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Curriculum Manager, Career and Technology Foundations, Alberta Education

Great post John, it gives

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Great post John, it gives teachers who are new to project-based learning specific ways to set their classes up for success. The ideas would work for teachers introducing PBL in individual classrooms or small groups, or to a whole grade or school.

I jumped into my first PBL project without ensuring my students had the skills they needed and it didn't go very well. The next time I laid a foundation by explicitly teaching skills needed for PBL; my students were more successful and everything went more smoothly.

Thanks for the great resources for PBL teachers on the Buck Institute website: and the reminder to focus on the curriculum when introducing PBL. Projects that introduce PBL skills aren't a waste of time when they address outcomes, competencies or skills that students need to know.

This article makes a good

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This article makes a good case for the various elements that are involved in PBL. And while the author does refer to variations, I'm not sure that "discovering" how to do effective project based learning is included. Students can learn just as much from mistakes, misdirection and goal-lessness, and maybe they may even strengthen their commitment to and ability to engage in project-based learning if they have less instruction and more facilitation of PBL.

Teacher, Writer, and Artist

To begin the school year I

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To begin the school year I wanted to have them make a list of the reasons why we study history. I just really didn’t get satisfied with the answers I got last week so here we go again. One of the obvious reasons is that history is interesting. The history of people, places, things, and events. Nobody ever guesses that the study of history is interesting.

Anyhow, so I tell them you don’t have to agree with him but is Lester Maddox interesting. He’s interesting. I swear he was. Lester was a real mischievous and skinny old Georgia governor who certainly could ride a bicycle backwards and wave a pistol around at a poor old dude who just wanted some soul food in his restaurant and he was good at whipping around that ol’ axe handle thing while his sister banged on the piano while his customers slurped down green beans, but people all over the world continue to be interested in him. One of the other reasons about how it gets interesting—studying history—is to compare how we do things now to how we did things a long time ago. For some freaky reason I said do women have babies now the way they did a couple of hundred years ago?

They screamed … No way!

Nowadays, I said, if a mom’s in trouble, and even the baby, the doctor would probably perform a cesarean section.

Petal screamed that she was born by cesarean section! Oh, my God!

Then Hap said he was, too!

And then that Tempest said she was, too, by cesarean section, and that they ought to form a club!

Then Petal said if she hadn’t been born by cesarean section then both her and her mother would be dead and she wouldn’t be sitting right here in Georgia History class!

I took a deep breath and changed the heck out of the subject. I can just imagine them running and screaming down the hall to Lurlene’s office and pleading and screaming with her to let them form a junior high school cesarean section club.

Thanks for the great article.

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Thanks for the great article. I work at a school where students are used to working with this approach. The benefits are tremendous!

Great post. There was a post

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Great post. There was a post in EdWeek: last year that had a great first week plan. It allowed the teacher to learn their students while getting them used to forming groups and getting started on a collaborative exercise upon entering the classroom.
We so often get caught up in diving into the curriculum and not diving into the skills needed in a collaborative and reflective environment. And we also forget to foster the student-centered nature of PBL. We need to know our students and they need to know us. Then we will be truly collaborative.

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