Our next session outlines project-based learning as a framework for student success!
Your learning targets for this session are: (Read slide)
Allow time to read slide. Briefly discuss reactions to the quote. Try to elicit comments around student interest in solving problems, asking questions, etc. Project-Based Learning helps teachers create environments wherein they and their students work with complex, intriguing situations that foster inquiry, research, and the drawing of reasonable conclusions.
We will begin this afternoon session with a writing-to-learn activity. Combining a Flashback to previous learning or background knowledge with a Quick-write can be a powerful front-loading activity for students. It will help them to activate prior knowledge and engage with the day’s objectives. (Read slide) Give participants about 3 minutes to write and then have them share with an elbow partner.
Read this definition to yourself. Allow time for reading. Are there points included in this definition that you discussed or did not discuss with your learning partner? Are there points you discussed that are not included here? Allow time for sharing.
We are going to watch a video clip demonstrating two approaches to teaching. While we watch, think about the traditional approach to teaching that you see and the definition of project based learning. You will use a teacher-generated graphic organizer to record your thoughts. Using an organizer with students helps them to develop the strategy of clarifying their thinking and determining important ideas. Respond to the question: (read question from slide) Think-Pair Share. Turn to your elbow partner and talk about what you saw in each segment.
From this list, which items did your group discuss? Is there anything listed here that your group did not notice? Have the group share their findings from the Think-Pair-Share on the previous slide. Make sure each bulleted item is said aloud—either by the presenter—or the group participants. Are there additional items we could add?
What about the student’s role in the video segments? Which items from this list did your group discuss? Is there anything listed here that your group did not notice? Have the group share their findings from the Think-Pair-Share. Again, make sure each bulleted item is listed is spoken aloud—either by the presenter or the group participants. Is there anything else we should add?
“Categorizing is the fundamental way humans make sense of the world. It allows us to find order and similarities among various objects, events, ideas, and words we encounter.” *from Words Their Way On your unit planning template, the Word Sort is listed under Teaching Tools: Expanding Vocabulary. Open and Closed word sorts … Engage students in the active process of searching, comparing, contrasting, and analyzing Help students organize what they know about words to form generalizations And Allow students to apply generalizations to new words they encounter There are two types of word sorts: closed and open. In closed word sorts, the teacher defines the process for categorizing the words. For example, in a sorting of important battles in US history, the teacher might define the following categories: the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War. This requires students to engage in critical thinking as they examine vocabulary, corresponding concepts, or word structure. In open word sorts, the students are given a list of terms or words which they determine how to categorize, thereby becoming involved in an active manipulation of words and concepts. Today, you will complete a closed word sort. Categorize the projects on your cards as being a good example of a project for PBL or a poor example of a project for PBL. (Give time to complete activity).We’d like for you to paperclip your responses together and set them aside; we will return to them later.
Now that we’ve seen an overview of Project-Based Learning, let’s take a more in depth look at PBL and why it’s appropriate for an intervention classroom. We will complete a Mind Mapping Activity. Mind Mapping is found on your unit planning template under Teaching Tools: Increasing Comprehension. When students complete mind maps, they are able to use non-linguistic representation to explore and then show what they know about a particular topic. Pass out folders. Remember to tell the group that Mind Mapping is a teaching tool they will use later. Refer to the chart. For this activity, you will · Get in a group of three people · Read the article in your small group’s folder As you read, look for examples and definitions of Project Based Learning and why it is advantageous to use it in an intervention class. · Discuss the materials in the folder with your group · Complete the graphic organizer using the information provided in the article · Be prepared to share the recorded information with the large group Note to trainer: Small Group – Mind Mapping activity (report out and chart ideas in large group) Large Group – Mind Mapping – Each group charts ideas and then Gallery Walk Note to trainer: Be sure these points come out in discussion - Why should we use a project based learning approach for the intervention class? Promotes thinking Increases student motivation and engagement Closes the achievement gap (study by Boaler) Helps students develops skills necessary in our society Collaborating, Problem-solving, Communicating
Now that you’ve explored PBL a bit deeper, let’s revisit your word sort outcomes. Have participants revisit their word sort. When completed, give them the answer key and allow discussion. Debriefing Discussion - Turn to your partner and discuss why the examples sorted were examples of project based learning or were not examples of project based learning. Note to Trainer: “Garbage Grunge” is close to fitting in the other category. What tweaking would it need to fit in the other category? i.e. It is written as a science experiment, but could be adjusted to have students produce meaningful products for a real audience.
Read the slide to explain what research on PBL shows.
Introduce this resource as the best resource for teachers who are just beginning to use PBL in their classroom. Show copies of text, chapters etc.
So you understand that PBL is a great way to engage struggling students, but how does it work in the classroom? Project planning is organized according to five design principles. Advance Slide Design Principle #1: Begin with the End in Mind Great projects begin with the end in mind. Think about which standards will be addressed and think about how you will know when students have mastered the standards. In PBL classrooms, the important standards relate to the goals of the classroom. For example, in a science classroom, the primary outcomes would relate to science standards. However, in an intervention classroom, the primary unit outcomes relate to improved student reading and communication skills. Of course, they will also learn important content material in this process. Advance Slide Design Principle #2: Craft the Driving Question. Pulling together the theme and content standards into a significant, meaningful question engages students and helps them focus their efforts throughout the project. Advance Slide Design Principle #3: Plan the Assessment Every project should be driven by a specific set of outcomes that encompass the content and skills that students are expected to learn. Advance Slide Design Principle #4: Map the Project A well constructed project map provides structure for the project and directs student activity. This means the map will be more than just a sequence of activities. Advance Slide Design Principle #5: Manage the Process Use tools and strategies available to help you manage the process of project based learning. Many of these management tools can be found in the PBL Starter Kit.
