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(This is the second of a two-part series on Planning for Reflection in PBL; part one is here)


In Gold Standard Project Based Learning, reflection is a key element that helps us support students as they work to understand the why, what, and how of their learning within the project. Reflection has a powerful implication for our teaching practice as well. Throughout the course of a PBL unit, there are key checkpoints we can use as teachers to reflect upon student learning, and moreover, to reflect upon project design and implementation.

Each and every instructional day offers reflection opportunities for which we can strategically plan. Leveraging these moments will lead to richer learning experiences for both the PBL teacher and PBL student, not to mention the high quality products! Count me in!

Participants in BIE’s PBL 101 workshop are introduced to the Project Path:

At each stage in the Project Path, there are opportunities for us to Rewind the lesson, Review learning targets, Reflect upon alignment, and Reconfigure any components of the lesson. 

  • Rewind the lesson. Retrace your steps and make sure everything is set on a firm foundation before you lay down one more brick.
  • Review learning targets. The beauty of designing our PBL units prior to implementation is revealed in this reflection step.
  • Reflect upon alignment to the Project Assessment Map and Student Learning Guide. For each phase of the Project Path, are students able to formulate responses to the “What Students Think About” questions? How does this correlate with their experiences as mapped on the Student Learning Guide? Are students on track or do we need to... reconfigure?
  • Reconfigure any components of the lesson to steer it back on track according to your Project Assessment Map and Student Learning Guide.

In addition to the questions indicated on the Project Path as “What Students Think About”, we can also dig a bit deeper and ask ourselves the following questions about our own practice and students’ learning:

  • According to the respective phase of the Project's Path, can students adequately formulate solutions to the challenging problem or driving question? (The what and why of their learning)
  • At this point in the project path, can students discuss and reflect upon how they are learning?
  • Of my instructional strategies for all, which ones work best to meet their desired learning outcome? How do I know?
  • It's also wise to ask: Where have I cut corners or rushed into things?

Need some more ideas on reflection questions throughout the Project Path? Check out the tables below for more options to enhance your PBL Reflections.

Reflections on Project Design (using the Essential Project Design Elements)
Once we launch our project, we can utilize the Essential Project Design Elements as anchors to reflect upon our Project Design in the following ways throughout the project:


Reflections on Project Implementation (using the Project Based Teaching Practices)
Use the Project Based Teaching Practices as anchors to reflect upon our instruction in the following ways throughout the project:

Let's get meta! A HUGE component of metacognition is reflection. Give the 4 R's a try and let's connect on social media @biepbl to chat more about your reflection experience.

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