Educators That Rock!

Patrick Sweeney, Patrick Sweeney teacher, Patrick Sweeney boones ferry
Patrick Sweeney with a model home and blueprints created by his fifth-grade students.

Educators That Rock!: Patrick Sweeney

October 04, 2010
by Colleen Brondou
This week findingEducation sat down with Patrick Sweeney, a fifth-grade teacher at Boones Ferry Primary School in the West Linn-Wilsonville School District of Oregon. Sweeney teaches all subjects in his mixed-level, self-contained classroom. How does he keep 27 students with different ability levels engaged and excited about learning while covering the necessary curriculum?

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Sweeney is a big proponent of project-based learning and teaming, both within and across grade levels. By bringing interests he’s passionate about into the classroom, and combining them with project-based learning principles, he’s come up with some pretty creative ways to get kids excited about coming to school every day.

fE: What exactly is project-based learning?

PS: Project-based learning is using open-ended projects, usually based off of research, as a model for teaching. You can also define it by what it isn’t. It isn’t where subjects are broken up into sections: Math is taught is in a math class or math block, and literacy is taught separately and technology is taught separately. Project-based learning takes all subjects and integrates them. You’re interconnecting them so that everything seems to have a sense of purpose.

Read the rest of the Q&A with Patrick Sweeney at findingEducation’s Digital Teachers’ Lounge.
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