Project-Based Learning Institute - August 31st & September 1, 2010 - Court Square
Dan Cordon, Assistant Director, Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center
● Icebreaker - “What’s in a Name?” and “Our Proudest Classroom Moments”
● PBL: How can I juggle all the elements of quality projects?
● SuperBall Video - Managing a classroom is like controlling 100,000 superballs going
down the street in San Francisco.
● By the end of PBL 101, you will have started planning a project by:
○ Understanding ?Main Course? PBL
○ Generating a Project Idea
○ Refining a Driving Question
○ Balancing Assessment Strategies
○ Gathering Tips for Managing Projects
● Buck Institute for Education - BIE.org - Starter Kit
● My Story - High School Teacher at full scholarship Alternative Residence Private
High School (Eagle Rock School and Professional development Center) in Colorado
exclusively for HS drop-outs - http://www.eaglerockschool.org/home/index.asp
○ All project-based
○ Minimum 6 trimesters - graduate when they demonstrate mastery in core courses
○ Value Driven 8 themes - 5 expectations - 10 commitments
● Individual Integrity
● Intellectual Discipline
● Physical Fitness
● Spiritual Development
● Aesthetic Expression
● Developing an expanding knowledge base
● Communicating effectively
● Creating and making healthy life choices
● Participating as an engaged global citizen
● Providing leadership for justice
● Live in respectful harmony with others
● Develop mind, body, and spirit
● Learn to communicate in speech and writing
● Serve the Eagle Rock and other communities
● Become a steward of the planet
● Make healthy personal choices
● Find, nurture and develop the artist within
● Increase capacity to exercise leadership for justice
● Practice citizenship and democratic living
● Devise an enduring moral and ethical code
What Skills MUST students have to survive?
● Creative Thinking
● Critical Thinking
● Cross Cultural Understanding
● Socially Adept
● Better Studying Skills
● Problem Solvers
Research - see bie.org/research
What is Project - Base learning?
“The belief that all genuine education comes about through experience does not mean that all
experiences are genuinely or equally educative.” - John Dewey
California - The Mission
The 22nd Mission Project - Seven Elements of PBL
1. Driving Question or Challenge
2. Need to Know - Why are you working on this project? Are they hungry to figure out a
question? The passion in the “Need to Know” drives authentic learning.
3. Inquiry and Innovation - Inquiry= asking questions; Innovation
4. 21st Century Skills - working with others - may be replicated in the real world
5. Student Voice & Choice -
6. Feedback & Revision - Peer Assessment & Personal Review
7. Publicly presented products - outside evaluators review products - makes it more
Authentic Projects - videos - MediaSavesTheBeach.com
Revolution or Evolution: Would PBL be an evolution of your teaching, or a revoution? Or do
you do it already? could you modify some of your current activities or projects so they have the
7 essential features of PBL?
● How do we create projects that cover content that is tested?
● How do we assess projects?
● Organizing thoughts before they write their projects
ABCD (Asset-Based Community Development) Principles & Goals
● Everyone has gifts
● For ABCD to work, everyone must give gits
● Identifies and mobilizes the assets of individuals, especially those who are marginalized
● Builds relationships among community members, especially those that are mutually
● Gives students more roles and power in schools; students help lead efforts
● Hand: Make a list of all those things you can do with your hands
● Head: Make a list of all those things you are good at with your brain
● Heart: Make a list of all those things you are passionate about
● Human: Make a list of important relationship in your neighborhood, community and
beyond - people you can ask to get things done.
Five Minute Activity
Go to a new person in your group and ask them what their gifts are.
Take note and share
Individual Reflection - 10 minute activity
1. What are your gifts? What are your talents? What do you love to do? Come up with at
least 7 capabilities.
a. Gifts: scribing, listening/condensing/summarizing, problem-solving, implementing
projects, designing curriculum projects
b. Talents: technology, language, writing, analysis, broader thinking
c. Love to Do: read, write, daydream,
2. What are questions that inspire you about your school? What are the questions that this
year will be answered?
b. Questions for This Year:
3. What are your dreams and aspirations about PBL at your schools? What do you most
often daydream about in regards to your work here? Complete this sentence at least 5
times: “It would be so great if I could...”
a. Dreams/Aspirations about PBL at my school:
c. It would be so great if I could ...
