The Secret To Doing PBL in a Real School OK, so I got your attention and you came to read this because of the title of the post. Well, to be honest, if you understand PBL and the inquiry process there isn’t any secret to making it happen in a “large comprehensive middle school” like mine. And I can tell you what needs […]

The Ninth Essential Element of PBL I am about to work in my last co-facilitation with the Buck Institute for Education ( doing what they call a PBL 101. A basic, 3-day, course in the planning, managing and assessing of a PBL project. Within a project most people can agree that there are certain items that make it successful and […]

Consistency Is The Key When I am asked about PBL and “how to do it” I often run across teachers who are worried that they won’t be able to do their normal classroom procedures. This can’t be further from the truth. Unless, of course, their normal classroom procedures aren’t grounded in best practices. Then I’m hoping they do […]

April Fool’s Day and PBL A couple of years ago a co-teacher and I held a project where students had to create a prank on one of the teachers or administrators. They needed to fill a room, drawer, cabinet, locker, car, etc with items as a prank. The winning group would be allowed to pull off the prank. The […]

“Doing PBL” Isn’t Automatic I’ve been meeting with my 6th grade science teachers in the last few weeks as they get ready to start a project. We’ve looked at the standards that they want to cover and brainstormed scenarios. What I’ve discovered, as a first year instructional coach, is that some of my teachers need more help than […]

Fighting the Education Reform Battle

A Guest Post by Steven Zipkes, founding Principal/Director at Manor New Technology High School in Manor Texas (Originally posted on Facebook – February 20, 2013 )     My head hurts from constantly fighting the educational reform battle. It is not about extending the school day, or mandatory Saturday school, nor selecting the “right”students or […]

PBL Should Not be Done in A Vacuum One of the most important skills students learn in PBL is collaboration.  It only follows that PBL teachers work best when they collaborate with their fellow teachers; with their friends; with their family; with social media friends; or with their students. Each phase of the project planning works best with a partner.  For example, […]

Power Standards to Project Planning

At Decker Middle School we are using a Power Standards Protocol to choose those state standards that have the most bang for the buck.  Since we are in Texas we don’t need no stinkin Common Core Standards, but you could do the same thing with those standards. So, you’ve selected your power standards and you […]

NST12 Wrap UP      Whenever you can attend a conference or training and feel exhausted ( not from drinking too much but ) from thinking too much then you have gotten your monies worth.  An obvious conference for me is Educon where you spend the day discussing educational topics.  The problem is that these conversations can […]

How Do You Create a School (Part 2 of 2)    (Part 2 of 2)     As I said in the first part,  what we want the new school to be doesn’t exist and the teachers, administrators, and I have the chance to mold the school in whatever fashion we desire.  And, I am a teacher who has been trained by the New Tech […]