Monday, May 11, 2015

NSE BIE and PBL Update

Thank you for listening to the update today on PBL.  Many of you are doing a good job of engaging students in ongoing projects that help support and solidify the learning in your classroom.  As I mentioned today, you might want to design and implement a mini-project that you have always wanted to do over these last several weeks. It may be an idea that you have had or you may want to start the conversation and let your students come up with an idea.  

Mr. Williams had a good point.  There are two notable fears that we have about doing PBL well.  One is that if we do not teach the basic skills, students will not have the skills needed to complete the project or perform on standardized testing which is 20% of the proposed evaluation system.  Keep in mind that 80% of the evaluation will be based on the SC Profile of a Graduate.  The other fear is giving up control of student learning and facilitating and coaching students rather than delivering information and hoping the students will remember. 

Below is a good video that I found on the BIE website that explains how to manage project based learning in the elementary classroom. 

Managing Projects in Elementary Schools

I believe that I have shared this before, but one of the most time consuming yet rewarding thing I did as an assistant principal at Windsor was involve six fourth grade boys in a picnic table building project. The make up of the group was mixed.  One was pretty strong in math, two or three were average, and two struggled academically and behaviorally. I guarantee they will always remember this experience (I know I will).  

The project was designed to teach them accuracy of linear measurement, angles, surface area, etc...  We wrote letters to Home Depot and got the materials for the first table donated.  The materials were dropped off in the courtyard and it was our job to inventory, read the directions, and assemble the table.  The first table was a struggle, but the fourth table was hugely successful.  

We would spend 10 to 15 minutes in a classroom talking about and practicing some of the algorithms needed to do what we needed to do that day and then go to work for about an hour.  We spent the last 10 to 15 minutes throwing the football.  I often heard from the teacher of these boys that they constantly connected what they were working on the in the classroom to the picnic table project. They are standing on the fourth table!!! 

I share this because I would never ask our teachers to do something that I have not or would not want to do in the classroom.  I miss the classroom and will always enjoy working with children to inspire them to be the best they can be.  In fact, I am looking forward to being involved in some of your projects next year.  ​

Friday, May 1, 2015

BIE Gold Standard PBL

The NEW Gold Standard
Project Based Learning

The NEW Gold Standard for Project Based Learning is here! Please join us throughout the month of May as we introduce the new Essential Project Design Elements and Project Based Teaching Practices. Please check out our new website content that includes blogs, hangouts, and new Gold Standard PBL resources, and hear about our new book to be published by ASCD on June 1, 2015Setting the Standard for Project Based Learning: A Proven Approach to Rigorous Classroom Instruction

GOLD Standard PBL: Essential Project Design Elements
It's nice that Project Based Learning is becoming popular, but popularity can bring problems. Here at the Buck Institute for Education, we're concerned that the recent upsurge of interest in PBL will lead to wide variation in the quality of project design and classroom implementation. Read more.

GOLD Standard PBL: Project Based Teaching Practices
Teachers who make Project Based Learning a regular part of their teaching enjoy their new role, although for some it might take time to adjust from traditional practice. It's fun to get creative when designing a project, instead of just using "off the shelf" curriculum materials. Most teachers like working collaboratively with their colleagues when planning and implementing projects, and interacting with other adults from the community or the wider world. And PBL teachers find it rewarding to work closely alongside students, tackling a real-world challenge or exploring a meaningful question. Read more.

Upcoming May Hangouts

Sign Up for FREE Hangouts On Air

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - 12:00 PM - 12:30 PM PT (3:00 PM - 3:30 PM ET)
Gold Standard Project Based Learning authors John Larmer and John Mergendoller discuss the need for high-quality PBL, and outline the new model for Essential Project Design Elements.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015 - 12:00 PM - 12:30 PM PT (3:00 PM - 3:30 PM ET)
BIE Director of Implementation Jennifer Cruz, BIE Director of Professional Services Rody Boonchuoy, and BIE National Faculty member Suzie Boss will discuss how school and district leaders can lead a system-wide PBL implementation effort.

Join the Project Based Learning Community

Our main online community is the Project Based Learning community on Google+. We invite you to join us there to learn from each other, and share ideas and projects related to PBL. We recommend that you join our other online communities to not only be part of a learning network, but to also spread the word about the benefits of Project Based Learning to the greater education world and beyond.