Top 9 PBL News Stories

Sept. 25-29, 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:

The Deeper Learning Network Dives Into Equity
Shane Safir (who along with her colleagues Victor Cary and Lisa Lasky of the National Equity Project has facilitated equity work with the BIE staff and board) tells of leading a “shared equity experience” in Detroit for the Hewlett Foundation’s Deeper Learning network. Loved seeing this from Shane: “Nearly 20 years ago, I attended a weeklong summer seminar on project-based learning, run by Bob Lenz and the Buck Institute for Education. I remember being riveted by Bob’s video of his students engaged in a project about immigration and falling in love with this methodology.”

A Starter’s Guide to PBL Fieldwork
Elementary school teacher Elizabeth Garcia gives five very practical tips for PBL fieldwork “to ensure that it’s meaningful, measurable, and extended.”

Scientists to Schools: Social, Emotional Development Crucial for Learning
Education Week
According to this article, “Schools must broaden their approach beyond a narrow focus on academic work… Students who have a sense of belonging and purpose, who can work well with classmates and peers to solve problems, plan and set goals, and persevere through challenges… are more likely to maximize their opportunities and reach their full potential.” Sounds like what PBL teaches!

Five Lesson Plans Teaching the Power of Invention
PBS NewsHour
Here are some engaging real-world units, with teaching resources, that could easily be expanded into PBL/design thinking projects, such as “How new inventions help people with injuries and disabilities” and “Students invent their own device to battle invasive species.”

Managing the Mess – Team Teaching Edition
Riley Johnson’s Blog
The principal of Napa New Technology High School (the original one, with which BIE has had a long history) offers very helpful tips for creating shared norms between teachers who team up for projects, plus five structures to “better organize your approach to creating opportunities for student voice and choice, develop sustained inquiry over time, and assess both individual and group contributions to the project.”

Aspects of Effective Project Based Learning
The Nerdy Teacher
Blogger, author, and English teacher Nicholas Provenzano has done several projects—including ones about Huckleberry Finn, Romeo and Juliet, and Transcendentalism—and developed his own set of five elements for what makes PBL work for students (which parallel what the Buck Institute says): ownership, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and FUN.

Be the Change You Want to See
KQED Mind/Shift
Katrina Schwartz tells the story of a high school English teacher who, inspired by a talk by education change advocate Will Richardson, partnered with a colleague to design an interdisciplinary program that “blends science, English and technology learning standards into projects.”

UTeach Project-Based Instruction Pays Off for Students in AP Computer Science Principles
University of Texas, Austin
This report describes positive results for high school students who took a project-based AP Computer Science Principles course designed by UTeach, which prepares STEM teachers, and the Computer Science department at UT Austin.

Here Are Some Critical Thinking Exercises That Will Blow Your Learners’ Minds
Global Digital Citizen Foundation
Lee Watanabe Crockett shares some excellent and varied resources (with some very engaging videos) for building students’ critical thinking skills.


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