What are F.A.Q.s?
The letters F.A.Q. stand for Frequently Asked Questions.
What is PAL?
PAL stands for Personal Achievement in Learning. It does NOT stand for a Parent’s Achievement in Learning. PAL provides 4th graders the opportunity to use their skills in self-directed learning.
In the middle schools, PAL is called an SDL, which stands for self-directed learning.
Is PAL a report?
No! PAL is about learning how to learn on your own. It is NOT a unit on writing reports. The display is supposed to show what was learned through this process.
THE PROCESS IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE FINAL PRODUCT!
How can I possibly do all this?
Don’t Panic…THINK! We will be going STEP by STEP. Everyone will do a great job!
What can I do my PAL Process on?
This is pretty much up to you, but it must be appropriate for school. You can choose a “INFORMATIONAL” topic or a “HOW TO” topic. Here are some tips about topics:
Tip #1 Pick something YOU want to do. If you are not interested in your topic, then you probably will not give it your best effort.
Tip #2 AVOID topics that you already know a lot about. Choose something new and exciting.
What should the students do?
The Golden Rule of PAL:
“If I can do it, then I should do it.”
Parents, mentors, facilitators, pets, etc. should only help if the student is unable to do something.
What is the role of the parent(s)?
Parents can be mentors and facilitators, but you must complete the project on your own. PAL is a PERSONAL Achievement in Learning, NOT a Parent’s Achievement in Learning!
What is a mentor?
Each student chooses ONE person to be their guide through their PAL.
What is a facilitator?
People who help students. There are about two periods a week devoted to PAL in school. During these times, students will have the opportunity to be aided by several staff members from around the building.
When is the display due?
The final PAL projects will be displayed in the cafeteria at the Learning Fair (during the school day for the younger students and 7 pm – 8 pm for family, friends, and guests). Look at the link on the left for the date. Remember, that the purpose of a display is to show what you have learned. If a student learned all about Abe Lincoln for their PAL, they can dress up as Abe and talk and answer questions about his life. A board is not required. What the students know is more important than what they show!
Most teachers have students bring in the majority of their "display" in to the classroom on the Monday before the Learning Fair.
No matter which way you decide on sharing, work a little bit at a time. Do not wait to the last minute! Remember: BABY STEPS!
Where can I get information?
During The Pickle Research Project we learned how to use dictionaries, atlases, encyclopedias, almanacs, the computerized library card catalog, books, and a variety of other resources. Some other places students use to find information:
Library (books, encyclopedias, almanacs, etc), mini- field trips (aquarium, stores, museums, factories, etc.), phone interviews, ask an expert(s), letters/email, CD-ROMS, internet, Power Library, interviews, etc…
How much room does each child receive for their display?
This varies with each project. Some people might use extra items in their display. Most students use a 1/4 of a large cafeteria table.
What can I use in my display?
This is pretty much up to you.
NOTE: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO USE A DISPLAY BOARD!
In your PAL packet there is a page that lists some types of projects that you can choose from, or you can create your own. If you are planning on using a computer, you will have to provide your own laptop. They will be guarded by the teachers in between the afternoon and evening presentations.
TVs, VCRs, outlets, extra floor and wall space are available, but they need to be requested in advance. Please see your core teacher for special requests. STUDENT MADE VIDEOS ONLY!
Can I give away things?
There will be no freebies, handouts, or give-aways at the Learning Fair. This includes food, prizes, etc. You want people to visit your “display” to find out about what you have learned, not for free stuff.
Except for the students and spectators, no live animals are allowed at the Learning Fair. In previous years, students have shown videotapes that they filmed of the animal they have been studying.
Can we copy straight out of books and the Internet?
NO, NO, AND NO!!!
PAL is a PERSONAL Achievement In Learning. Someone else’s work is NOT your own! It is their PAL. Copying is also against the law. It is called PLAGIARISM!
What do students regret the most when they look back on their PAL?
1. Many wished they had tried harder. Most students realized they did a great job, but knew they could have done even better or used their time more wisely.
2. Choosing the “wrong” topic. Many people take student ideas from the previous year. Be ORIGINAL!
3. Avoid topics you already know a lot about.