Project learning can inspire the best of high-performance teamwork, or it can be devolve into unfocused chaos. How can we support each other to keep our eye on the prize? Share your project ideas, questions, and implementation experiences.

social studies

Davion Kevro Reid Physical Education and Trained Teacher, Barracks Road Primary School, Monte

how using technologycan social studies be taught

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High School Social Studies teacher from Medford, Oregon

Hi Andrew,

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I really like your thought process for your PBL assignment. Instead of asking why democracy is good why not reframe it to ask whether it is good or bad and then compare it to other systems.

On your second question I would suggest narrowing the focus by asking these questions:
1. How would the political/governmental structure be different?
2. How would the U.S. economic system be different without democracy?
3. How would this affect the social structure of the U.S.?

I hope this helps. Let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Educational Consultant and Online Educator

DQ Ideas

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I've got a few suggestions for you.

1) I think you should focus on either the enlightenment as Suzie pointed to in her example, or American government and democracy. I think it will help focus the scope of the project and allow for a reasonable and managed outcome.

2) Your driving question MUST be student friendly. Suzie's example is on the right path with this. Don't feel like the DQ must communicate the content or standard, Your job as the teacher is to focus the instruction and assessment to make sure that they are achieved.

3) What is the new and innovative product they will be creating? Once you have an idea of this you can say something like: How can we create x to do x? Or some variation. Product oriented DQs can work.

Let's see what you come up with and we can give you more feedback.

Andrew@BIE.org

High School Social Science

Just to clarify, since this

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Just to clarify, since this is the introductory unit for the semester I wanted to get a writing sample from the students. They are in the 11th grade.

High School Social Science

To re-clarify I see the final

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To re-clarify I see the final product to be an essay.

Educational Consultant and Online Educator

Authentic Writing

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I think focusing on writing would be a great idea. Quick question? Are you grading writing or are you using it as a formative assessment?

I would push you to think past the traditional essay. What about a blog? What about a letter? What about a photo essay (with paragraphs)? What about a written proposal? Again think outside the box of the genre AND consider the audience. It will raise the rigor, and the quality of work. You can include the elements of the essay in a variety of written products.

Also remember to offer some choices for students, either in the group or the individual product. Maybe as a group they create the same product, but individually they have the choice of three.

Andrew Miller

High School Social Science

Andrew, I am using the essay

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Andrew,

I am using the essay as both an assessment of writing ability, or SS department works very closely with the Language Arts programe. We have a standard rubric used across all curriculums. I am also looking to assess thier understaning of the standards.

I was interested in your previous comment:

2) Your driving question MUST be student friendly. Suzie's example is on the right path with this. Don't feel like the DQ must communicate the content or standard, Your job as the teacher is to focus the instruction and assessment to make sure that they are achieved.

Do you mean the lessons leading up to the final product should be where i cover the standards but the final product does not have to necessarily have to cover the standards?

Andrew

Educational Consultant and Online Educator

Sounds like the essay will be

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Sounds like the essay will be your individual product. What will be the group product they collaborate on that will hold them accountable for the same knowledge.

The final product IS standards based. It should hold them accountable for the learning targets and standards you are assessing.
The DQ doesn't need to sound like a standard. The purpose is to engage and focus the kids.

Does that make sense?

High School Social Science

Can't an individual essay be

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Can't an individual essay be the final product. I hae a copy of the BIE handbook and it sounded like it could be. Does the final product always hae to be collaberative? I also liked your idea of blogging. It's something I have thought of doing for a while but don't know how.

Educational Consultant and Online Educator

Essay as Product

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An essay could be a product, but for what purpose. PBL prides itself on having a public and authentic audience with each progress. Why? Relavent work, which helps keep students engaged. Like I said, you can have a letter with an audience as its purpose and still have the important elements of the essay.

Each project should have an individual product and a group product. As a team, we want innovation and collaboration, building 21st century skills. We also want to know that each student met the learning targets, hence individual product. Collaboration is one of the essential components of true PBL.

- Andrew

Andrew, I would challenge you

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Andrew,

I would challenge you to consider a different product than an essay if this is your first PBL unit. You want the product to be something a bit different than a traditional class so students can get excited about it. An essay may lead them to think PBL is just the same ol' same ol'

You could still have students write something as part of the unit but have them make something else as a group that they present to some kind of authentic audience. Just my 2 cents

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