June 16, 2014 • Archbishop Wood High School
9:15 What’s important to learn nowadays?
10:00 Defining project-based learning
10:10 Example projects
12:30 Continue Investigation
1:00 Ways to Share
2:00 Reflection & Wrap-Up
2:30 Start Enjoying Summer Break
What’s important for students to learn nowadays?
Using Pic Collage (iPad & Android), Google Drive Drawing (Laptop & Chromebook), or another app of your choosing, answer this question by creating a poster. The poster will explain to students what your group thinks is essential for them to learn.
Here are the Padlet settings Tony recommends:
- Log into Padlet.com and create a new wall.
- Click the Modify Wall button.
- Under profile, give your wall a title and description.
- Under Layout, change from Freeform to Stream.
- Under Privacy, checkmark Moderate posts.
- Under Address, give your wall an easy to type web address.
Defining Project-Based Learning
Students work in small groups (or individually) to answer a driving question. The question is so deep that it requires much thinking and investigation. Students make a product to share their answer with an audience after refining and reflecting.
Project-based learning is a form of authentic learning, which includes inquiry, problem-based learning, and challenge-based learning.
Project Based Learning Explained by Common Craft - Video and Transcript
Differences between PBL and “doing projects.” - Amy Mayer
You might think of project-based learning as the how to learn and the Common Core State Standards as the what.
The best projects empower students to make a difference by:
- educating others
- solving a problem
- calling others to action
- building something useful
- planning an event
- raising money for a purpose
- recognizing or inspiring others
- designing a better way to do something
The internet is full of students projects! These can be great inspiration for you and serve as examples ripe for critique by students.
Here’s a PDF with the set of example projects, teacher blogs, and videos about project-based learning at each grade level.
Projects have a driving question. The question is deep, interesting, and relevant. Here are some examples:
- How can we best stop the flu at our school?
- How can we teach other Arizona students about helpful insects?
- Make the case for using the metric system in Arizona.
- Imagine you are taking a young child on a road trip across the United States. What should he or she explore and learn along the way?
- Design a better lunch menu for our school.
- What if we had a chicken house at our school?
Driving questions shouldn’t sound like test questions. They should be as short as possible and appealing to students. One of the best ways to make questions relevant to students is to make it personalized or localized. Embedding an audience into the question can help focus the project.
A driving question leads to many more questions. These branching questions can serve as what students will investigate. For example, the driving question “What if we had a chicken house at our school?” might lead to these branching questions:
What do chickens eat? How often do they eat? Do they live with families or have to be separated? How much does it cost to feed chickens and how do we pay for it? Do chickens need sunlight? What size should the house be? How many rooms? How often does it need to be cleaned and by whom? Where would be the best place to put the chicken house?
Spoon Feeding vs. Feeding Themselves Comparison by Steve Morgan
Teachers provide opportunities for students to uncover learning through:
- books • websites • videos • interviews • photos • experiments • data collections • observations
Teach students how to do good Google searches.
There are some great options for sharing resources online:
- Symbaloo: Each web link has a clickable icon
- Listly: Make a list with a screenshot for each item
- Blendspace: Collect web resources into one spot
- Google Sites or Weebly: Create a simple website to link to resources
There are hundreds of ways students can present their project. Below are just a few. Listed first in each category is a web-based tool for laptops and Chromebooks. Listed second are iPads apps.
Show What You Know with Web and iPad Apps is a document full of tools for students to express themselves.
- Assessment is ongoing throughout the time students are working on a project.
- Before beginning the project, students should know how they will be assessed.
- Create checklist for projects at pblchecklist.4teachers.org
- Create rubrics for projects at forallrubrics.com
- Sample rubrics available at BIE.org
Reflecting and Refining
Reflection is essential to learning.
Because a project has an audience, it's important that students have opportunities to refine their end product before it takes its final form. Refinement can happen after receiving feedback from the teacher, peers, or experts.
Links That Might Be of Interest
- Brother QL-570 Label Printer (Tony uses to make his QR code stickers)
- Learn all about QR codes from Tony in his video.
- Scan QR codes with i-nigma for iOS or Android and make them at goqr.me. If you really want to scan QR codes on a computer with a webcam, you can use webqr.com.
- Radio WillowWeb Podcast
- Use Google Forms (part of Google Drive) to collect answers from students into a spreadsheet.
- Create word clouds (a visual representation of the frequency of words) at Wordle,ABCya, WordItOut, and Tagul
- How to Use Wild Hog Questions in the Classroom
- STEMmom.org: It’s Not Inquiry If...
- 5 Ways to Give Your Students More Voice and Choice
- Vice President StoryKit Example
- Harvard Business Review: Increase Motivation 5 Fold