Prepared to accompany sessions at New Mexico Highlands University Professional Development’s C.O.R.E. Institute By LyndaSuzanne Shanks in Las Vegas, New Mexico
PROJECT BASED LEARNING WITHIN THINKQUEST
PDF WHITE PAPER http://www.thinkquest.org/promotion/white_papers/WhitePaper.pdf
Section 5: Plan and Create Projects SEE BELOW FOR BODY OF THIS SECTION
Links to Video Lessons
If you have any trouble viewing the videos in this project and you are using Internet Explorer as your browser, access the videos using the links below.
Steps for Planning and Creating Projects
Presentation: Planning Learning Projects
This presentation covers the steps involved in planning a learning project.
Document: World Traveler Project Plan
This document includes the steps for planning and creating the pages for this project.
Video: Create Your Project in ThinkQuest
This lesson teaches you how to create your project and use the project tools and features in ThinkQuest Projects. (14 minutes)
File Type: application/x-itunes-itlp: 6.27 M
Video: ThinkQuest Projects Best Practices
This lesson gives you a tour of the World Traveler project to show you examples of ThinkQuest Projects Best Practices in action. (5 minutes)
ThinkQuest Projects Best Practices
Experienced teachers who use ThinkQuest Projects have identified the following best practices for developing learning projects.1. Choose a project theme that relates to students’ lives or a real-world topic.
2. Define learning goals that are realistic, achievable, and aligned with your local education standards (if applicable).
3. Create a chronological list of tasks that students must complete to achieve the learning goals. Use the estimates to create a project timeline. Compare the timeline to class schedules to ensure that it is realistic and achievable.
4. Add the key outcome or product of each task. For example, a product could be an online report, presentation, or artwork portfolio.
5. Determine how and when students will be assessed.
6. Share the project goals, timeline, and assessment criteria with students early on to set expectations and increase their chance of a successful outcome.
7. Monitor student progress throughout the project, and provide constructive feedback to improve the quality of their work.
8. Provide students with feedback after the completion of their final products.
9. Celebrate successful completion of a project to motivate students for participation in future projects.
- Exemplary Projects
This list contains some project examples you can view to give you ideas and inspiration for your own projects.
- Spotlight Projects
These projects are voted on by other teachers as the best new projects in ThinkQuest Projects.
- ThinkQuest Library Projects
These projects were created by student teams who participated in a past ThinkQuest Competition.
- Share the Skies (Astronomy/Science)
This project is appropriate for grades 5-9 science students. Share the Skies is dedicated to providing students and teachers to opportunity study astronomy in real time during the daytime without leaving the classroom..
- World Traveler (Geography/Social Studies)
This learning project teaches students about the different countries in the world by allowing them to research and plan a trip to one of these places. This is the case study project for this course. Feel free to use this project as a template for your own learning project.
- Sue the T-Rex and Other Dinosaur Discoveries
On May 17, 2000 The Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois unveiled Sue, the largest, most complete, and best preserved T. Rex dinosaur fossil yet discovered. This project teaches about Sue and her discovery.
- Farming, Food and Fair Trade (Economics/Social Studies)
The aim is to compare what foods are available in your own and your partner school’s country. Students identify which countries are consumers, and which countries are self-sufficient and look at the merits and disadvantages of interdependence.
- World is Ours, We are One (Social Studies/Citizenship)
A project for students and teachers from India, Australia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Indonesia. In this project, schools will work towards a dream for a better world that is equitable, prosperous, peaceful and a happy place for all. They will work to accomplish these goals by creating a learning project on a selected sub-theme.
- Shiloh Book Club (Language Arts)
This project teaches 4th grade students how participate in literature circles. Students read and respond to the book “Shiloh.”
- Wastewater Story (Science)
The purpose of the project is to create awareness among students and in society about importance of clean drinking water and how to manage wastewater.
Section 5 Practice: Try It!
- Review your lesson plans and select one of your classroom lessons to use as the basis for your first learning project. Design a project plan. For your first project, you may want to select just one of your classes to work with.
- Create a new project in ThinkQuest Projects by clicking the New Project button on the My Home, My School, or World tabs. Create your lesson activities on the project pages.
- Add the students from your selected class to the project.
- Launch the project with your class.
Help Section: Assign Students to a Project
Help Section: Find and Join Projects
Help Section: Find People and Schools
Help Section: Best Practices and Examples
- Keep It Real with Authentic Products
- Don’t Overlook Soft Skills
- Learn from Big Thinkers
- Use Formative Strategies to Keep Projects on Track
- Gather Feedback — Fast
- Focus on Teamwork
- Track Progress with Digital Tools
- Grow Your Audience
- Do-It-Yourself Professional Development
- Assess Better Together
- BONUS TIP: How to Assemble Your PBL Tool Kit
Project Fun Way: When Project Learning and Technology Meet by Kathy Baron http://www.edutopia.org/maine-project-learning-technology-integration
- Global Curriculum Menu- download the menu here(pdf)
- Flat Classroom Project Work together with others around the world to create students who are globally minded
- Around The World with 80 Schools Connect via Skype with teachers and classrooms
- Teddy Bears Around The World Teddy Bears share customs, traditions, geographic location
- Global Read Aloud Project Share experiences with classrooms around the world reading the same book
- Student Blogging Challenge Connect with students from around the world to read, comment and connect
- ePalsConnect with classrooms from around the world in a protected, project based learning network Grades K-12
- If we want Web Literate Students, We Need to be Web Literate Educators.
