have all teachers to sign onto the two chief skills required in PBL, teamwork and presentation. Use school-wide rubrics to assess the skills.
Think strategically. Plan for PBL over the course of the year, but don’t expect every teacher to do a project
f students participate in three or four projects every year, they will get what they need.
When teachers want students to go deep into an important topic, grapple with a community issue, or experience the persistence and intellectual rigor necessary to dig in to something meaningful, that’s the perfect time for PBL
Let go of theory. In theory, a question or challenge posed in PBL is so compelling that students will learn all essential facts necessary to answer the question. In practice, this doesn’t work. Teachers must make an intentional effort to design surface knowledge into a project.
Start a project design with a creative challenge and end with an authentic product
f students require certain facts and concepts for tests, but those facts don’t fit into the design, take a breath and just teach them. The project won’t fail because you took one day to ‘cover’ material.
Use direct instruction
ot the same as boring lectures
Direct instruction works quite well when dosed with questioning and small group discussions.
Use it to transmit essential information efficiently and quickly during the course of a project.
3. Start with a sophisticated student-centered culture.
“errors are fine” philosophy.
requires more than liking your students. Instead, it is necessary for educators to intentionally teach students to perform skillfully and learn to coach those skills at a high level. Some steps:
f certain teachers don’t embrace PBL, but do a good job of stimulating inquiry, let them be.
Build student capacity.
4. Make collaboration as powerful in school as it is in life.
PBL is a perfect method for helping reveal how peers will work together in the future to create and analyze content. Teachers can speed this process.
Make collaboration the foundational skill.
rioritize by making teamwork the basis for academic work, particularly in projects.
Move from the loose language of “groups” to the more accountable language of teams and cohorts.
Require teams to participate deeply in the design process
Make peer review the norm.
Don’t look at any student work until it has gone through a peer review process that pushes students to present their best work for your evaluation and feedback.
5. Understand that PBL cannot be done alone.
Teachers will benefit enormously, and grow their expertise much faster, if they can discuss and refine their projects together.
he step with the greatest leverage? Try this
Institutionalize Critical Friends Protocols. A 25 minute protocol, in which teachers present ideas to peers and receive feedback about a project in a respectful, professional environment, is a game changer.