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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Constructing a PBL classroom... the first weeks of school

Constructing a PBL classroom... the first weeks of school

Related Tags: Project-Based Learning
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Hi, The beginning of the year is fast approaching! I'm new to PBL and a pretty new teacher and I want to start off the year strong. I thought we could share effective ways we start the year (curriculum, rules, activities, routines). How do you set up a PBL classroom? What rules and procedures/expectations/routines do you start setting up? What are your classroom rules? Here are the rules I'm thinking of (they're NOT finalized). I want no more than 3-4. Rules can set students up to develop their abilities to collaborate, communicate, create, and reflect. These abilities are fundamental to PBL. Here's my stab at creating rules that set up students well. I welcome your critique and wisdom. - Think from different perspectives - Speak your mind and listen to others - Do the right thing even when no one is looking - Communicate constructively - Take risks This discussion can become a resource for PBL classroom structure...

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Rachel Pickett's picture
Rachel Pickett
10th grade Social Studies

[quote]When I taught art at the middle school level, I teamed a few times with the music teacher and had my class design and construct props, masks, and murals for her productions. The kids loved seeing their creations on stage. I also had my students enter local poster contests which had a large range of topics and causes.[/quote]

I think doing projects that are useful to the school/local community are really powerful and authentic. Thanks for sharing!

Rachel Pickett's picture
Rachel Pickett
10th grade Social Studies

[quote]How do we balance some knowledge base that are standards, such as science/balancing chemical equations with driving question projects? Do we have mini seminars on such content? Overall, how do we start with the balance of pbl to direct instruction for students who have had minimal experience with pbl?[/quote]

It probably depends on the unit your studying. For example, you could conduct a project exploring ways to create a sustainable energy economy. In the midst of this project you could study atoms, equations on energy and light, etc.

Here's a PBL science blog I've heard is great:

http://takeactionscience.wordpress.com/

L E Green's picture
L E Green
Special Education Teacher Grades 6-8

I was looking for assistance. This is my first year working with PBL. My students' ability range is wide. Where do I begin?

Mike Reilly's picture

Just some empathy. I teach high school in a combined Language arts and technology. Our IQ/COGAT score range is 60 points, so I know what you mean. However, PBL is my motivator: they choose a lot, and they choose their pace. I help all of them to make these decisions, to do appropriate, accomplishable work. Just taking the jump with you...

Amy Demarest's picture
Amy Demarest
Curriculum Coach, Adjunct Professor of Education

What is your process for sharing these rules with students and giving them an opportunity to articulate these rule? They will help you with the wording...and in the discussion of what you all think is important (you get to communicate what your bottom line is still, but in partnership) you will get a higher level of clarity and ownership I think.

What an exciting journey!

Dr. Carol Cary's picture

It's so great to hear how educators are developing the environment that will support PBL. I suggest that when developing classroom rules, teachers allow students to help construct the rules. They'll be more likely to want to follow them if they've had a part in creating them. Know what you ultimately want them to be but have the students help create them. Good luck.

Donna Luna's picture

Thanks you for posting that website for PBL. I will be looking into it further

Deborah Wacker's picture

I am a high school Spanish Teacher -- looking for any information on how to use PBL in Spanish I and Spanish II

Victoria riehle's picture

I am an art teacher in a k-8
School. Any suggestions on how to get the core teachers to open their doors and let the arts in.

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