As an extension to my first blog post “Add a Global Perspective to your Google Search“, I wanted to add a video that was inspired by last week’s keynote presentation by Alan November at CMI 2011. If we want web literate students,…
- Curriculum 21- Global Partnership Site
Heidi Hayes Jacobs and I have been working on a curated Global Education site that will bring resources to educators to address global awareness, skills, literacies and competencies in their schools and classroom. The site hopes to facilitate conn…
- The Global Competency Matrix
The Global Competence Matrix was created as part of the Council of Chief State School Officers’ EdSteps Project, in partnership with the Asia Society Partnership for Global Learning. You can download the matrix (pdf) here. The main competencies ar…
- Add Global Perspectives to your Google Search
When you are multilingual, you are used to the fact that news is being reported differently (from another point of view/perspective) in different countries. Before the Internet, you only knew this, when you were traveling between countries, spoke …
- Life in a Day on Planet Earth
Fascinating tribute to humans on planet Earth and our similarities and differences.
- Guide to Globally Connected Learning Flyer
Why Teach with Project-Based Learning?: Providing Students With a Well-Rounded Classroom Experience
Project-based learning helps students apply what they learn to real-life experiences and provides an all-around enriching education.
Project learning, also known as project-based learning, is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges, simultaneously developing cross-curriculum skills while working in small collaborative groups.
Because project-based learning is filled with active and engaged learning, it inspires students to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they’re studying. Research also indicates that students are more likely to retain the knowledge gained through this approach far more readily than through traditional textbook-centered learning. In addition, students develop confidence and self-direction as they move through both team-based and independent work.
In the process of completing their projects, students also hone their organizational and research skills, develop better communication with their peers and adults, and often work within their community while seeing the positive effect of their work.
Because students are evaluated on the basis of their projects, rather than on the comparatively narrow rubrics defined by exams, essays, and written reports, assessment of project-based work is often more meaningful to them. They quickly see how academic work can connect to real-life issues — and may even be inspired to pursue a career or engage in activism that relates to the project they developed.
Students also thrive on the greater flexibility of project learning. In addition to participating in traditional assessment, they might be evaluated on presentations to a community audience they have assiduously prepared for, informative tours of a local historical site based on their recently acquired expertise, or screening of a scripted film they have painstakingly produced.
Project learning is also an effective way to integrate technology into the curriculum. A typical project can easily accommodate computers and the Internet, as well as interactive whiteboards, global-positioning-system (GPS) devices, digital still cameras, video cameras, and associated editing equipment.
Adopting a project-learning approach in your classroom or school can invigorate your learning environment, energizing the curriculum with a real-world relevance and sparking students’ desire to explore, investigate, and understand their world. Return to our Project Learning page to learn more.
Best Practices in Project-Based Learning from Educon 2010
- well designed rubric - measure learning and guides learning
- reality based
- inductive not deductive
- open to further questioning
- certain set boundaries
- but give them enough time
- process and content
- outside mentor
- learn and retain
- application of knowledge
- ability to revisit
- work in progress
- room for reflection
- community involvement
- self evident
- no need to ask “why am I doing this?”
- depth over breadth
Why Teach with Project-Based Learning?
Project-based learning is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges. With this type of active and engaged learning, students are inspired to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they’re studying.
VIDEO: An Introduction to Project-Based Learning (3-minute video)
VIDEO: Project-Based Learning: An Overview (9-minute video)
Who Says You Can’t Replicate Another School’s Success?
In this package, we show you how a rural school district in northwest Georgia transformed the way its students learn, using the inspiration and mentorship provided by San Diego’s acclaimed High Tech High.
Oftentimes in education, the most inspiring models of excellence can seem the most difficult to emulate. The more innovative a school and outstanding its results, the more impossible replicating it looks to educators elsewhere who are struggling with challenging student populations, limited resources, and unimaginative administrations.
Replicating Project-Based Learning in Rural Georgia
Whitfield County Schools, Dalton, Georgia
To transfer the best practices of an acclaimed project-based learning school to a traditional school
North Whitfield Middle School enrollment: 810
Whitfield Career Academy enrollment: 575
North Whitfield Middle School certified teachers: 104
Whitfield Career Academy certified teachers: 35
66.23 % qualify for free or reduced-price lunch;
36.7% are Hispanic;
2.1% are black;
3.9% other race/ethnicity
Average state expenditure per pupil: $8,761
Average Whitfield County expenditure per pupil: $7,887
State graduation rate: 80.8%
Whitfield Career Academy graduation rate: 81.4%
There is a hardly a truer example of this than High Tech High, which Edutopia covered in-depth in 2008. The original textbook-free, nonprofit, public charter school — housed in a beautifully converted U.S. Navy training center in San Diego — is architecturally grand and educationally mold-breaking. Bolstered by a teaching culture that promotes constant collaboration and self-improvement, students there engage in rigorous projects with real-world impact, from building a fish pen to protect local white sea bass from avian predators to creating educational DVDs to benefit the local blood bank. Nearly 40 percent of the students come from low-income families, yet 99 percent of graduates go on to college.