Why Have A Driving Question?
● Guides project work
● Creates Interest and/or the feeling of challenge
● Remind them “Why We’re Doing This Today”
Criteria for evaluating your driving question
● Will my students understand it? and find it intriguing?
● Is it open-ended and does it require a complex answer?
● To answer it, will my students need to learn important content and skills?
● Does it focus on an authentic issue, problem or challenge?
Refining a Driving Question
Watch this video. What do your notice about the process of refining a Driving Question?
From too big to manageable
From too general to more concrete and localized
From “sounds like a teacher” to learner-friendly
● generate a project idea
● refine a driving question
● determine culminating products
PBL Project Overview Template - See bie.org/tools - Useful Downloads
Traditional Assessment balanced with 21st Century Skills
21st Century Skills Assessment
Critical Thinking Journal, test questions & performance tasks
Feedback & Revision - Critique Protocols - by Peers
● Be kind
● Be specific
● Be helpful
Culture of Critique: What lessons did the video teach about using feedback & revision to
create higher quality products.
Critical Friends Tuning Protocol
Presenters Presentation: project title & idea, driving question, culminating 7 minutes
products. Entry events and any concerns you’d like feedback
Everyone Clarification: Audience asks short clarifying questions 3 minutes
Audience Good Stuff: Audience shares what they liked about the project 4 minutes
Wondering Stuff: Audience shares their concerns and questions 4 minutes
Next Stuff: Audience shares ideas about resources and ways to 4 minutes
enhance the project
Presenters Reflection: Individual/Goal reflects on current thinking based on 3 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Day Two - September 1, 2010
Video: “Herding Cats”
Structuring Teams: Allow students to choose who will be on their team - VOICE & CHOICE
Classroom Culture: What was the role of the teacher and the students? What behaviors
promoted a culture of inquiry and independence?
Entry Events: The first activity to form a team
● Field Trip
● Guest Speaker
● Film, Video, Website
● Simulation or Activity
● Provocative Reading
● Startling Statistics
● Puzzling Problem
● Piece of Rea or Mock Correspondence
● Song, Poem, Art
● Lively Discussion
● Word Wall - negative and positive words that mean ...; followed by personal reflection
Launch the Inquiry: What struck you about the Entry Event (word wall with reflection) and the
students’ response? How would this event initiate inquiry?
● Students were comfortable with the teacher and shared words that were risky.
● The event was set up as a game that became very serious at the end.
● Entry Event
● Create Need to Know List
● Project Teams announced
● Discussion of expectations for teamwork
● First team meeting; team-building activity, contract, initial task list
● Team Roster
● Project Calendar
● Rubric & Assessments
● Checklist of Requirements
● Templates for contracts, lists, etc.
● Presentation/Exhibition Schedule
● Resource List
Formative Assessment - Kitty Karrier Project Requirements - produced varying quality projects
● low cost materials
● no metal parts
● fit underneath seat on a plan
● open & close access
● comfortable & Breathable
● rigid structure
Check List versus Rubric - Rubrics are preferable
● create rubric with students
● rubric eliminates questions on how they will be assessed on their projects
● See rubistar for rubric template
● self and peer assessment
● project debrief and celebration
● Teacher decides teams (or manages the process)
● Four is best
● Usually heterogeneous
● “Slacker hardball”
○ All slackers on the same team - sometimes works
○ Includes a “firing” clause in the contract
”You’re Fired” - Advice from some teachers
● Dealing with Absenteeism
○ contract can help
○ review in advance
Meet with Team Representatives
● Who is assigned to each role?
● What’s going on in this team? If you could wave a magic wand over this team, what
would you fix?
”The Usual Suspects” - Line-Up
Ensure individual accountability
● structure tasks so each team member contributes
● journal entries, status reports on who did what, self-assessment/peer assessment -
check for alignment
● Each team member must be prepared to present the entire presentation alone
● Each member must be able to say what the other member’s role was
● Check-Ins: speak 45 seconds on the status of the project
100 Campbell Soup Cans by Andy Warhol
Avoid death by repetitive presentations
● Careful planning
● Sleeping audience - have them execute a rubric of the presentations