PBL. Is it really for me?

Designing "The Road to the Revolutionary War" through PBL

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Designing a Plan for a Desired Outcome

Do you ever feel that you are working harder than your students? Want to have your students synthesize their learning while providing them purposeful work? PBL is the answer, but first you have to have a question. What is it you hope the students to accomplish? I wanted several things out of my PBL unit.
I designed a PBL unit that integrated ELA, Social Studies, Art, P.E., and provided the opportinuty to invite professionals into the school from our community to share their expertise. The end result from the students was not only active engagement and increased unit test scores, but ownership and personal responsibility in their product.

Giving ownership to the students

PBL allowed me to work, unscripted, with my students, meeting them where there are as learners, and building upon that foundation. The PBL format provided students opportunity to discuss, write, revise and perform the topics being covered in social studies over the Revolutionary War. My overall assessment at the conclusion of the unit, was that the student engagement truly increased as did their personal responsibility in their own learning. They became the expert on their topics, and performed their work for over 400 people. Lastly, I noticed that PBL drastically impacted their desire to produce a higher quality of work.

An unexpected tribute to their hard work

When the production made it onto the front page of the newspaper, the students couldn't beleive it! Seeing their faces light as they read the article was an amazing feeling. The students knew this was their hard work that was being reconized outside of the school building.

How is PBL different from traditional teaching?

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Hannah and Kayleigh

5th graders presentation of: The Road the Revolution

Student creativity, student responsibility, and student buy-in

Road to the Revolution

Still not convinced?

These results spoke volumes to me about how important student engagement is when asking students to dig deeper.
I am already planning my next PBL unit, and would like to work with other educators to create meaningful outlet for students. Please contact me if you have any questions about my unit, or if you have an idea you would like to share with me. You can clearly see how benificial PBL was to my students.
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