Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How to Get Started with PBL (Project Based Learning): A Great Dive to Take!

PBL, GBL, IBL, XBL, etc. etc. etc.

There are a ton of acronyms out there for different types of learning formats within the classroom.  Project Based Learning, Problem Based Learning, Game Based Learning, Inquiry Based Learning, and now some are just using XBL to be all encompassing.

At our school, we are coining all of them under the IBL umbrella because our true desire is for these to drive inquiry for students.  With that being said, a major avenue for us to push this inquiry is through Project Based Learning (PBL).  In classrooms where PBL has been utilized, students are challenged to inquire about a topic, teachers state the essential need to knows for the unit, and there is a LOT of voice and choice.

When I came on board, PBL was just starting and I really didn't know much about it.  I had done some engineering units that are very similar, but they were basically planned for me.  So I had to go on a learning journey with PBL.  I'll share that today!

1. PBL in the Elementary Grades: This is a great resource to start with and to continue to come back to.

2. Build your own PBL team.  Even if this isn't a building or district initiative, get one or two other people (your whole grade would be even better) to jump on board with you.  Teamwork is really at the heart of a terrific PBL from the planning process through execution and reflection.  

3. Take FREE classes at These are simple, easy to use 1-week courses that will take maybe 2-3 hours of your time during that week, but they are extremely beneficial.  They are free through a grant and vary by topic.  I just finished one on How to Create a Driving Question.  Next week, I will begin one on how to group students effectively for the units. The image below shows you the different topics that have occurred over the past few weeks, and which one is available to sign up for. 

 4. has great resources.  The Buck Institute has rubrics, planning templates, webinars, articles, and much more to help you along the way.  You WILL want to bookmark this website to go back to.

5. As Nike would say, JUST DO IT!  The best way to learn and reflect is to dive in and get started.

I will share some PBL posters with you at a later date that outline different grade level's projects and how they outlined their project.  

Gotta run!

1 comment:

Becky said...

I had to design a PBL for my masters. I did mine on Holidays around the world. I think PBL's are a great concept-- wish more teacher's would use them!