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by John Larmer
Editor in Chief

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May 18, 2018
Top PBL News Stories

by John Larmer
Editor in Chief

(Note: I’m not calling this the “Top 10” anymore, because there are so many good PBL-connected items to pass along these days and I don’t want to leave any out, so there could be 11, 12, 13…)

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

Project-based learning and standardized tests don’t mix
The Hechinger Report
This article recently made the rounds on social media—it focuses on PBL schools around Philadelphia and highlights the various alternative ways they measure student learning.

5 Myths About Classroom Management in PBL
An excellent post, which includes an animated video & a podcast version, with practical responses to myths such as “Structure ruins creativity” and “You need tons of transitions or students will be off-task” and “You need a system of punishments and rewards to keep group members accountable.”

A Case for Culturally Relevant Pedagogy in Classrooms
Education Elements
This article is not about PBL per se, but it’s full of resources for teachers interested in exploring issues of representation, race, and equity with their students. The central story about two first grade girls, one black and one white, talking about Barbie dolls, has an alternative ending that would make a great idea for a project.

Project Based Grading
Teacher-blogger Mike McFadden argues for grades in PBL to be based on a balance of presentations of learning, habits of work, and traditional assessment.

How to Begin Putting the Passion in Project-Based Learning
Global Digital Citizen
Some great advice for the in-depth practice of PBL, including the use of a “flexible” driving question, design thinking, blended learning, GANTT charts, and more.

The 10 PBL Commandments
You may have already seen this on Twitter—a very clever and creative video, a parody of a song from the musical Hamilton, that explains the “Problem Based Learning Cycle”—which is very close to our model of PBL.

5 Reasons Why PBL May Not Be Working at Your School
Drew Perkins makes important points school leaders should consider if they really want PBL to take root, for example: “Your projects are asking questions important to teachers, not to your students” and “You haven’t engaged in the collaborative PBL process as a leader but you’re expecting your teachers to.”

PBL Year 1
The Evolving Educator
A thoughtful post from a first-year school principal in his school’s first year doing PBL, with 6 right-on tips, such as “You gotta start somewhere” and “Don’t get caught up in fluff” and “It highlights standards, not tests.”

Playing with PBL, Part 1
Planting Seeds
Teacher Christine Vanderwal is blogging about a project she’s doing right now with her students, about innovation, big ideas in science, and geography. Nice details about how she prepared students and launched the project. Love this: “It took me awhile to come to this ah-ha moment: the difference between students doing projects and project based learning (PBL) is that in authentic PBL, the project IS the unit.”

The 4C’s for creativity in the classroom
Here’s a helpful “creativity protocol” to guide students producing videos in projects, with thinking prompts and examples for “Care, Criteria, Content, Constraints.”

Dystopian Shark Tank PBL
Exponential Educators
A nice blog from two high school English teachers, with a podcast in which they describe their “first foray” into a large scale PBL experience and discuss “risk taking, deliberate messiness and ambiguity, and letting students take control in their learning.”

Students working on app to make trip to Alligator Farm more fun, interactive
The St. Augustine Record
Ninth graders in a biology/literature/design project created an augmented-reality app that takes visitors on a “digital scavenger hunt” at St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, Florida.


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