You can almost hear the chorus of dedicated educators saying, “That’s nice for them, but I couldn’t possibly do that given the constraints at my school.”
This installment of Edutopia’s Schools That Work is here to say, “Yes, you can.”
Around the country, dozens of schools and districts are making dramatic changes based on High Tech High’s practices and are doing so at workaday, non-charter schools with major hurdles to overcome — far less-glamorous settings than High Tech High.
Teachers and administrators from these schools begin by visiting High Tech High for one of its three-day residencies, which the school offers three times a year. Then, once back home, they benefit from High Tech High’s continued mentoring by phone, email, and Skype or even by having the San Diego-based trainers visit their schools. Teachers can also access the wealth of free materials available on the charter school’s website.
The nonprofit school charges about $600 per person for its residencies (participants cover their own lodging and transportation), just enough to cover its expenses. The mission is to share best practices and learn from others.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road
Educators undergoing this transformation don’t expect their schools to emerge from it looking exactly like High Tech High. Every school has its own unique teachers, students, culture, history, and setting, and its path to change must uniquely match those. Yet the core design principles that shaped High Tech High — such as personalization, adult-world connections, a common intellectual mission, and teachers as designers — apply anywhere, and these are what guide the schools’ replication efforts.
“Those design principles are something that can be replicated even if you’re in a traditional school,” says Eric White, a teacher at Whitfield Career Academy, in Dalton, Georgia, where they are in their second year of shifting to High Tech High-style project-based learning. “You can give kids work that gives them choices. You can have high expectations for all your students. You can involve presentations and critiques and involve students in work that real adults do. There are no barriers to that, only perceived barriers.”
The work of replication is hard and messy, with steps forward and back. It requires educators — many of whom are accustomed to working in isolation — to band together, leave their comfort zones, and learn from one another’s mistakes and triumphs.
“I’ve never been so exhausted and yet so excited at the same time,” says White’s colleague, English teacher Lisa Barber. “I absolutely love what we do, and it makes me want to work harder at it.”
In this coverage, you’ll meet teachers and principals from Eric White and Lisa Barber’s school and from North Whitfield Middle School, two schools that are at different stages in their transitions to project-based learning. You’ll also find best practices, advice, and lessons they’ve learned through their efforts.
Whitfield County Schools, Dalton, Georgia
The Whitfield County Schools serve more than 13,000 students in a rural area in northwest Georgia where the primary industry is carpet making and 66 percent of pupils qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. In 2008, district leaders were looking for ways to modernize instruction and more keenly engage students when Whitfield Career Academy’s 47-year-old principal, Phillip Brown (who’s now principal at Coahulla Creek High School, which will open in August 2011), introduced them to High Tech High.
Brown took two groups of three teachers to training sessions at High Tech High. Struck by the San Diego students’ genuine engagement in their projects and eloquence in describing their own learning, the teachers came back to Georgia and presented what they’d learned to colleagues across the district. With that, the county’s five middle schools also decided to jump on board. Combining internal funds and outside grants, the interested schools cobbled together about $50,000 and sent 45 of their staff members to High Tech High.
The transformation to project-based learning formally began in fall 2009 in just grades 6 and 9. The principals set aside collaborative-planning time for teachers and gave them flexibility to shift their daily class schedules as needed to accommodate complex projects. Teachers started working together to design projects that blended multiple disciplines and allowed room for students to apply their individual interests and talents. Trainers from High Tech High and the Louisville, Kentucky-based Schlechty Center — a nonprofit devoted to building student engagement in classrooms — visited several times to coach them. The next fall, the seventh- and tenth-grade teachers joined the effort.
Today, daily life for the teachers and students involved has dramatically changed. Students still take some tests, but more often they participate in multidisciplinary projects ranging from writing and producing a scientifically based murder-mystery play to enacting a Japanese tea ceremony to building an outdoor classroom. The first time the Career Academy held a Presentation of Learning Night — a student-led showcase of projects (a concept from High Tech High) — a record-breaking 460 people attended. When the five middle schools held a joint Presentation of Learning event, an estimated 3,000 people came.
Teachers readily admit that they still have much room to improve; they need to weave state standards into projects, for instance, and win the hearts and minds of teachers in grades 8, 11, and 12 who have yet to make the change.
Yet teachers and students alike say they wouldn’t go back to the lecture/textbook style of old. “School used to be work sheets and a lot of tests,” says Liliann, a sophomore at the Career Academy. “Now, it’s more like you learn something and then you have to produce something meaningful from it. It’s actually more engaging, and it makes you want to learn.”
http://www.edutopia.org/big-list-project-learning Edutopia’s Big List About PBLearning