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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Summer Planning for Successful PBL

Bob Lenz

Founder and Chief of Innovation, Envision Education, Oakland CA

It is often said that leading and teaching in project-based learning schools are like building an airplane while flying it. During the summer, we land the plane and we have a chance to just build. In the spirit of summer, this post is brief and concrete so we have more time for the beach and planning! Here are three ways you can plan for student success this summer:

1. Plan Projects for the Entire Year

This is the perfect time to design or review the design of the projects you and/or your team will facilitate this year. Create the documents you will provide for students through out the project. This is the perfect time for you to research the topic(s) yourself, make community connections and get excited about facilitating student learning through the project. The more you get done in the summer, the more time you have for assessing student work during the project instead of planning learning activities for the project as you do the project.

2. Do the Project Yourself

Watch this short video by Jeff Robin from High Tech High in San Diego. Jeff makes his point very clear at the end.

3. Leaders: Plan Your PD for the Entire School Year

Set your goals. Make your learning targets, assessments and learning modules and set the dates for the adults too! Just like the teachers, school leaders should do as much concrete, upfront planning as possible. Once the school year starts the plane is back in the air and the urgent can often trump the important. Use the summer to tackle the important planning.

As I write this, we are officially halfway through summer vacation -- maybe more than half for many schools; it is not too late to plan! While it is counter intuitive, the more you work during the summer the more relaxed you will be during the school year so plan those projects in detail now, do the project yourself, first and plan professionals development for the entire year not just the first few days.

Bob Lenz

Founder and Chief of Innovation, Envision Education, Oakland CA
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