The Role of PBL in Making the Shift to Common Core
The Common Core has embedded within it some Big Ideas that shift the role of teachers to curriculum designers and managers of an inquiry process. How can PBL help with this shift?
Big Idea: I am a designer.
Common Core calls upon teachers to shift away from writing daily lesson plans towards carefully mapping out long-range units. Daily lesson planning is important, but it must occur within the context of a larger plan.
Big Idea: I facilitate inquiry.
Research and sustained inquiry are emphasized throughout the standards, but most prominently in the writing strand because written analysis and presentation of findings are critical in both college and careers. To meet the demands of the Common Core, students need to be able to build knowledge and expertise through careful reading of increasingly complex texts about the same topic of investigation.
Big Idea: I set students up to dig deep, search for meaning, and craft reasoned arguments.
Common Core requires teachers to shift from promoting a “searching for the right answer" mentality to explicitly teaching students how to dive into texts and search for meaning. Students need ongoing access to inquiry experiences that build their understanding of the world through text and explicitly teach students how to support arguments with evidence.
Big idea: I create conditions in which students can learn how to persevere.
Perseverance is an underlying theme in the Common Core Standards. To meet the standards, students need to put forth sustained effort through in-depth investigation of issues, building understanding of varying perspectives, reading complex tests, listening carefully, and sharing their reasoning.
Big Idea: I integrate content and create relevance.
Common Core requires teachers to move away from teaching skills in isolation towards the integration of reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language into long-term unit plans. Students should be able to see the relationship between standards and transfer concepts and skills in the classroom to the world outside the classroom walls. Rather than learning in a decontextualized way, Common Core demands that students have ongoing experiences to learn about the world through reading and understand the relevance of what is taught.
Big Idea: I facilitate meaningful conversations.
Common Core requires a shift from teachers doing much of the talking to creating conditions in which students can engage in meaningful conversations in which they learn how to use evidence for claims, listen carefully, draw meaning, and evaluate others’ reasoning.
Stay tuned for part two of the PBL and Common Core blog series. Part two will address key considerations related to products, rubrics, scaffolding, text complexity, and formative assessment to fully align PBL units to Common Core.
Hangout with PBLWorks: Common Core and Project Based Learning
John Larmer and Sara Hallermann discuss the shifts in teaching required by the Common Core Standards and how they connect to PBL. For example, CCSS asks teachers to move from daily lesson planning to long-range unit planning - much like in PBL, where the project IS the unit - and to move from teacher talk to students engaging in conversations based on evidence for claims - as student teams do when developing their answer to a project's Driving Question.
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