It’s that time of year again for many (most?) of us in the K-12 world of the United States to deal with standardized testing.

And there are many teachers who have been waiting until “that test is over” to start a pbl project.

There are some of you who can’t see past the test that is approaching. I understand. But post-test can be the perfect time to knock out a project. And, therefore, now is the perfect time to start planning for that project that will put you and your students on the WOW end of the spectrum. You can do it and there are many of us out here willing to help you on your path forward.

So where do you start with the planning? Content, content, content. What things did you want your students to learn this year? Is there something that you know your students didn’t learn at the requisite level? Maybe there’s something that they were supposed to learn that you or the students really enjoyed and the topic is perfect for going deeper in their learning? Maybe there is something that they will need to know for the next school year and you might want them to explore it now?

If you are looking for project ideas I have two places you can go, right now, to see projects that might spark you imagination.

First place, of course I’m a little biased, is the BIE website. Look under the Resources Tab and you will see this:

In the Project Search area you can find hundreds of projects that teachers have uploaded. Although I tell teachers to NEVER use a project exactly as written, there is nothing wrong in looking over a project to whet your appetite. While you are in the Resources Tab, go to the Project Planner and do all of your planning in one place.

If you need more ideas for projects I always recommend High Tech High . Their list of projects (under the Project Tab, of course) is quite extensive.

Project planning can be a chore and, if you are new to pbl, it can be somewhat daunting. Don’t do it alone. Enlist your fellow content teachers or a friend to help with brainstorming project ideas. And, even better, ask your district or school literacy coaches, instructional coaches, or curriculum specialists to help.

To be successful, you MUST take the time, up front, to get every day mapped out. Only then will you be able to feel comfortable and confident with the daily flow within you classroom. And, only then, will you have the time to work closely with individual groups of students.

When your students present what they have accomplished to a group of professionals and they are answering questions and engaging in conversations with these professionals, that time you spent up front will seem like nothing. But you will be everything to your students.

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