Project-based learning can be a fun and authentic way to learn from home. It can also be a great way for teachers to motivate students who are no longer receiving grades by giving them something interesting and relevant to work on. When searching for a project, it is often difficult to sort through all of the options and determine which projects are aligned with grade-level standards. So, the first step is to become familiar with what is expected at each grade level for each subject area in your state.

As a parent, if you are unfamiliar with the standards for your child’s grade level in a particular subject area, you can look up these standards on your state’s Department of Education website. Many states have adopted common core standards. You can use this map to determine whether your state uses common core standards which are often the standards listed on online national project-based learning sites. Virginia has not adopted the common core standards, so to find standards for Virginia, you must look up the Virginia standards of learning. Here is the link to the standards of learning for each subject and grade level on the Virginia Department of Education website (VDOE).

The VDOE also offers “enhanced scope and sequence lesson plans” (ESS) for each subject area and grade level. These are lesson plans designed for a specific standard with printable ready-to-complete activities. When you choose the standard and click the “get lesson plans button”, full lesson plans pop up for the grade level, subject, and particular skill that you selected. Here are the ESS lesson plans for K-12 math, science, and English (reading and writing). These lesson plans are a great starting point to develop basic knowledge and familiarity with the standard when starting a new skill.

When you are ready to select a project, the Buck Institute’s PBL Works site allows you to search projects by subject area, individual topic, grade level, or topic of interest. Once you create a free account, you can choose a project based on your child’s grade level and the subject they wish to study. Each project has a project idea card that describes the project and lists the common core and national subject-specific standards that are addressed. The resources page also has planning materials, rubrics, and articles that may be especially helpful for teachers who are planning a project-based learning unit for their students. Sorting the projects in this way makes it possible to choose a project based on interests and ability level. You could also give kids several projects to choose from on a particular topic.

I would love to hear what project you are doing with your students (teachers) or your children at home (parents). Please share below in the comments any projects that you are working on. Here are some short and longer projects we have worked on at home over the last couple of weeks with my preschooler and 4th grader:

  • Create a ten frame with colored masking tape on the floor and practice putting toys in each frame, counting the toys, and matching the counted number with a number (1-10) using a deck of playing cards.
  • Do a scavenger hunt.
    • To find certain objects in nature outside.
    • To find objects that start with a certain letter sound.
    • To find examples of polygons and solid shapes.
    • To find a certain number of objects.
  • Read a self-selected short book or novel and then call a relative on Facetime to retell the book (or chapter) and discuss.
  • Design a floorplan of a house with specific requirements for the total square footage and then make a scale model out of legos or cardboard.
  • Write cards and letters to friends or relatives and email or mail them.
  • Learn about the planets and solar system.
    • Then use the Skymap app to look at the night sky and find specific constellations and planets.
    • Watch videos and look at images on NASA’s website.
    • Draw the planets and show their specific characteristics.
    • Research a specific planet.
  • Visit a local battlefield park and see where certain battles were fought. Walk through history and read the signs together.
    • Then once you are home, write a summary of what you learned and illustrate it with pictures.
    • Watch a movie about the time period.
    • Read age-appropriate leveled books on the time period.

~Nina

Nina Parrish, M. Ed.

Nina Parrish, M. Ed.

Co-Owner and Director of Education

Proud mom of two adorable girls. Teacher who has developed an education business that started at a kitchen table and has grown into a thriving small business... Click here to Learn more about Nina.

