Blogs on Project-Based Learning

Blogs on Project-Based LearningRSS
John LarmerSeptember 17, 2013

When a teacher, school or district tells parents, "We're going to do project-based learning," the response may vary. You're lucky if some say, "Great news! Students need to be taught differently these days!" But a more typical response might be:

  1. What's project-based learning?
  2. That's not how I was taught. Why do we need PBL if (a) our school is already doing well, or (b) what we really need is a better literacy/math program to raise test scores?
  3. Isn't that just a trendy new thing that doesn't really work?
  4. How is this going to affect my child (and me)?
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John LarmerAugust 15, 2013

Over the summer, you've spent some time planning what you think will be a great project for the beginning of the school year. You're eager to launch it on Day Two, after you've introduced yourself to your students on Day One. Or should you wait until, say, Week Two, Three, or even later to start the project?

The answer is: it depends.

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Andrew MillerAugust 12, 2013

Let's have an honest conversation on the issue of coverage. Whenever I work with teachers, I always hear the genuine concern about coverage of material. And it's true -- most teachers, based on structures beyond their control, are forced to cover a lot of material in the year.

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Suzie BossAugust 9, 2013

Teachers making the shift to more student-centered classrooms sometimes feel like explorers, navigating uncharted territory. Just ask Shelley Wright @wrightsroom, a veteran educator from Saskatchewan, Canada. On her "Wrights room" blog, she shares the questions that she and her students wrestle with as they engage in project-based learning. Those questions are particularly challenging when students explore issues of social justice.

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Shawn CornallyAugust 2, 2013

When a student comes to you and asks, "Can you teach me how to make bacon?", the only response is to start immediately. When you work at a competency-based school, your second response is, "And we'll turn it into a chemistry credit!"

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Suzie BossJuly 25, 2013

The New Tech Network includes more than 100 schools in diverse settings that put project-based learning at the center of instruction. That's all true, but it doesn't begin to tell the story of what makes learning "electric." That's how one educator from this network describes project experiences that ignite students' curiosity and build their agency to tackle challenging work.

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Bob LenzJuly 19, 2013

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:

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Matt LevinsonJuly 16, 2013

I learned this important lesson while teaching U.S. history to 11th graders several years ago: "All bets are off outside of math class."

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Andrew MillerJuly 15, 2013

I had a great time at the PBL World Conference in so many ways: as a presenter, as a panelist, as a listener, as a collaborator, and even as the subject of art. (Now, that is something I would never, ever have guessed!) Everyone took away his or her own ideas for implementing PBL projects, but one theme I noticed throughout the entire conference was assessment. Assessment remains a challenge for many of us who do PBL, but I left the conference feeling more confident not only in the assessment practices I have done, but also in generally accepted best practices. Here are some of my big takeaways:

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Joshua BlockJuly 5, 2013

For the past five years I have collaborated with a playwright who works with my students as they write original plays. Each year, on the first day that she has been in the room with us, Kate and I stage a conflict about what should come next in the lesson. As students squirm uncomfortably in their seats and turn to each other with unbelieving eyes, Kate and I debate what makes the most sense to do next. The goal of the staged conflict is getting students to think about the crucial role of conflict in drama and playwriting. We use our brief skit as a way to open up a larger conversation about the power of theater and the different elements of a play.

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