Saturday, 3 May 2014

PBL: Idea Development and Evolution

I always believe that a fully immersed beginning is the best way to get anything done. In other words I've come to enjoy - no longer loathe - the 'pushed in deep water and expected to learn how to swim' type learning. Mainly because I feel like I work well under pressure - even though I take a while to find my fins.

After #teachmeetnz this afternoon, I was back on Twitter... yes again.

And was discussing Project Based Learning after a colleague's talk about Future Built Classrooms and if it's not built for the future - how to make your classroom an environment where future learning could take place.

So here I am again - though with a bit more confidence - though still not sure how it will work. The confidence merely comes from others who know what they're doing!

A few new links:
From Ros Maceahern's blog
From Hobsonville Point Secondary School - Big Projects 
From BIE - What is Project Based Learning?
From Albany Senior High School

Some Learning Design Models -
Challenge Based Learning
You for Youth 
ICTeD Services

But - and I know I shouldn't use that word.. I should be saying 'Yes, and..' - a few issues continue to circle my mind.

How to make it work in my classroom?
- Talk to other #PBL teachers currently doing this. Not just the working models like HPSS but the places where it hasn't quite worked but they've learnt from it and are still developing how to make it succeed better.
- Create options for the students - working alongside the curriculum
- Create time and space and have motivation for the kids so that they know success is great but failure is too because we learn from it and can re-develop and evolve our ideas....

How to control the very likely chaos?
- Maintain set boundaries
- Buy in from whanau, students and staff
- If they're engaged then they shouldn't be off task... and if they are address the issue and re-focus
- Given the space we have - use it to our advantage - five groups of students - MAX - grouped tables, cushions, outside if dry etc

How to gain buy-in from students, staff and whanau?
- talk to students - give them options.... not neccessarily the free-range freedom I thought of before...
- talk to staff about possible input with other English classes or cross-curricular
- talk to DP and Principal and invite them to see what we're doing
- talk to whanau - class newsletter, student led conferences, phone calls, class blog?
- have students discuss the projects themselves with peers, whanau and staff

How to do it while linking with the current set curriculum and year planner for our class?
- stick with the year planner and work alongside it.... eg - static image - do they have to do a traditional stock standard image? Perhaps it could be advertising for a brand they create...
- work consistently with improving literacy - every aspect will have a literacy focus - evaluation of task, project development ideas, refocussing on improvements to the ideas, journalling of the big project - through blogs or own personal journals..

The outcome at the end of it all working fantastically is what I have at the back of my mind as well as the forefront as well...

Now that I've answered my own questions... I can see it possibly working.

Thanks to everyone who has been helping me with this particular evolution of a set mindset. Growth mindsets are the best :)


  1. Great blog! I think the key to what Sarah (@hpssprojects) and her team have developed here at HPSS is the importance of an authentic project with a genuine client. Is there any way you can find a competition or an agency or business that could get involved? I'm an English teacher too, so happy to talk how this could work in a single classroom, though it is awesome to do things cross-curricular and break down some (real and perceived) barriers! Our students create their own websites (from a template) that share their journey along the way. Happy to share those, too. Look forward to continuing this discussion! Awesome blog. Ros :)

    1. Thanks Ros! Would be great to talk about how I can do it better. Just uploaded a new post too about PBL.. think I'm finally getting it and how to do it... maybe.