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Project Planning

Page history last edited by Don Doehla 7 years, 3 months ago


Ask yourself...

  • Who beyond the class would be interested in the solution?
  • What content must be addressed in all student presentations?
  • When should students meet to plan and prepare answers/presentations?
  • Where can students find more information in the target language?
  • Why would the final product be in the target language?
  • How can students present to that audience? (e.g. Skype, website, evening event, class time)



Essential elements

(See also Don Doehla's breakdown here):


BIE.org posits 8 essential elements to Project-based learning. They are:

The 8 Essentials of PBL:

1) Teaches Significant Content

2) 21st Century Skills

3) A driving question

4) In-Depth Inquiry

5) A need to know

6) Student voice and choice

7) Revision and Reflection

8) A Publicly presented product



Use this flow chart for macro-planning - ie, an overview


PBL for WL.pdf

This is a presentation I did at a state WL teachers' conference on PBL-WL - lots of details about how to create a PBL-aligned unit for WL.


PBL WL Planner and Project Overview.doc

Use this planning template to guide the preparation of a detailed  PBL-aligned project with all eight elements.


I have found this chart from BIE to be very helpful in thinking through what make a Project-based learning unit truly PBL and not just a project.

















































Driving Question

This should be a question with no single right or wrong answer, somewhat open to interpretation. It should be one that students care about finding the answer to and have the tools to form an answer of their own by the end of the unit.

Add to your own Driving Questions to our list!


Entry Event

One of the hardest things to do is get your class excited about the topic. Science teachers like to recreate a bloody crime scene, for example (this generates the interest, but is not as authentic as tasks get). Other things you could do to let your students know this is "for real" is invite a guest speaker from the community to present a problem theyactually need addressed (or, if need be, pretend to need addressed for your sake--though they might find they like the solutions when all is said and done!). Failing a warm body, letters can work: I've had former students in the medical field, for example, write to students about what they would want in an app for quick translating in an emergency. Truly engaging videos can also do in a pinch, or controversial readings.



Need-to-Know Questions

These are largely up to the students to provide, but it's up to you to anticipate what they could/should be, if only for the sake of maintaining target language interactions. These should help students decide the direction of their research as well as their presentations to the real-world audience.

Some of my suggestions on how to keep Need-to-Know in the TL


Real-World Audience

Let's face it: we're probably the most boring audiences that students can ever hope to appeal to. Having someone who is expecting to witness the results of students' efforts is WAY more motivating than any number or letter grade could be. Also, if we have a problem worth solving, there should be someone besides us who wants to know the answer! Ask around the community, with local Latino organizations or ESL classes for Spanish teachers, for example. Make some connections on Edmodo, Schoology, Twitter, Skype, or Facebook for international audiences! Call up your friends, old classmates and professors, who've been abroad.



How often can you successfully pull off a project without getting someone else to help you out along the way, be it a school project, a district initiative, a church event, or even a home project? OK, maybe you are extra awesome and do it all the time, but most of us don't go it alone. Collaboration is also one of THE most critical skills according to surveys of 21st century employers. So we, as educators, must equip our students to do it effectively. What's more, what better opportunity for authentic interpersonal exchanges? Keeping these exchanges in the target language is pretty tricky, but we're working on developing materials to help that happen. Also consider adapting some of BIE's collaboration materials to facilitate collaboration among your students.

Materials will be made available in the Google Drive PBL folder.



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