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Project Based Learning (PBL)

The PBL approach to teaching and learning immerses students into real-world problems and challenges where they can explore grade level concepts and develop deeper knowledge.  It gives context and relevance to the skills that scholars are expected to master, which in turn builds interest.  When the projects are aligned with state standards, teachers can deliver active instruction in core subjects that will support our scholars' academic growth.  

One common way of thinking about PBL is that it is not what you teach, rather it is how you teach.  Teachers will be incorporating this style of teaching/learning more and more as classes become more proficient with it.  PBL is not always some grandiose project that takes weeks to develop.  In some cases, a traditional lesson can be converted to the PBL approach.  For example, instead of a teacher directed writing lesson about choosing the best writing style for a given audience, the teacher can start it by posing a driving question.  How would you change this paragraph if your friend was reading it?  The teacher then guides discussion and provides some resources that will help before allowing time to work on a final paragraph to share.  While it achieves the same goal as a teacher directed lesson, it establishes as habit of getting the kids to drive their learning.  Also, by practicing with small scale lessons, the PBL approach becomes more natural to apply when tackling a big project.  

The 4 C's of PBL: 
Critical thinking, Communication, Collaboration, Creativity

The 8 Essentials of PBL: 
  • Significant Content
  • A Need to Know 
  • A Driving Question
  • Student Voice and Choice
  • 21st Century Competencies
  • In-Depth Inquiry
  • Critique and Revision
  • A Public Audience  

PBL Resources:

Examples of PBL at AEA

5th and 6th Grade Business Day - Kids develop a business that becomes part of a grade level marketplace.  Scholars get to spend the class dollars on these tremendously creative items.  Kids learn to plan a project and see it trough to completion.