3 ways to plan for PBL 2.0
You’ve dipped your toe into project based learning. You’ve planned an entry event, shared a high quality driving question, managed student teamwork, created scaffolds, and helped students finish a meaningful project to present to an authentic, engaged audience!
Whew! Well done.
But we know you. We know you’re a total rockstar and you and your students are already looking ahead to your next PBL cycle. So many problems to solve! So many ideas to toss around, and so much excitement from the feedback your community gave students on their work.
While your next PBL idea’s a-percolatin’, take time to reflect on these three key areas, and take project-based learning to the next level.
Reflect, celebrate and plan
Oh, the spring. Such a busy time for teachers.
There are all those transition meetings, already getting ready for the next year. Then there are placement meetings, figuring out who will be in what class, core or group. And of course, all those ceremonies, exhibitions, and spring events.
It’s easy to forget all of the progress you have made with your students and as a school during these times. And it’s easy to get frustrated and to focus only on what you have to do next.
Your class, your community and the progress your school has made matters. And they should be celebrated.
Expand your classroom and keep kids engaged
The weather is getting nicer. The sun is finally out. And you are in charge of keeping your class engaged, focused and ...inside? Ha!
Any teacher who has experienced spring in Vermont knows that students get a little wiggly this time of year. What’s a great way to harness that energy and keep students engaged with school to the very end of the year?
How do project-based learning and makerspaces fit together?
Making and PBL may look like two completely different educational movements, but in reality they work well together and each strengthens the other.
That’s because they share a common fundamental underpinning: they honor students’ innate curiosity about the world.
VR’s real world impact on students
Virtual reality is exciting and many of our students are already using this technology in gaming (as some were quick to tell me). So why aren’t we using it more in education?
Maybe we just need some ideas on how to use VR in education. So let’s start by looking at virtual reality in project-based learning (PBL).
Helping students get organized
Middle schoolers’ lives are multi-faceted, dynamic and dramatic. And while we talk about how to grow self-directed, engaged and motivated students, that growth can’t take place while students are overwhelmed and anxious about managing their daily lives.
Last time, we looked at how to organize the tech itself. Now let’s look at how to use powerful tech tools (shiny!) to help make middle school manageable.
“Where did I put that cord? My computer is dead!”
How many times have you heard this in your classroom? So much of middle school is developing systems to stay organized: “How do I get to all these classes? How do I open my locker?” And with the addition of technology: “How do I keep track of my school computer? Which Google Doc is the homework in? ”
Let’s look at 4 ways students can learn independence and grow leadership through the care and organization of technology.
How student choice can support literacy
English teacher Laela Warnecke set out to answer one question: “How might sustained silent reading impact 8th graders?”
Warnecke examined the effect of sustained silent reading on the engagement and achievement of her students. She surveyed her students and helped them set aside time during the day to read whatever they wanted. And it turned out that her so-called “reluctant readers” weren’t all that reluctant after all.
This is a story about student choice, student engagement, and how action research can impact student outcomes.
A case study from one classroom
In part one, we explored how middle grade students are struggling to recognize fake news or sponsored posts and shared many tools for teachers looking to tackle this thorny issue.
But what does it really look like We sat down for a Q & A with Christie Nold, sixth grade educator and fighter of fake news.
Here’s her mini-unit on telling real from fake news.
Teaching news literacy in the social media age
We’ve been hearing a lot lately about the problem of fake news stories and how they might impact our impressions of the world. Imagine: if it’s hard for adults to spot fake news stories, then how hard is it for students?
Turns out: VERY HARD.
Let’s look at some resources for helping students determine when a source is truly credible or not.