Top 10 PBL News Stories

Here are some articles, blog posts, research studies, and other resources I’ve recently run across that relate to Project Based Learning.

The Six Must-Have Elements Of High Quality Project-Based Learning
KQED Mind/Shift
This post focuses on the need for well-designed and implemented PBL, with a preview of the soon-to-be released Framework for High Quality PBL. Good stories about an elementary teacher in Novato, CA (where BIE is partnered with the school district) and high school math teacher Telannia Norfar, a member of our National Faculty.

Portrait of a Graduate
Battelle for Kids and EdLeader21 have partnered in a movement to help school districts establish “a collective vision articulating the community's aspirations for its students” with an emphasis on the 21st century success skills PBL teaches so well.

Social Education Magazine PBL Section
National Council for the Social Studies
The January-February issue contains several excellent articles about PBL, including one by Walter Parker of the University of Washington describing the success of the A.P. Government projects he helped create—plus another article by me with an overview of our Gold Standard PBL model, with examples of classic “main course” social studies project ideas.

Problem-Based Teacher-Mentor Education: Fostering Literacy Acquisition in Multicultural Classrooms
Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning
Researchers used PBL successfully as an approach to professional development for teachers in urban settings, and found PBL effective for student learning. Some great projects are described (which shows how interchangeable the “two PBLs” are). I love this report about a teacher: “…practicing PBL made her a “different teacher”…“I was completely a worksheet teacher. I didn’t want to be, but I wasn’t sure what else to do. Now, after this experience, I’ll never go back.”

Teaching the Hard History of American Slavery
Southern Poverty Law Center
This is not about PBL per se—it’s a damning report on the lack of knowledge among high school seniors and even social studies teachers about such a key aspect of our history, but it made me realize that I have seen few examples of projects on the topic of slavery. If anyone has done one, or plans one after reading this report, please let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @johnlbie.

Women Leading the Way
A Centennial of Women’s Suffrage
High school teachers nationwide are invited to join Women Leading the Way, a national research, art and storytelling project celebrating the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage. The deadline for registration is March 8. (Look for a blog post here on Monday explaining more about this exciting project!)

The 4Cs Research Series
Partnership for 21st Century Learning
P21 and Pearson have created a series of papers summarizing “what is currently known about teaching and assessing the 4Cs: collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and communication.”

Project Based Learning In Practice
iTunes podcast
Shayla Adams-Stafford, a member of BIE’s National Faculty, hosts this podcast featuring tips, interviews, strategies and best practices in implementing PBL.

How Do You Teach to the Standards When Doing Project-Based Learning?
John Spencer’s blog
This post explains how various types of standards, from skill-based to content-based, fit with five different approaches to PBL (including “inquiry-driven” PBL, such as Spencer's Wonder Day or Wonder Week project).

What Do You Do When They Beg for Worksheets?
LifePracticeLearning blog
Ginger Lewman scores again with a nice post about reluctant students who found PBL to be too different from what they were used to—and harder—and their teacher’s realization that greater authenticity was the secret sauce for upping their engagement.

Bonus Item: Black Panther Movie Companion for Middle Grades: Wakanda Curriculum
This is a traditional curriculum package created by a teacher, with worksheets and readings about Black history, and some thought-provoking discussion prompts around the issues raised by the film—the materials might be useful scaffolds for a Black Panther-themed project, so if anyone creates one, please let me know!


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