There are six common characteristics recognized in a project based learning approach. When you begin building your units and continue watching other PBL units in action, think about how you have seen these 6 A’s in our session today. (Introduce each characteristic as the picture symbol fades in.) 1. Authenticity - Projects use a real world context (e.g., community and workplace problems) and address issues that matter to the students. 2. Academic Rigor - Projects address key learning standards identified by the interventionist and helps students develop habits of mind and work associated with academic and professional disciplines. 3. Applied Learning - Projects engage students in solving semi-structured problems calling for competencies expected in high-performance work organizations (e.g., teamwork, problem-solving, communication, etc.) 4. Academic Exploration - Projects extend beyond the classroom and connect to work internships, field-based investigations, and community explorations. 5. Adult Connection - Projects connect students with adult mentors and coaches from the wider community. 6. Assessment Practices - Projects involve students in regular exhibitions and assessments of their work in light of personal, school and real-world standards of performance. Please reference your Handout-- a Teacher’s Guide to Project-Based Learning that is in your notebook. As you view this next video, see if you can identify the six A’s of project-based learning. (After viewing, allow partner discussion and some share out with the whole group.)
Think aloud here. Throughout the year, you will design 6 PBL units for your intervention classes. The units will be designed around the following topics: success, problem solving, the environment, social issues, your community’s history and future, and success revisited. Begin thinking now about the unit on success. Discuss the components of the Unit Planning Template. Then share sample units for Success that we have as examples.
Here is a sample of the beginnings of a unit on success. (talk through the template, reminding them that not everyone will follow the same process)
Here are some links to online resources that may be beneficial as you begin to plan projects for your students.
As we close this session and you begin to plan your own project units, let us consider this quote: (Read Slide)
Read and reflect on the quote and learning targets for this session. Write in your reflective journal any thoughts or ideas you have, which you may or may not wish to share with your mentor group later. Also, think about the learning targets. Do you still have questions about PBL?
Project based learning
A Framework for Student Success!
What is Project-Based Learning?
How is PBL different from traditional
approaches to teaching and learning?
Why is PBL appropriate for the intervention
How are PBL units designed?
How does research support PBL?
I can explain what Project-Based Learning is
and how it works for motivating struggling
I can plan units around driving questions and
projects that are important to students.
Developing questions about complex,
intriguing, and sometimes mysterious
experiences or phenomena seems to be a
very natural occurrence. When people
encounter strange happenings or difficult
concepts and ideas, they naturally formulat
questions such as, “What’s going on? Why i
this happening? What does this mean? Wha
will happen in the future?” If they decide to
answer these questions, they embark on a
journey of thought that may take a few
minutes, hours, or years.
Do you have any experience with Project-Based
Learning? Think about the quote we just discussed.
In your Reflection Journal, brainstorm and record
your thoughts and ideas related to this question:
What is Project-Based Learning?
A systematic teaching method that engages
students in learning essential knowledge
and life-enhancing skills through an
extended, student-influenced inquiry process
structured around complex, authentic
questions and carefully designed products
--Project Based Learning Online – Buck Institute
As you view this clip, what is the teacher’s role
and what is the student’s role in each
• Serve as facilitator
• Model thinking and problem-solving strategies
• Structure meaningful tasks
• Work with students to frame worthwhile questions
• Manage the structure of multiple day-to-day
activities to produce high quality outcomes
• Teach students to set goals
Explore and ask questions
Work well with peers
Stay accountable to self,
peers, and teacher for
• Increases student motivation and engagement in
• Is more effective that traditional instruction in
increasing academic achievement
• Improves student retention of knowledge over
• Improves mastery of 21st
• Is especially effective with lower-
From Buck Institute Web site http://www.bie.org
In my life, what is success, and how do I get it?
Students will conduct
extensive research and self-
evaluation in defining
success and goal-setting and
processes for the future.
“arena of life”
1.What is success?
2.What goals do I have for
this school year? High
3.What will I need to do/
change to achieve my goals?
4.What skills do I need to
Students will create a report on the qualities or traits
successful people have to be posted on school website
Student will create ppt to be shared with class that includes
1)def. of success; 2) role models; 3) goals; 4)plan of action
setting and achieving
my goals for life
Can I Do
End With a BANG, Not a Whimper! The
last day of a project should not be, “OK,
turn in your papers and here’s the test. Our
next unit begins Monday.”
When you begin developing ideas for
projects, envision your students presenting
their work to an involved audience.
The project should end with a sense of
pride, excitement, and celebration.
PBL Starter Kit p. 30
I can explain what Project-Based Learning is and
how it works for motivating struggling students.
I can plan units around driving questions and
projects that are important to students.
Imagine life as problem-free. Wouldn’t that be wonderful!
Or, would it?
In any case, life does not come problem-free because that is
the nature of life here on earth, full of challenging
opportunities to learn, grow, reflect, and enjoy.
This may be the most obvious reason why project-based
learning is important for us to consider – PBL engages
students in life as we know it, full of fascinating, problematic
situations worth thinking about, investigating, and resolving.
--from Problem-Based Learning by John Barell (2007)
Beer, Donald R., Marcia Invernizzi, Shane Templeton, Francine
Johnston. Words Their Way. Prentice Hall: 2008.
Buck Institute for Education. Project-Based Learning for the 21st
--PBL Starter Kit. BIE 2009.
Barell, John. Problem-Based Learning: An Inquiry Approach.
Corwin Press: Thousand Oaks 2007.