Project Based Learning

March 25, 2014
Webinar PD with Microsoft in Education

Suzie Boss
-writer and educational consultant
-author of four books
-Edutopia blogger

Mike Gorman
-1:1 program
-won multiple awards
-STEM Education of the Year

Leah Obach
-Grade 1 teacher
-Hot Topics/Project Based

Mike Gorman
What is Project Based Learning?
-student centred learning
-process oriented
-21st Century Learning
When we talk about this 21st Century; (We cover the big C’s)
2)Creativity; risk taking, think in a divergent manner
3)Critical Thinking
*It should be facilitated and it should be assessed.
( it out… They have rubrics for things like this.

PBL is the MAIN COURSE… PBL is NOT a dessert lesson.
The project does the teaching.

How long has it been around?
John Dewey;
“Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn and the doing is such a nature…”

8 Essential Elements that PBL needs:
(IT IS ABOUT THE CONTENT… Lay the foundation of content for students.)
*The curriculum and content is essential for success…
-driving question; uncovering what is under the hood (CREATE THE NEED TO KNOW!)
-voice and choice; has to be student ownership… sometimes we are locked into content, but we need students to get into the “flow” when they have voice and choice
-in depth inquiry; this isn’t research… it is knowing how to ask, get an answer and then ASK ANOTHER QUESTION 
-need to know;
-revision and reflection; tinkering, learning, making mistakes, improvement, the result of rigour is QUALITY WORK
-public audience; it has to go beyond the refrigerator at home; publications-mentors-tweet-blog and BEYOND…
-21st century skills;
and beyond…

Lectures/Interactions/Formative Lessons/Assessments/Metacognitive Process

Embrace the COMMUNITY!
-include them as often as possible

Project Time should equal CONTENT…

Suzie Boss:
What I think engages us most are interactions with real-life dilemmas and an opportunity to learn how to solve them.” -Eight Grade Student
Students had their own FILM academy… Foulks Ranch Film Academy
Elk Grove, California

Leah Obach:
Steps and examples of her experiences;
Currently she has Grade 1 students… Age 5 and 6
She has seen it work well with all ages.
*Step into the guiding role and let students guide their own projects.
-they need to come up with their own questions
-collaborative brainstorming; Skype/Twitter… but there is nothing stopping you from doing a paper and pencil brainstorm

Ask your students… WHAT do you want to do?
Do to an issues with weather and negative impacts on local farming… they came up with a:
Farmer Appreciation Day
-mentorship with older students, experts and beyond
(How was this linked to content/curriculum/assessed?)
-writing and distributing invitations
-planning and backing a snack
-design posters and decor
-created a video
*Creating and executing an ‘Action Plan’…

PBL works because of the culture that you have created for your students.
-Mike Gorman…

Does PBL work with teacher? Where? How?
PLC/Learning Teams/PD with teachers;
a. Teachers like students chose what it is they would like to work on and set goals…
b. Fed Ex model we are doing at LCSD
c. Learn-a-thon activity at the Global Forum

How do you manage time with PBL?
Dessert projects are;
-teach, teach, teach- make sure students learn everything and THEN do the project.
NO! The main course should be;
The project is teaching the material/content/curriculum.
If we are not pushing the project to the end and eating it like dessert… it won’t take extra time.
AND- I totally agree with students; when students are passionate about their projects they will work on it outside your classroom.

The following are just random thoughts and rants that will be written into an official blog post in the coming days.

Something that was discussed was:
Is true/quality PBL always interdisciplinary?
I believe that quality PBL should always be mindful of interdisciplinary themes to increase higher order thinking. Learning should not be restricted to one course… even in the case when one teacher, teaches one specific class- while assessment may surround outcomes/targets from one class… teachers must be mindful of teachable moments and other disciplines that can develop/surface.
*Even in the case when teachers are not comfortable with specific topics that come up… this is when you can learn WITH students.
*We cannot limit learning opportunities that students are passionate about…
If there is time and allowances within the curriculum- DO IT!

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