One key theme for increasing student performance is resonance. More specifically, students are more likely to retain and apply information when the concepts and ideas are interesting and connect to daily experiences. Project Based Learning (PBL) is a way to make student learning come to life. Students lead the process, connecting content across subject areas in a meaningful way, leading to a specific work product.
As an example, Grade 5 students are combining skills taught in Health, Art, and ELA to create inspirational work products to place throughout the school. These projects are available for all students to see. Further, these projects create a sense of ownership for students. Grade 5 students, as the leaders of the school, set a positive example for all other grade levels to follow. Other students in need of a quick "pick me up" can view the projects as a way to set a positive tone for the day or to get some positive feedback.
In addition, Grade 5 students have also produced a series of video announcements each morning, played at Morning Meeting, as a way to inspire all students to put forth their best effort, both in the classroom and in the school.