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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Using PBL in Spanish

Using PBL in Spanish

Related Tags: Project-Based Learning
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This is my first year teaching in NC and I really like to implement PBL in my Spanish class. Is there anyone who has already tried this? Could we share some ideas. Or maybe any other teacher could give a hand- Highly appreciated-

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Samer Rabadi's picture
Samer Rabadi
Online Community Manager

Hello Jose, welcome to Edutopia. You're welcome to share your lessons here or to start a new discussion specifically for using PBL to teach English to Spanish speakers.

You're also welcome to adapt any of the resources discussed here for your own use. Some very good ones were shared by Suzie and Don.

Gloria Garzon's picture
Gloria Garzon
North Carolina Spanish Teacher in High School

Hi Jose. Where are you teaching? It would be good if we share some lesson plans and help each other on this PBL road!

Mr. José Alberto's picture
Mr. José Alberto
Tenth grade English Teacher

Hi Gloria, I'm teaching in Granada, Spain. I'm trying to involve my students in PBL but I need more practice, although they surprise me with their creativity in some cases. I'll share with you some of my PBLs. If you can share yours no doubt to do it, I will be be very grateful.


mmorrow's picture

Thank you so much! The end of the year is quickly approaching and I'm sticking in projects at the end of my chapters now as final assessments. I'm thinking that I may also, next year, do projects with students produced language and still some quizzes with writing.
I am very grateful for your help. I had no idea where to look for good resources.
I think next year I'm going to figure out a site/wiki/something to have a place to post students work that is easily accessible to parents. I think I can do this! :)

Don Doehla, MA, NBCT's picture
Don Doehla, MA, NBCT
2015 California Language Teacher of the Year, Co-Director Berkeley WL Project at UC Berkeley Language Center

Yes, indeed. BIE.org is the primary source for how to do PBL in most subjects, but there is not much for Languages yet. The model for authentic PBL stems from the 8 elements codified by BIE. Those 8 elements include:

- Significant content: for WL that means the languages we teach and the cultural contexts for them.

- 21st Century skills: specifically, Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration and Communication (i.e., presentation skills)

These two lie at the core of authentic PBL.

The other 6 elements support the acquisition of the content and skills:

- a driving question = this guides the students in the development of their projects, and ensures that they stay focused. In WL, I have found questions such as these work well:
"How can we, as ____ (think of a role here - historians, journalists, tour guides, humanitarian workers...), ______ (language function goes here - describe, communicate, explain, ask and answer questions...) about _____ (topic: the culinary heritage of X country) by creating a/an ______ (product = a restaurant, an informational campaign....). Just a starting point, to be sure.

- in-depth inquiry = not just rote information, but deeper knowledge in response to the driving question

- A need to know = motivates the students to dig!

- Student voice and choice = when students get to make some choices, wherever we can offer them, they are more likely to take more ownership of the learning!

- Revision and Reflection - so students can get peer feedback about their work at different entry points along the way, and coaching from their teacher(s) as well, so they can revise and address any missing elements they may have overlooked

- A Publicly presented product = this adds a layer of affirmation to the students' work!

I recommend this page of content I have collected...

This article:

And this video as well:

Happy digging!!

Mr. José Alberto's picture
Mr. José Alberto
Tenth grade English Teacher

Thank you very much for your accurate and useful information about how to explain and start a PBL with my students. I knew some strategies but yours is very specific for TFL.

Jose Alberto Lopez

Ana Siqueira's picture
Ana Siqueira
Pre-K to 8th grade Spanish teacher

I have done a Top Chef project where my students studied food from Peru, then made a survey before choosing their menus, made a menu, prepared a recipe mixing ingredients from Peru plus United States typical food and then prepared and brought their plates to be judged by parents and teachers. They've loved and they have learned a lot. Now I'm trying to think about a project where my 8th students will create/produce a mini olympics for my 6th graders to participate. The 6th graders will need to create their characters and get power points according to certain criteria. If anybody can give me ideas about this project, I would appreciate. It's just in my head right now.

joe's picture

Hello, I am new to this entire concept. I received my graduate degrees in literature with an expanses on medieval Spain. However, I am teaching at a public school and I am searching for anything . I have read about PBL, and it sounds what I need. Remember I am a newbie at this, so please, any help, ideas, or even criticism would he most welcome.

Don Doehla, MA, NBCT's picture
Don Doehla, MA, NBCT
2015 California Language Teacher of the Year, Co-Director Berkeley WL Project at UC Berkeley Language Center

Welcome to the conversation, Joe. Glad to help!

I would start with pointing you to some resources I cited earlier in this conversation, because as a newbie to PBLL (project-based language learning), you will benefit from some "comprehensible input" (as we WL types call it!) to start.

I recommend my own website for PBLL to start - not to be self promoting! - simply because I have put together in one place a lot of material to help make sense of it all. My website is at:


I have pages devoted to what is PBL, PBL essentials, as well as articles and videos. Further down, I have posted some example projects, with others to follow, hopefully soon!

I also highly recommend looking at the great resources here on Edutopia. This link will take you to the main page for PBL on Edutopia's site:


If you search on our site for World Languages, you will find specific ideas for our content area.

One more great resource is http://bie.org The Buck Institute for Education, with Edutopia, is the main source for all things PBL. You will find great documentation about the rationale for PBL, and in addition, there are rubrics, planning forms, and on-line courses to take at BIE.

I am not sure where you are on the planet, Joe, but if you are in California, I will be doing an all day workshop at the upcoming California Language Teachers Association conference in Sacramento in February. There is information about the conference at http://clta.net

I think this will get you started! Please feel free to post again if you have more questions!

Best wishes on your journey into PBLL,



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