George Lucas Educational Foundation

Elementary PBL

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Hello everyone! I recently had my first PBL training. I am very excited to implement this into my classroom. My students will love it! I teach 3rd grade, and I was considering do a poetry unit for my first PBL. I have the ideas but do not know where to start. Anyone with any helpful hints would be much appreciated.

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Becky Fisher's picture
Becky Fisher
Education Consultant

Hi Jennifer! It's great that you want to incorporate PBL into your curriculum this year. Be sure that you define the parameters in which students should work before you get started. Creating things like timelines, incremental goals, and expected outcomes helps provide a framework. Also, it helps to do preliminary exercises so students get used to working in small groups in a more unstructured environment. You can practice brainstorming on a project as a class in a more structured way, and then running a 40 minute "mini-sessions" by providing small groups with a task and asking them to present the outcomes on the same day!

Laura Thomas's picture
Laura Thomas
Director, Antioch University New England Center for School Renewal, Author of Facilitating Authentic Learning, Director of the Antioch Critical Skills Program; Elementary Library Media Specialist

Hi Jennifer-
I always begin by building community- start by getting to know their strengths, challenges, interests and styles and you'll be able to push them further. I also like using Quinn's Six Questions ( when I'm planning a new project to keep the content I want to teach and the medium (the product or project) separate in my head. It makes it easier to grade content attainment separately from product quality from work processes, I find.

1. What am I teaching and to whom?
2. Why am I teaching it?
3. How am I teaching it?
4. Why am I teaching it that way?
5. What evidence will I collect to show my kids are getting it?
6. How will my students know they are getting it?

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