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Project Based Learning with Suzie Boss

Today was day #1 at the #innovategraded conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

This conference is all about innovation in education, and how to start this process both in your classroom and at your school.

Today I attended a day-long workshop with @suzieboss on Project Based Learning (PBL).

Here are my top 10 takeaways:

  1. The teacher must plan and implement the driving question, the end product, the first day lesson, and the learning engagements along the way.
  2. When teachers are new to PBL, it's critical that they design many parts of the project for students. 
  3. The driving question should be action-oriented and appeal to students' interests. 
  4. The initial activity must grab students' attention. 
  5. The audience for this project must be authentic and add value to students' learning.
  6. PBL is inquiry based and allows for students' individual questions.
  7. PBL is not the same as projects because the latter often do not have lasting learning value.
  8. It is not necessary to do PBL all the time. Depending on a teacher's particular situation, once or twice a year may be all that she can manage.
  9. It is important for colleagues to collaborate with each other on the design of a PBL project even if not everyone will be implementing it in their classroom.
  10. Finally, it is important to scaffold students' learning through mini lessons and check-ins along the way.
Tomorrow there will be many 30 - 90 minute sessions on a variety of topics. I look forward to continuing on this learning journey.

If you have experience with PBL, I am particularly interested in hearing your thoughts on developing an effective driving question, ongoing and final assessments, and PBL timelines. 

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No answers. 

Just questions.

(1) What purpose do math stations serve in my classroom?

(2) How can I continue to engage writers without overwhelming them or me?

(3) How can I determine if my tangled readers are learning to be better readers from the books they choose to read?

(4) How can I strike a balance between student choice and making sure my students learn what they need to learn at any given time?

(5) Am I demanding too much from my students?

As I find responses and solutions to these issues, I will post some ideas on my blog.

Any thoughts are more than welcomed!