Top 8 PBL News Stories

April 24-28, 2017

Each Friday we post a list of articles, blog posts, research studies, and other resources we’ve run across that relate to Project Based Learning.

Here’s what we liked this week:

Never Mind the Students; Homework Divides Parents
New York Times
This story has implications for PBL, since projects often involve unusual homework, and it raises interesting equity issues. Some elementary schools in New York City have eliminated traditional homework like worksheets, in favor of reading for pleasure and “playtime, downtime and family time.” But some parents said the plan was “economically and racially insensitive,” by favoring families with time and money to provide their own enrichment.

Targeted by Slurs, Students Ride Wave of Support to Robotics Championship
Education Week
A team of Latino and black fourth graders from Indianapolis, Indiana were taunted (e.g., “go back to Mexico!”) at a competition, which led to national attention and support. The team won several awards in the state robotics project championships.

Crane School’s Students on Educational Mission
Fourth grade teachers in Santa Barbara, California adapted the “22nd Mission Project” designed by the Buck Institute, in which their students learned state history by deciding where the (hypothetical) next Spanish mission should be built.

The 4Cs Research Series
Partnership for 21st Century Learning
P21 has partnered with Pearson to develop a framework (with rubrics to come) for teaching and assessing the 4Cs: critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication.

Kindergarteners Learn “Heroes Are Everywhere”
Education Week
Here’s a nice project idea: the kindergarten class of Hebrew Day School of Ann Arbor, Michigan talked about superheroes then wrote and illustrated a hand-made book about how they themselves and people they know “demonstrate heroism by being kind, respectful, helpful and persistent.”

PBL: Not Just for High School Anymore
A kindergarten teacher makes the case for PBL for our youngest students and describes a class project about reptiles that culminated with making a movie about the creatures each child chose to learn about. They turned their classroom into a movie theatre—with ticket takers, a concession stand, ushers, and promoters—and hosted a showing for other students and families.

The Essential Underpinnings Of Shifting to ‘Modern Learning’
KQED Mind/Shift
Two superintendents are profiled in this post, one from Albemarle County schools in Virginia and the other CCSD59 outside of Chicago. They talk about how they are trying to build a culture of innovation among teachers and school leaders.

Students in Washington state and Paris collaborate on app to share untold stories of WWI vets
Here’s a cool history project: Middle school students created an app called “The Monuments Project,” to tell the untold stories of American World War I service members buried at Suresnes American Cemetery outside of Paris.


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