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ProjectPreparation/DrivingQuestion

2.EntryEvent

Beforestudentseverenteraproject,youmust
prepare.Adrivingquestioncanhelpkeepyou
focused.Adrivingquestionshouldbeopenended,
complex,andlinkedtocorelearning.Yourstudents
shouldnotbeabletoGoogleittofindasetanswer.
Onceyouhaveyourdrivingquestion,useittohelp
youcreateyourprojectneedsyourentryevent,
workshops,learningactivities,assessments,etc.
Youllalsowanttocontactanycommunitypartners
togettheiragreementtohelp.
Theentryeventisthehookthatwillgetyour
studentsinterestedintheprojectandcontent.The
lengthdependsonthecomplexityoftheproject.Its
purposeistogenerateinterestandinspireneedto
knows.Yourentryeventshouldpromptyour
studentstoasktherightquestions.Itstheirfirst
impressionoftheworktobedone.

Examples:letterfromcommunitypartner,eventflyer,
invitation,handsonactivity,youtubevideo,forum,
interview,etc.

3.Knows/NeedtoKnows

Studentscreatealivingdocumentofthingsthey
alreadyknowandthingstheyneedtoknowinorder
tocompletetheproject.Throughouttheproject,you
orstudentleadersshouldfacilitatereviewsofthe
Knows/NeedtoKnows.TheNeedtoKnowsalso
inspireyourcontentworkshopsthroughoutthe
project.Tohelpstayorganized,youcansplityour
Knows/NeedstoKnowsintothreecategories
logistics,skills,andcontent.KnowsandNeedto
Knowscanbeaddedatanytimeduringtheproject.
ThegoalistohaveallNeedtoKnowsmovedto
Knowsbytheendoftheproject.Goodadvice
avoidimmediatelyansweringaNeedtoKnow.The
pointistocreatestudentautonomy,sotheyshould
eventuallybeabletoanswertheirownNeedto
Knows.

4.ProjectDescription/CommunityPartners

Youllneedtogivestudentsabriefdescriptionof
theirprojectifthatsnotpartoftheentryevent.
Whileprojectsshouldgivestudentsvoiceand
choice,sometimeschoiceisntanoptionifa
particularproductisrequired.Communitypartners
cancomefromanywhereinthecommunity.
Perhapsthepartnercomestoyouwithaproblem
andwantsyourstudentstofindthesolution,oryou
mayhavetoreachouttoanadultinyourcommunity
whocouldtakepartinyourproject.Anotheroption
istohavestudentsfindyourcommunitypartners.

Regardlessoftheoption,besuretohaveallthe
requiredinformationforyourcommunitypartnerso
he/sheissetupforsuccess.
5.ProblemStatement

Beforeyourstudentsgettowork,theyllcreatea
problemstatementthatwillhelpkeepthemfocused
throughouttheproject.Theirproblemstatementwill
alsohelpyouassesswhethertheyknowenough
abouttheirupcomingworktobeabletostartthe
project.Themosteffectiveformatistohave
studentscompletethefollowingsentence:
Howdoweas[rolegobeyondstudents,think
investigators,journalists,consumers,
etc.]...do/create[productwhataretheyultimately
responsibleforattheendoftheproject?Thinka
website,abook,anevent,etc.]sothat[purpose
again,thinkdeepgobeyondpeoplewillbuya
productitsmoresopeoplewillchangetheir
shoppinghabitstobemoregreen,etc.]?

6.Agreements/Grouping

Oncestudentshaveanunderstandingofthelearning
tobedone,youcangroupthemintotheirproject
workgroupsandhavethemworktogethertocreate
collaborationagreements.Theseagreements
shouldguidetheirworktogetherandhaveprotocols
forsolvingdisagreements,ensuringallare
contributing,etc.Ifthegroupbreaksdown,students
canrefertotheiragreementstobuildthegroupback
up.Teamagreementscanincludethingsliketeam
membersstrengths,weaknesses,roles,conflict
management,andteammemberremoval.

