Building Rigorous Projects That Are Core to Learning (Keys to PBL Series Part 2)(Transcript)
Steven: A lot of people think that Project Based Learning is fluff. So what we did, instead of having a three-column rubric that has "Unsatisfactory, Proficient and Advanced," we added a fourth column. It is the "Standards," what has to be taught.
Peggy: Students are going to address the content that they need to learn through this PBL approach. PBL provides the meat of the curriculum. It's not a side thing you do at the end of the unit for fun. It's really how you're engaging students in that content learning.
Lisa: I start with the standards in mind. It's called "Backwards Design." And so you start with the standards, you start with what the final exam would look like. Again, we still do have final exams, and unit exams at the end of each topic that we're learning, because they need that practice. And so I make the test ahead of time, and then I plan all of the appropriate activities that we're going to do for the project.
Steven: Our students still take assessments, district assessments, and benchmarks. We still have that accountability factor. And when our students then perform very well on those, it shows it works.
Peggy: There's really two main reasons that a teacher should use a PBL approach. And one is that the students will learn disciplinary content. I mean, that's critical. But the second equally important reason to use it is that students develop critical thinking skills while they're learning the content. They learn to collaborate with others. They have the opportunity to be creative in the way they think about the problem, and then to put their own spin on their solution to the problem.
Steven: It's a shift in the delivery of instruction. Students at this school not only get the knowledge, but they learn the application. So the knowledge then becomes relevant when they have to apply it to a real-world situation.