Top Google search results for "School Projects" returns Pinterest pages of 25 best projects and plenty of science fair projects. Image searches are full of planet models, tri-fold boards, and dioramas. In contrast, ask someone in the business world what they think of when they think of the word project, and you might get a much different answer.
With the rise of Project Based Learning (PBL), we often see much confusion about what it is, and what it isn't. PBL, Genius Hour, Projects, Service Learning - these are all terms that might be discussed during PLCs, conferences, on Twitter chats, and explored through countless professional readings in the form of books, research papers and blogs.
Designing PBL? Check out some of the Basics:
From format, to planning, to collaboration, to integrating technology in a mindful way, there's a lot to consider before the project begins.
When designing a PBL experience for your students, it is important to plan ahead, develop your assessments, project calendar and expectations ahead of the project. BIE has a number of incredible planning tools to help you do that, and you can find excellent ideas at Teach Thought and Edutopia.
A simple planner I have had success with can be found as a Google Slides file. Choose to copy the document to your Google Drive, and you will be able to add text boxes and information where appropriate.
Managing the Project in Progress
When it comes to extended inquiry, having a plan for how students will conduct the research, and how they will synthesize it into a project can be aided by formats such as the: Super 3 (appropriate for grades K-2), Big 6 Research (appropriate for grades 3-6), and Guided Inquiry Design (grades 6 and up). You can encourage students to design their projects using design thinking. Check out resources from Stanford's d.School or I have developed a model that can be used with elementary students called ICE -Imagine, Create, Evaluate.
You might consider setting up a self serve area in your classroom that has research sheets, graphic organizers and project materials available.
I have found that using these models is often best supported by putting together a project website, or providing steps and resources on an LMS or using a Digital Interactive Notebook. You can check out this "generic" project notebook by clicking [here] and saving a copy to your Google Drive.
What technology tools or tips and tricks do you have for keeping a project organized and moving forward?
There are some great resource out there if you need ideas for projects. Be sure to see BIE's searchable database or Teach Thought's "A Better List of Ideas for Project Based Learning".
For elementary teachers, you can find ideas that I've tested by searching PBL on this blog or the PBL posts on FTISEdTEch Blog