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Project Based Learning – Resiliency Project Connects Students and Families

Project Based Learning - Resiliency Project Connects Students and Families

Two teachers from La Mesa-Spring Valley Schools transformed the district office via their student-led Resiliency Project. Just before the winter break Sarah Luibel, teacher at La Mesa Dale Elementary and Richard Santer, teacher at La Presa Elementary, along with their students, invited the families, staff and community to experience the interactive event. As the teachers explained, “Ms. Luibel’s and Mr. Santer’s 5th and 6th graders have interviewed resilient people in their lives, and will be telling their stories in a powerful tribute to resiliency. Students have turned their interviews into narratives told from the perspective of their subject. Students will also be showcasing a portrait illustrating their subject’s resiliency. By embracing these stories, we hope that we each walk away empowered to “bounce back” from hardship even stronger.”

The Resiliency Project was created as a result of Project-Based Learning (PBL), with the help of Ani Asaro, LMSV teacher on special assignment. As Mr. Santer described, “This project stemmed from discussing the question, “If our students could leave our class with just one thing, what would we want that to be?” Was it to love reading or be great writers? We realized that the thing that will help our students most in life (and in reading and writing) is a “can do” attitude. Students
need the determination to keep going when the learning gets hard and to pick themselves up and learn from failures. Our students needed to learn to be resilient.” During their collaborative learning and planning, the teachers designed and facilitated this experience for their children and families. Students read works of fiction and analyzed characters like Harry Potter, learned about historical figures who were resilient and studied artwork by resilient artists such as Frida Kahlo. As one student described, “”That project was really hard. I had to do three different portraits before I got it right. And the writing was really hard, and took me a really long time. I’m really glad I did that.”

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