Project-Based Learning Professional Development (part 3): The Workshop Model

teachers collaborating

This post is the final of three installments that describe the three project-based learning (PBL) professional development sessions I facilitated for our Innovate Salisbury team, a team of 15 teachers engaging with building leaders, district leaders, and other experts/thought leaders to help shape the vision for teaching and learning in our classrooms…To read more about Innovate Salisbury, take a look at this Edutopia article I collaborated on with my Superintendent, Randy Ziegenfuss (@ziegeran), and Assistant Superintendent, Lynn Fuini-Hetten (@lfuinihetten).

The first PBL session was more of a general overview of PBL. The second session contained a module in which teachers, playing the role of students, designed student-created rubrics for a PBL unit on opinions and arguments.

The Third Session

The third session followed a workshop model in which teachers spent the majority of the time working on this template, which was adapted from the Buck Institute for Education. (Just in case, here’s a PDF version.) While the work was taking place, teachers were able to rely on each other and/or administrators for support.

For the template, I (1) recreated the Buck Institute’s planning form as a Google Doc, (2) inserted a separate table towards the beginning of the doc in which teachers can first brainstorm their projects according the Buck Institute’s seven essential design project elements, and (3) hyperlinked the heck out of everything to provide teachers with resources they can use when filling out the template. For example, the driving question section of the planning form links to a Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe video on how to generate essential questions…After everything was created, my Assistant Superintendent and I worked together on incorporating steps/additional scaffolding to support teachers even further.

Also, here is our PBL website, which contains all the resources used throughout the three professional development sessions.

In the End

Although these three sessions didn’t provide us with enough time to examine PBL as extensively as we would have liked, I do believe we laid a solid foundation for future learning. We plan to make PBL a priority for district professional development, starting with a book study this summer.

What are you thoughts on our PBL session(s)? What kind of PBL professional development have you found to be the most beneficial?

Connect with Ross on his blog and on Twitter.

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