Cary Colt Weekly Agenda

2nd Wk of the 3rd Six Weeks Nov. 17-21, 2014 & KUDOS



It is time to complete the STAR chart. We will discuss this briefly during our meeting on Thursday, but you can start asking around. This information is sent directly to TEA, and it describes our ability to work with technology. Luckily, we are all fairly savvy. Please, see Mr. Bryant Shaw with any questions on who to get started. He is our STAR man. (Someone told me earlier in the year, "Mr. Shaw is shiny!" I feel STAR chart man is the perfect position for him.)

Colt's Weekly Agenda

Monday, Nov. 17

You should have 2 grades in per child by Friday.

8th grade basketball against Walker at Thomas Jefferson 6pm

Lesson plans should be in your lesson plan binder by 8am every Monday.

Tuesday, Nov. 18

Read chapter 2 Engaging Students (Jensen)

Wednesday, Nov. 19th

NO FACULT MEETING (Work on your common assessment data)

Soccer vs. Franklin (Franklin Field) *It won't be as cold 6pm

Thursday, Nov. 20th

DDI Workshop

7th basketball vs. Marsh at White

PLC in room 105 bring all common assessment data.

Friday, Nov. 21st

Wear jeans if you have been in attendance all week.

Upcoming: Tuesday, November 25th Luncheon (Room 123)

We will have another fun luncheon on Tuesday, Nov. 25th. This is a short week, so save up your appetite. This one will be catered as our THANK YOU TO OUR ENTIRE FACULT for all you do for our students. Thank you.

We appreciate the time and thoughtful effort you put in to your job.

Project-Based Learning Research Review

Vanessa Vega

Former Edutopia Senior Manager of Research

DECEMBER 3, 2012


  1. Introduction and Learning Outcomes
  2. Evidence-Based Components of Success
  3. Best Practices Across Disciplines
  4. Avoiding Pitfalls
  5. Annotated Bibliography

Studies have proven that when implemented well, project-based learning (PBL) can increase retention of content and improve students' attitudes towards learning, among other benefits. Edutopia's PBL research review explores the vast body of research on the topic and helps make sense of the results. In this series of five articles, learn how researchers define project-based learning, review some of the possible learning outcomes, get our recommendations of evidence-based components for successful PBL, learn about best practices across disciplines, find tips for avoiding pitfalls when implementing PBL programs, and dig in to a comprehensive annotated bibliography with links to all the studies and reports cited in these pages.

Schools That Work:

Middle school science students work on a project with their teacher (left), and a boy identifies the parts of a fish before painting it to make a Japanese-style gyotaku print (right). Learn more about this school.

Credit: Grace Rubenstein

What is Project-Based Learning?

Project-based learning hails from a tradition of pedagogy which asserts that students learn best by experiencing and solving real-world problems. According to researchers (Barron & Darling-Hammond, 2008; Thomas, 2000), project-based learning essentially involves the following:

  • students learning knowledge to tackle realistic problems as they would be solved in the real world
  • increased student control over his or her learning
  • teachers serving as coaches and facilitators of inquiry and reflection
  • students (usually, but not always) working in pairs or groups

Teachers can create real-world problem-solving situations by designing questions and tasks that correspond to two different frameworks of inquiry-based teaching: Problem-based learning, which tackles a problem but doesn't necessarily include a student project, and project-based learning, which involves a complex task and some form of student presentation, and/or creating an actual product or artifact.

These inquiry-based teaching methods engage students in creating, questioning, and revising knowledge, while developing their skills in critical thinking, collaboration, communication, reasoning, synthesis, and resilience (Barron & Darling-Hammond, 2008). Although these methods of inquiry-based teaching differ slightly, for simplicity they're combined in these pages and referred to as project-based learning or PBL.

Learning Outcomes

Studies comparing learning outcomes for students taught via project-based learning versus traditional instruction show that when implemented well, PBL increases long-term retention of content, helps students perform as well as or better than traditional learners in high-stakes tests, improves problem-solving and collaboration skills, and improves students' attitudes towards learning (Strobel & van Barneveld, 2009; Walker & Leary, 2009). PBL can also provide an effective model for whole-school reform (National Clearinghouse for Comprehensive School Reform, 2004; Newmann & Wehlage, 1995).

Keys to Project-Based Learning Success

Researchers have identified several components that are critical to successful PBL (Barron & Darling-Hammond, 2008; Ertmer & Simons, 2005; Mergendoller & Thomas, 2005; Hung, 2008). While project-based learning has been criticized in the past for not being rigorous enough, the following features will greatly improve the chances of a project's success:

  1. A realistic problem or project
    • aligns with students' skills and interests
    • requires learning clearly defined content and skills (e.g. using rubrics, or exemplars from local professionals and students)
  2. Structured group work
    • groups of three to four students, with diverse skill levels and interdependent roles
    • team rewards
    • individual accountability, based on student growth
  3. Multi-faceted assessment
    • multiple opportunities for students to receive feedback and revise their work (e.g., benchmarks, reflective activities)
    • multiple learning outcomes (e.g., problem-solving, content, collaboration)
    • presentations that encourage participation and signal social value (e.g. exhibitions, portfolios, performances, reports)
  4. Participation in a professional learning network
    • collaborating and reflecting upon PBL experiences in the classroom with colleagues
    • courses in inquiry-based teaching methods

You will find much greater detail on these four key components, along with step-by-step instructions on how to put them into place, in the next section.

