December 31, 2016

PBL Plus?

  • Homework prepares individual students for classwork. Common primary source lecture, reading, and background research is provided online and completed by students off site.
  • Class time is focused on completing complex authentic assignments that require creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration.
  • Projects are conceived with input from community and industry partners, and assessed through rubrics created by teachers and partners. Specific tasks are assigned to both individuals and groups.
  • Teachers provide daily goals and guide the process. They embed mini-lesson to support fundamentals as needed. They also assess benchmarks and checkpoints resulting in both individual and group grades.
  • Project iterations are formally presented to community and industry partners for feedback quarterly leading to a final public presentation at the end of the school year. 

Jane teaches English. A local water treatment plant asks her to help with their newsletter. The partners from the water treatment plant meet with the class and give them some direction and deadlines. Jane assigns English 11 students a specific task, and breaks them into small workgroups of 3-4. She instructs them to conduct Internet research on the water plant, and to write interview questions for key plant personnel. The students conduct interviews virtually from the classroom. A small group of students visit the plant to take some pictures. The partners submit other pictures. After two weeks the students submit a draft to the partners. A meeting is held with the class virtually to provide feedback. Students continue to build the project for two more weeks. Another draft is submitted, and a feedback meeting held. After a third round of changes are approved, the newsletter is printed to .pdf, posted on the water treatment plant’s website, and printed on high gloss cardstock. Each student is given a grade for their specific task and a group grade.