new set-up and may keep it this way!
We sat down and discussed how they wanted to organize and design their display window. They decided on layered cakes, cupcakes and cookies. We looked at pictures on the Internet for inspiration. Here they had to use the 21st Century Skills of creativity, coming up with a plan, persistence, dealing with frustration, and learning through failure! They really showed how well these skills have developed over this year!
The next step was to create menus. Here they had to use literacy skills and we had to research proper prices for bakery items. They learned about the dollar sign and how to write down prices using decimals.
Apparently you can buy poop for $5.00 at our bakery (pop)! Plenty of menus were created!
They created money and sorted coins into a cash register. This introduduced them to the names of coins and provided practice for sorting by attributes.
They learned how to set a table properly.
We researched and discussed all of the positions needed to run a bakery. They took on the roles of manager, servers, cashiers, and bakers! They created a sign for the waiting area and then invited a few students into the bakery so that they could practice before their grand opening! They took this practicing seriously and practiced cake decorating and serving for over a week before opening!
Finally the bakery opened!!!
So many literacy and math skills along with social studies standards were used in this project! The great thing about teaching this way through play, inquiry, and projects is that the kids don't even think of it as learning and practicing skills! They were the ones who initiated the learning. They needed to use certain skills so they used them. They needed certain information so they took initiative to find out what they needed. They needed to write and read to create and use menus and signs, so they used those skills without even thinking about it! They needed prices for the menus so they asked about them and used their new knowledge! They needed money so they asked about it and used their new knowledge! They needed information on goods and services provided in a bakery which falls into our Social Studies Standards. The only thing I had to do was provide materials and be there to guide them to resources to answer their questions! I can't even imagine how far the upper grades from first grade on up could take a project like this! So much math, literacy, research, social sciences, probably even chemical sciences if they could really bake could be taught even at the higher levels! Project Based Learning is definitely not limited to early childhood! If you are a teacher in the elementary schools or beyond, you have to give this type of teaching a try! Once you try it, you will never go back!