7.Rubrics

Studentsneedtoknowhowtheywillbeassessed
bothduringtheprojectandfortheirfinalproduct.
Whileassessingpresentationskillsandworkethic
arerecommendedtohelpstudentsdeveloptheir
collaborationandcommunicationskills,themajority
ofassessmentshouldfocusonwhetherstudents
havemasteredthecontentstandardsaddressedby
theproject.Helpingstudentstoanalyseand
annotatetherubricsalsohelpsstudentscreate
knowsandneedtoknows.Rubricscanalsobe
usedthroughouttheprojectasformative
assessment.Forexample,Yourthesisstatement
rightnowisinthedevelopingcolumn.Letstalk
aboutwhatweneedtodotomoveittotheproficient
category.

8.Workshops/Scaffolding

Throughouttheproject,studentswillneedtolearn
skillsandcontent.Workshopsarehowyoudeliver
thatinstruction.Whilesomeworkshopsmaybe
optional,contentstandardsrelatedinstructionis
mandatoryforallstudents.Forexample,ifstudents

wanttolearntousePhotoshop,theycanattendthe
workshop.However,iftheworkshopisongraphing
trigonometricfunctions,theyhavetoattend.
Workshopstakeplaceduringclasstimeandequate
totraditionalinstruction/guidedpractice/
independentpracticetime.Ifworkshopsarethetime
youusetodelivercontent,scaffoldsarethetools
youusetohelpmasterthatcontent.Forexample,
thesecouldberequiredsupporttexts,RTItime,
differentiatedinstructionactivities,etc.
9.Benchmarks/Checkins

Periodicallythroughouttheproject,studentsshould
completework/mastercontentstandardsaccording
toabenchmarktimelinethatyouprovide.For
example,ifthefinalprojectistocreateafundraising
eventforalocalhumaneshelter,thenabenchmark
mightbetohavetheeventflyercreatetwoweeks
beforetheevent.Whilebenchmarksmaybedue
dates,theycanalsobetraditionalquizzes,tests,
homeworkassignments,practicepresentations,etc.
Thebenchmarksprovidestudentswitharoadmapto
projectcompletionandtheyprovideyouwithcritical
feedbackaboutstudentlearning.

10.CulminatingEvent

Theculminatingeventiswherestudentsshowoff
theircompletedprojects.Dependingontheproject,
thiscouldbetheactualeventtakingplace,itcould
bepresentingtoapanelofjudges,itcouldbea
projectfair,etc.Studentsshouldshowuptothe
culminatingeventinformal/professionaldress.Itis
recommendedtogivestudentsapractice
culminatingeventdaysothattheycangetonelast
timeforfeedbackontheirprojects.Thisalsohelps
youstayintheloopsothatyouhavenoissueswhen
studentspresenttocommunitypartners.

11.Reflection

Studentsshouldreflectontheirlearningaftera
culminatingevent.Onewaytodothisistogo
throughthestandardsandhavestudentsreflecton
whattheynowknowintermsofcontent.Youcan
alsoaskstudentsforfeedbackintermsofproject
idea,length,anddifficulty.

Otheradvice:
BetransparentaboutthePBLProcess.Teachstudentscommonterminologyanddontassume
theyunderstandhowtodoanyparticularpiece.Theyneedtobetaughthowtocommunicateandcollaborate.
Youshouldhavenosurpriseprojectsassessstudentsconstantlyandholdthemaccountableforcontent
knowledgeandprojectbenchmarks.Allcontentknowledgeshouldbemeaningfultoprojectcompletion.
Agendasforeachclassperiodcanhelpstudentstostayontrackandknowwheretheyneedtobeandwhen
duringaclassperiod.TryimplementingpiecesofanentirePBLunitfirsttotransitionkidstothisnewwayof
learning.