Kelley Yonce – East Wake School of Integrated Technology

  • Sent to Buck Institute for training 4 years ago.
  • Buy PBL Handbook from Buck Institute (
  • Projects on the Buck website
  • Need a lot of collaboration from others to make units successful.
  • Frustration should be expected by the kids – leads to overcoming challenges.
  • No one right answer – answers often lead to more questions
  • PBL is different than the “one culminating project” type learning
  • In PBL project runs throughout the unit
  • Start with entry document or entry event (ie. speaker, video) – “launch the project”
  • Know/Need to Know – useful to do this in small groups and then compile ideas with whole group
  • Students need guidance with pulling out the Need to Know list
  • Put vocab in entry document that they don’t know purposefully
  • Scaffold all lectures (she calls them “workshops) with this vocabulary
  • End with a rubric that contains everything that should be seen throughout project
  • PBL involves the students becoming much more active learners, using teacher as a guide
  • Makes teaching in the classroom have greater purpose because activities MUST focus on the purpose of the project unit
  • Involves more authentic evaluation
  • Bring in others for culminating event/presentation
  • Provides kids with realistic, high-stakes work if experts will be at their presentations
  • Involves community in a much more authentic way
  • DESIGN: 1. begin with the end in mind – what will product look like?  2. craft the driving question – what will the kids answer by the time the project is completed?  3. plan the assessment  4. map the project – what will the activities be and what materials do you need?  5. manage the process – group dynamics.
  • Begin with the end in mind:  SCOS, School wide learning outcomes; helps to narrow topic and helps you write the rubric (copy and paste standards from NCSCOS to begin rubric).  Self assessments by groups are including in the grading format (as well as oral communication grades, written communication grades, collaboration, technology, etc.)
  • What is a realistic scenario you can create to help them learn these objectives?
  • Driving Question: what makes the project intriguing, complex, problematic? – They are provocative, open-ended, challenging, arise from kid-relevant real-world situations, acts as a “lighthouse” to keep you on course, goes to heart of discipline or topic (Buck handbook helpful in this area!).  Ask yourself, “Is there a profession that the question ties to, so kids get some career ideas”.  Broad in scope but kids need to maintain focus.
  • Refining Driving Question – make sure questions are not bogged down with certain act, make it encompass a larger scope.
  • Plan the Assessment – What products could demonstrate what the kids have learned?  Final products, sub-assignments, process documents.  Things that will help the kids form the product at the end.
  • Final Products – require students to understand, synthesize, and apply the project’s outcomes.  Be authentic, relevant and interesting to the kids, provide opportunities to demonstrate and reflect learning.  Oral presentations important.
  • Scaffolding – students should see a clear connection between the assignment and the project.
  • Assessment Rubrics – need learning outcomes, various performance levels, MUST be handed out early in the unit to set expectations.  Teach the rubric as if it is a checklist!
  • Map the Project – Organize tasks/activities, gather materials, contact experts, use storyboarding
  • Entry Document – Provide their roles/purpose and their task
  • Teacher’s main role is to manage the PBL environment; group students appropriately, orient students to the goals, organize daily activities, clarification, monitor student behavior, manage workflow, evaluate success and reflect on learning – provide rubric filled out prior to the presentation…
  • Resources:  Midlink Magazine, Thinkquest Project Library, Buck Institute, George Lucas Education Foundation

About kcollazo

4th/5th grade teacher looping in 1:1 netbook initiative!

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