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Parrish Learning Zone helped my daughter with on-line SAT and college essay preparation. She not only scored in the top 90 percentile on the SAT after working with Lauren Cannavo, she especially benefited from the tutoring she received for her admission essays. My daughter was accepted at Notre Dame, UVA, William and Mary, and received scholarships to George Washington University and the University of Alabama. She was initially deferred at the University of Chicago and waitlisted at University of Michigan and Emory University. She eventually chose not to remain on the waitlists and committed to UVA.Lauren also advised our daughter regarding her submission of a 20 page essay on community service for DECA, a high school business club. Our daughter, along with her partner, won second place in her category at the DECA state competitions in 2019 and 2020, and received second place at the DECA international competition in 2019.Lauren was not only a top-notch professional, she really cared about our daughter and was so pleased about her accomplishments. We are so very grateful to her and Parrish Learning Zone.
Marijayne Kruus
Marijayne Kruus
2020-05-11T21:51:37+0000
love the owner. love the detailed feedback. love the attentiveness of the tutor. love Parrish!!!
Jessica Bartels
Jessica Bartels
2019-02-26T22:49:55+0000
My daughter has a math learning disability and hated math. We started working with Nina Parrish and stuck with it for several months. Her grades have improved, but more importantly, so has her self confidence. She now loves going to work on math and will even work on it at home by herself. We are grateful for Parrish Learning Zone!
Laura Ivey Ellis
Laura Ivey Ellis
2018-12-14T14:36:43+0000
Mr. Chaves is an extremely gifted chemistry teacher. It's such a difficult subject--my son was drowning by the time we found PLZ. This was truly a last ditch effort on our part. Mr. Chaves was able to turn that ship around after only 4 lessons and my son passed the SOL! He was able to distill difficult concepts in a way that made them comprehensible and he was patient and kind and gave my son the confidence to succeed. His actual eacher expressed surprise and made a point of telling him he didn't know how he did it but he was impressed. It takes a gifted teacher to get results like that.I only wish we'd found PLZ and Mr. Chaves in the beginning of the school year.
Wendy Zelazny
Wendy Zelazny
2018-06-08T02:05:15+0000
Highly Recommend
Anne Kater Reeves
Anne Kater Reeves
2018-06-07T22:46:05+0000
I highly recommend Parrish Learning Zone. My daughter was able to achieve the SAT score she was aiming for with the help of her Math (Mr. James Slane) and English (Mrs. Lauren Cannavo) tutors. Not only did they help her with practice tests but they also boosted her confidence in taking the SAT. The owners (Nina and Jay) were always prompt in answering my emails. They are very accommodating and worked around my daughter’s schedule (thank you Shiela for all your help in finding available dates for my daughter to meet with her tutors). Thank you Parrish Learning Zone for helping my daughter achieve her goal!
Beth Yankovich
Beth Yankovich
2018-03-23T20:29:18+0000
Awesome! Very structured and student focused - they identified the areas of weakness and turned those into areas of strength in a very short amount of time. I loved the communication from the tutor and the company. I received a specific report of my child's tutoring session including improvements and areas that needed continued work. I received reminders of upcoming tutor sessions - which I needed!! I felt the individual attention and service was worth every penny AND found the prices to be much more reasonable that other tutors in the area. I would HIGHLY recommend Parrish Learning Zone to any parent that needs to find highly competent tutoring help for their child. Parrish is simply the best!
Michele Hiltbrunner Freemyers
Michele Hiltbrunner Freemyers
2017-03-14T15:53:50+0000
An excellent place to take your kids for any tutoring needs! PLZ is a very personalized and hands on service! Both of my teenage boys have been through here for various reasons and I know we will continue to make use of them!
Tammy Elms Mosco
Tammy Elms Mosco
2016-06-02T12:20:59+0000
Masiel Dubois
Masiel Dubois
2015-06-23T22:16:01+0000
SAT Prep Course with Parish Learning is definitely a worthwhile invest !!...My son's scores improved over 200 plus points!!
Janice Boles
Janice Boles
2014-12-02T22:34:32+0000
I am extremely thankful to Parrish Learning Zone. I have a son that is a freshman in college majoring in mechanical engineering. I am so glad that we found out about the Parrish Learning Zone because they were very caring and really worked hard around my sons high school football schedule to ensure that he received all of the needed instruction in order to do well on the SAT testing. It was a great investment for his future. I believe this experience prepared my son for the transition to college life. He was able to attend a top engineering college and to play football there. My daughter is a senior in high school now and was admitted into two of the top ranked public schools in Virginia. She will be a freshman at one of these schools next year. She also was enrolled in the Parrish Learning Zone for preparation for the SAT. I am again thankful to the Parrish Learning Zone and feel that this was a great long term investment into their futures. I would strongly recommend the Parrish Learning Zone to anyone looking for an environment that offers a caring and knowledgeable approach to educating students. They are the best.
Angela Jackson
Angela Jackson
2014-05-15T00:39:39+0000
Andrew Powers
Andrew Powers
2014-02-09T12:32:29+0000

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