I’ve been asked to present and coach teachers at the Elementary and Middle School level on how to get started with PBL.  That topic, (How to Get Started…), has been shared with me through many meaningful professional developments with the New Tech Network.  I have also read books by the Buck Institute, read great blogposts by teachers living it, and I have talked with teachers at conferences and via Twitter.

     Now I want to ask my PLN/PLC (excuse me while I make faces but the whole “Let me check my PLN” has really been overused in the last 4 years that I’ve been on Twitter).  So, in the comment section below, leave a comment and tell me what’s different about teaching PBL at the Elementary or Middle School level.  

     Does PBL look differently at the Pre-K to 2 level than it does at the 3 – 5 level?  I think it should, but what specifically do you do?  And, is there a difference between the 6th grade and the 8th grade when it comes to PBL?  Again, having taught both 6th and 8th grade, there are big maturity differences between these two grades – so there should (I think) be differences in how you do PBL.

     When I have heard from enough people I’ll write a blog post and get these ideas gathered in one spot.  Thank you, in advance, for your thoughts and comments.

7 Responses

  1. I have done PBL primarily with 7th grade, and my biggest concern is always to what degree the students are going to be able to understand the materials that they are expected to learn on their own. I teach Judaic Studies, and while my students are more or less capable of working their way through Hebrew materials (with or without translations), there are still concepts involved that they need appropriately scaffolded materials so that they can fully understand. I would say that after the task of deciding on an appropriate project, I spend most of my time and efforts on material selection and constructing exercises, feedback, assessments that have the students keeping my informed as to how well they are understanding the materials.

    You can read more of my PBL adventures at (check the archvies for the PBL entries).

    1. Thank you for the reply and I look forward to adding your blog to my list of blogs to read. It sounds like you have similar issues to 9th graders coming to our school who are not used to the PBL environment. We need to be active listeners to what they are saying and what they are doing so we can know when to insert appropriate scaffolding. Thanks again.

    2. Forgot to ask if you have participated in #pblchat. We get together at 9 PM Eastern time on Tuesdays. Thank you again for your comment.

  2. I teach pbl with 2nd graders and I struggle to find research materials they can read. Our skills and our content are many times one in the same. We can specifically focus on collaboration and communication skills easier because we have them all day and it also makes it easier to have interdisciplinary projects. I've done some similar training to what you are about to do if you want to talk more.


  3. Great to add you to people to get in touch with. I've added you on twitter and have you participated in #pblchat on Tuesday nights? It's at 9 PM (Eastern). The idea of research with kids below the age of 10 has me struggling to get my head around. I'll DM you if I want to follow up on any questions. Thank you for the offer.

  4. I teach 1st grade and PBL. One of the most important things I see when setting up a pbl school is to make sure the language is fluid from k to 12. Our school has chosen to use the same language as new tech since our high school is in the program. We use the same terms but more kid friendly definitions and photos. The language stays the same though. It will make it easier for teachers and parents. Our principal did a great job of allowing our teachers to have feedback of how our school should look and be set up. She created an advisory board with a teacher from each grade level. It gave the teachers a "buy in" and voice…..hmmm sounds just like pbl. :). Also think that before a school should jump in wall to walk pbl they really need to a strong foundation of their standards and a pacing guide. It will keep the teachers much more accountable to the material. Yea I love PBL!

  5. This is my second shot at posting this comment but thank you for your comments and I Love the idea of making sure terminology is consistent K-12. Sounds like you have a great principal and I hope you can join us Tuesday nights for #pblchat.

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