Hangout Recap: Managing Projects in Middle and High Schools

For this week’s Hangout, BIE National Faculty members Tim Kubik and Brian Schoch were joined by middle and high school teachers Angela Marzilli and Krystal Diaz to discuss how they manage the implementation of projects in their secondary classrooms.



We focused on the following Driving Question:

How can we effectively manage projects in middle and high school?

Here were some of the highlights:

Question 1: How do you form and manage teams? (2:30) 

Our guests talked about:

Question 2: How do you help students use their time effectively? (7:50)

Our guests talked about:

  • Student contracts (Project Team Contract & Project Team Contract Template)
  • Daily check-ins
  • Critical friends protocol
  • Rotating students through stations during work time
  • Quick, written reports about what students are doing
  • Meetings with teams to check progress

Question 3: What does a PBL classroom look like during a project? (15:15)

Our guests talked about:

  • Administrator visits
  • Different types of instruction, including small group and direct
  • A space where everyone in the classroom – students and adults - is learning

Question 4: How do you involve adults, the community, experts, and other outside visitors in project work? (19:00)

Our guests talked about:

  • The outside world is interested and will come into your classroom
  • Authentic audience
  • Change in engagement and performance levels

Question 5: What are some common management challenges in PBL and how do you handle them? (24:45)

Note: Throughout the month of April, our focus will be on Assessment.

Key Takeaways

  • Do authentic projects to keep students engaged
  • Scaffold student voice and choice
  • Use frequent and varied checkpoints
  • All of the people in the room can choose to be learners
  • Give your students the tools they need to collaborate
  • Empower students with opportunities to take ownership
  • Strive for perfection, and learn from failure