Photo by Alexa Seeger

Pioneering place- and project-based learning

The lights from the Mackinac bridge winked through the haze. The drizzle coursed down the students’ plastic ponchos as they walked Lake Michigan’s shore with one of their teachers, Charlotte Hagerman. Hagerman showed a group how to skip stones, since many had never done so before.

“Then this little guy, now he was a tough kid,” Hagerman said. “He comes up to me, ‘Ms. Hagerman, Ms. Hagerman,’ and he holds a shell up. And he says, ‘my first shell.’”

In order to build community and reach students at multiple grade and ability levels, Hagerman and Bobo looked to supplement lecture style teaching. After attending conferences and a chance meeting with another teacher pioneering place-based learning in Frankfort, the two teachers implemented project-based and place-based learning in their classroom.