Continue to the next section of the PBL research review, Evidence-Based Components of Success.

Kudos Around Cary

  • Kudos on the direct, true compliments from our PSP (TEA monitor). She sees many, many, many schools and was able to tour Cary. As a former middle school principal, she was able to pick up on the small things. She noted that we were on our way and learning was obvious. I just shared we had a 100% training, and she heard the language as she walked. She watched teachers talk to students during passing period. (You cannot fake rapport) She observed teaching. She was able to see Mr. Morris in the process of a DOL and note we are following DISD guidelines.
  • Kudos Ms. Coleman and Ms. McMillin for exploring options for our over-age students!
  • Kudos to Ms. Mancias for reaching out to students in need, while keeping it real and positive...
  • Kudos to Mr. Vela, Ms.Davis and Mr. Goodroe for insisting on 100%. It will get better. You will break them. It will work. :) Smile and keep expecting.
  • Kudos to Mr. Wood for sitting and talking to our parent volunteer during one of the scariest movies ever made, making her feel welcome.
  • Kudos to Megamind for figuring out how to get the movie started. I appreciate Mr. Goodroe driving from Keller to start the movie!
  • Kudos to Ms. Mancias, Ms. Hull, Ms. Lewis, and Mr. Wood for creating an amazing Saturday night for our students. (And Logan for the saltiest popcorn in Texas.)
  • Kudos to the basketball team for showing great effort and winning.
  • Kudos to Ms. Fuentes, Ms. Limon and Sgt. Atkinson for setting up the Veterans Day display
  • Kudos on the 3 week of duty!! We appreciate your help!!!
  • Kudos to Mr. Rico and Ms. Escobedo for calling students and helping to keep our students in the loop on progress. It makes a HUGE difference!
  • Kudos to Ms. Moreno for keeping Mr. B. Shaw with subs/attendance and Ms. Vaughan with calendar items. We would probably be at Starbucks without you!!!!
  • Kudos to Ms. Siguenza for setting up the Region 10 training, always reading my mind and bringing exotic donuts on Saturday. I adore that you love literacy one centimeter more than me. (S. Vaughan) (B. Shaw added the donuts)
  • Kudos to Ms. Cordero for making hot chocolate for 175 students (literally) and opening her room up in the morning to anyone.
  • Kudos to Ms. Davis for tutoring her students each morning. SS was a hard sale for me in middle school. :) Keep moving!
  • Kudos to Ms. McCafferty on the awesome anchor charts.
  • Kudos to Mr. Hudson on your coaching of Treshon. We think he is ready for 8th now. You did great!!!!
  • Kudos to Condreau, Goodroe, Mancias and Hudson for Open Gym.
  • Kudos to Patterson, Cordero, Ramirez, Leaonard, Shaw, Fernandes (Our ENTIRE SPED TEAM) and Dittert for attending the Saturday training. Way to take time out!!!!!
  • Kudos to Ms. Martinez for introducing students to writing clues like CUPS and FANBOYS, which will help later to anchor their writing and making learning fun.
  • Kudos to Mr. Delarosa for making learning relevant. Your student reports on Ebola are both informative and timely.
  • Kudos to Ms. H for using data to make her decisions.
  • Kudos to Mr. Bauer, Mr. Webb, Ms. Collins and Mr. Morris for their flexibility! Ms. Collins for being on another committee without a complaint.
  • Kudos to Siri Smith for her patience and her willingness to help.
  • Kudos to 6th for working as a team.
  • Kudos to Ms. Coney for teaching students to think creatively. (Art was my love and I have not seen true art coming out of an art classroom since I first started teaching. I am seeing art. I am so proud!)
  • Kudos to Ms. Akins for her lightning quick corrections and ability to create music with this group of precious students. It is coming together!!!
  • Kudos to Ms. Mccafferty and Mr. Hudson for taking students from the concrete to the abstract and effectively using manipulatives. Proud of your growth and our students.
  • Kudos to Ms. Hinojosa and the counselors for cleaning the FATAL ERROR reports Ms. Vaughan keeps getting. It was nice of you to clear it.
  • Kudos to Mr. Bauer and Mr. Webb for using friendly competition in their classroom.
  • Kudos to Hull and Lewis for planning like there is no tomorrow and coaching too.
  • Kudos to Ms. Roberts for teaching our students each and every day using the lesson cycle. It works.