Place Based Education
From OpenContent Curriculum
What is Place-based Education
The Rural School and Community Trust (2004) portrays the concept of place-based education (PBE) this way: "Place-based education is learning that is rooted in what is local - the unique history, environment, culture, economy, literature, and art of a particular place. The community provides the context for learning, student work focuses on community needs and interests, and community members serve as resources and partners in every aspect of teaching and learning."
In examples of place based education most meaningful to us, students:
- Write, create and produce REAL content about their place, their community, their region, their history, their culture, their environment
- Present or deliver that content to an authentic audience
- Improve their work through formative feedback from that audience
- Contribute to the existing knowledge base about their place, their community, their region, their history, their culture, their environment
This is one of the most famous, and one of the most well know and effective PBE projects. Started in Rabun County, Georgia in 1966, the Foxfire project was designed on the ideas of John Dewey, and was intended to engage the poor, unsuccessful students in rural Appalachia in learning to write and produce content based on the things around them - their place.
Using the primitive tools available at the time, including early tape recorders for oral interviews, inexpensive black and white cameras, and and manual typewriters, the Rabun County students produced articles and then books. The first Foxfire book was published in 1972, and in over 40 years has spawned a series of 12 books documenting the folkways, traditions and culture of Appalachia. And, they've taught generations of students to communicate with an authentic audience in the process.
The last book was published in 2004, and a twice-yearly magazine is now the vehicle the Rabun County High School students use to publish writing on these topics.
The core practices are:
- The work teachers and learners do together is infused from
the beginning with learner choice, design, and revision.
- The role of the teacher is that of facilitator and collaborator.
- The academic integrity of the work teachers and learners do together is clear.
- The work is characterized by active learning.
- Peer teaching, small group work, and teamwork are all consistent features of classroom
- Connections between the classroom work, the surrounding communities, and the world beyond the community are clear.
- There is an audience beyond the teacher for learner work.
- New activities spiral gracefully out of the old, incorporating lessons learned from past experiences, building on skills and understandings that can now be amplified.
- Imagination and creativity are encouraged in the completion of learning activities. (10) Reflection is an essential activity that takes place at key points throughout the work.
- The work teachers and learners do together includes rigorous, ongoing assessment and evaluation
- (In ERIC's | Foxfire Approach to Learning ; Starnes, Paris, & Stevens, 1999).
BSSD's Digital Foxfire Project
During the 2008-09 school year we will be formalizing many of our teachers' efforts in the place-based education mold into a series of connected, inter-related resources with a working title of Digital Foxfire.
Articles & Research about Place-based Education
- Place Based Lessons and Projects Examples of place based projects from across the country. Can be searched by grade level or topic.
Place-based education & Standards-based reform Does Place-based Education help or hinder teaching and student achievement in Standards-based models?
Creating a Place for Indigenous Knowledge Article by Ray Barnhardt
Village Science Science Curriculum based on village environments
Village Math Math Curriculum based on village environments
Place Based Lessons and Projects Examples of place based projects from across the country. Can be searched by grade level or topic. Very cool!
Place-based Education Reading List
Sobel, David.Place-based Education: Connecting Classrooms and Communities. The Orion Society. 2004, 2005.
- Most comprehensive book to date written about Place-based Education
Wigginton, Eliot, ed. The Foxfire Book. New York: Anchor Press, 1972. Wigginton, Eliot, ed. Foxfire 2. New York: Anchor Press, 1973.
Wigginton, Eliot, ed. Foxfire 3. New York: Anchor Press, 1975.
Wigginton, Eliot, ed. Foxfire 4. New York: Anchor Press, 1977.
Wigginton, Eliot, ed. Foxfire 5. New York: Anchor Press, 1979.
Wigginton, Eliot, ed. Foxfire 6. New York: Anchor Press, 1980.
Friedman, Thomas L. The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, Updated and Expanded. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2005, 2006. "Globalization of the Local" p.505-514
- Cool ideas & support for Place-based tech integration
BSSD Place-based Education
Maggie Ferry's BSSD/BIA Units
PBE Lesson Plans
PBE Lesson Plans Relevant to Particular Sites
These plans are organized by site. However, they are in no way site-specific. With just a few tweaks, we believe you can make these lessons relevant to your site, student & levels. Enjoy!
- Social StudiesSurveying Activity for Native Allotments
Site based Resources
"How to tell you are NOT Mom's favorite"
Picture taken by Kim Peters, New Jersey Audobon Society
Compare & contrast the kind of Place-based education each of these baby birds are receiving from their mother.