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Project-Based Learning

A PBL Project is Like the Hero’s Journey | Blog I’ve been meaning to write this post after hearing an idea at PBL World 2015 in the keynote by Ramsey Musallam, an amazing speaker and high school chemistry teacher. Now that PBL World 2016 is almost upon us, I thought I’d better get this done so I can be ready to blog about this year’s events and ideas. Ramsey likened the learning cycle that happens in PBL to the classic “hero’s journey” first explained by mythologist Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949). Campbell described the basic narrative pattern as: A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man. Many myths and stories throughout human history, literature, and in movies follow this pattern, from Odysseus to Buddha to Jesus to fairy tales to Frodo Baggins to Neo in The Matrix and, of course, Star Wars.

New Study Shows the Impact of PBL on Student Achievement Does project-based learning (PBL) raise student achievement? If you’ve been involved in PBL for long, you’ve undoubtedly encountered this question. Over the last few years as education researchers at University of Michigan and Michigan State University, we have worked to address this question through a large study of the effects of PBL on social studies and some aspects of literacy achievement in second-grade classrooms. About the Study In our study, we randomly assigned second-grade teachers in high-poverty schools that had low performance on state tests to two groups. None of the teachers involved in the study reported previous experience teaching PBL. Teacher Support We wanted the study to be realistic in terms of the degree of professional development (PD) support districts might be likely to provide to teachers, so PBL-group teachers received only three hours of initial PD in our approach to PBL and the first PBL unit. Assessment Design Results So does PBL raise student achievement?

A Must Have Rubric for Effective Implementation of PBL in Your School May , 2014 Project based learning is a teaching learning methodology that has been widely praised for its efficacy in enhancing learning achievements.The premise underlying PBL revolves around getting students engaged in authentic learning events through the integration of mini-projects in class. These projects can be as short as one day and as long as a year. However, there is a difference between mere projects and project based learning. This table from Teachbytes provides a great illustration of the nuances between the two concepts. Check out the full graphic from this page.

Elements of projects that encourage creativity: Scenarios The quality and effectiveness of school projects differ vastly. Consider the last time you visited an elementary school science fair. How many of the projects would be considered high quality using Google’s criteria above? I’ve been thinking and writing about how we can improve the quality of projects for a long time. Unfortunately, I’ve seen too many teachers attend a conference or workshop and hear another teacher describe in exquisite, step-by-step detail, the wonderful project she does with her students. What has happened in this type of professional learning about a successful teaching strategy has fallen prey to what I call “the franchise syndrome.” The same holds true for trying to duplicate successful projects. So instead of a dozen examples of wonderful projects, let’s look at just two projects that have the potential of releasing a creative spark or two as well respect craftsmanship and see if we can extrapolate some of the elements that made them effective. Mr. Mr.

Designing Research Projects Students (and Teachers) Love Designing Research Projects Students (and Teachers) LoveMultiMedia Schools, Nov-Dec 1999 Consider these scenarios: Scenario 1:Michael is a wonderful young man. Handsome, intelligent, caring and sweet, he‘s better than about 99% of the rest of kids out there. But the one thing he is not is much of is a scholar. He is diligent, but perfunctory, about his school assignments.On occasion, however, Mike gets very excited about his schoolwork. For the past few years I have been looking at projects like these from the Mankato schools that kids and teachers love. Assignments that matter:1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Activities that involve the researcher:6. 8. 9. 10. 11. Assessments that Help by Promoting Growth and Showing Care12. 13. 14. 15. So if we know all this about good research projects, why don’t all teachers design them with some or all of these elements. Well, a 4th “A” sneaks in. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. ConclusionResearch must matter. Table One Level One: My research is about a broad topic.

Creativity and project-based learning 2 I am not very good at self-promotion. Minnesota modest, I guess. Yet I also think my new book Teaching Outside the Lines: Developing Creativity in Every Learner may improve kids' lives. With that hope, I will be putting short excerpts from the book in a blog post each weekend for a bit. This is the second part of a post begun here. From: Chapter Five: A Job Not Worth Doing is Not Worth Doing Well: What are the attributes of projects that help instill creativity? Assignments that matter to the student: Projects that allow creativity have clarity of purpose and expectations. Activities that involve the student: Projects that allow creativity involve a variety of information finding activities. Assessments that help the learner: Projects that allow creativity have results that are shared with people who care and respond. Why don’t all teachers design projects with some or all of these elements. Attitude is Everything

4 Ways to Promote Growth Mindset in PBL | Blog Originally posted on “I can’t do this! I hate geometry! In our classroom, the word "can’t" was the worst four-letter word a student could use; after all, even the last three letters of "geometry" insist that you T-R-Y….TRY! The student’s outburst is a classic example of fixed mindset. So, how does PBL promote growth mindset? Think of a student who shuts down at the first sight of adversity. Here are 4 Ways to Promote Growth Mindset in PBL: 1. Help students learn from failures. 2. Build in checkpoints for students to have opportunities to revise and improve their work. The Gallery Walk and the Tuning Protocol are two protocols that we can model and practice with students to structure feedback on three levels: from teacher to student from peer to peer from expert to student 3. In Setting the Standard for Project Based Learning, PBL experts from BIE suggest that teachers can offer opportunities for students to reflect both outward and inward. 4.

3 Ways to Manage the Messy Middle of a Project | Blog After the entry event to launch the project, it’s time to start managing the workflow. And that’s where things can get a bit tricky. Ready, set, evaluate! In the initial phases of a project comes inquiry. That means research on the web, reading of information, and analysis of what was read. They don’t. To avoid losing time during research as a result of students reading information from sites that aren’t reliable, teach them how to judge a website for veracity. I show students how to use this Website Evaluation Checklist to scaffold their thinking. Students do not have to fill one out for each site they use, but I will periodically ask teams or individual students to evaluate a website using the tool to monitor their thinking. Also, ask students to summarize what they read and include a URL to the source they’re summarizing. Where’s that information? Technology today can help sort out these snafus. The image above shows the flow of a project.

3 Lessons From Teaching Our First PBL Unit | Blog After attending the Buck Institute for Education’s PBL 101, we embarked on our first Project Based Learning (PBL) unit. At the workshop we learned that if you are just “doing a project,” don’t call it PBL. So one of our goals was to make it gold standard instead of just implementing a cool project. In many ways the results of our PBL unit exceeded our expectations. Our PBL unit focused on exploring the driving question, “How did the floods in South Carolina in October of 2015 affect the human and physical geography?” That said, we learned that we can improve our practice for future PBL units. Lesson 1: Partner with Another Teacher Without a doubt, the most significant takeaway of our first PBL unit was seeing the students blossom while engaged in Project Based Learning. The first and most obvious reason to co-teach and co-plan is that it allows you to share the workload. Lesson 2: Don’t Underestimate Your Students At times we worried if our kids could do it.