Skip to main content
Create interactive lessons using any digital content including wikis with our free sister product
. Get it on the
Pages and Files
All personally-generated materials on this website, PBL-WL and my other website, Project-Based Language-Learning,
are licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Based on a work at
21st Century Learning
Important Documents for Reference
What is PBL?
Articles on PBL
PBL on Storify
Resources on PBL
Videos on PBL
The Digital Classroom
The Flipped Classroom
Tech Tools for Education
The 4 C's - 21st Century Skills of PBL
PBL-WL Project Ideas
Project ideas for novice
Project ideas for intermediate
Project ideas for advanced
What Students will do next
Helping Students Find Their Writer’s Voice
by John McCarthy
Three exercises t...
The Student-Centered Math Class
by Laura Wheeler
Transform your ma...
New Times Call for a New Civics
by Holly Korbey
After decades of ...
A Content-Rich Maker Project
by Sam Patterson
The Big List of Educational Grants and Resources
Get a roundup of ...
What Autism Can Look Like
by Elizabeth W. Barnes
Autism can be con...
Using Math Apps to Increase Understanding
by Monica Burns
These 10 free or ...
by Ben Johnson
Why encouraging s...
Climb Aboard: School Buses Reimagined
by Emelina Minero
Hooking the Youngest Students on History
by Matthew James Friday
Use storytelling ...
Flashback to 2000: Classroom Tech That Doesn’t Exist Anymore
Saving for College: Tech Edition
Calling All Educators: What Do You Care About?
5 Biggest Barriers to Education Technology
Is Technology Holding Students Back?
Which Learning Style Works For You?
10 Skills Modern Teachers Need
Don’t Weep for Public Education Just Yet
Teaching Students Good Digital Citizenship
Podcasts and the Classroom
21st Century Skills
digital story telling
project based learning
web 2.0 tools
The Essentials of Project-Based Learning
The 8 Essentials of PBL:
1) Key Knowledge and Understanding
& Success Skills
2) Challenging Problem or Question
3) Sustained Inquiry
5) Student voice and choice
7) Critique and Revision
8) A Publicly presented product
Essential Project Design Elements
Project-based Teaching practices
1) Key Knowledge and Understanding
& Success Skills
2) Design & Plan
3) Align to Standards
4) Build the Culture
5) Manage Activities
6) Scaffold Student learning
7) Assess Student Learning
8) Engage and Coach
In project-based language-learning, or PBLL,
how would these teaching practices look?
How can we stay in the target language?
How can we scaffold language-acquisition for students?
What does it look like to be a coach and guide in a language class?
What other questions come to mind?
to download this file
100 Sample World
On driving questions:
What is a Driving Question? A Driving Question is like a road map that will help students determine how they will reach their destination in a project. However, just like roads may lead us in different directions, a well-written driving question will not have a prescribed path that students must take. A good driving question captures the project’s main focus. It is open-ended, challenging, and linked to the core knowledge, skills, and understanding that students must gain in the project.
Create your own Playlist on
April 2011 shadowing foundations of pbl
Vintage High School
Know - Need to Know
- a Storify document from [[#|#pblchat]] on how to keep K/NTK fresh and enagaging
PBL Professional Development Guide
or click this
to get it all!
On Edutopia WL Community Forum, 5 September, 2011
PBL and Culture
Our latest discussion on [[#|#langchat]] on Twitter focused on how to incorporate culture into projects. It was a lively and interesting discussion! If you have not yet joined us on [[#|#langchat]], you are missing out. I welcome your participation in our PLN (professional learning network). We meet on Twitter from 5-6 pm Pacific Time each Thursday (8-9 Eastern, 7-8 Central, 6-7 Mountain Time). There are several regulars, and many visitors from week to week. I have the privilege of working with 3 other WL teachers to moderate each week, but I can guarantee you that we each feel like we learn far more than we contribute each week. My many thanks to Sara, Erica and Diego who are not only great colleagues, but have become dear friends! Please join us!
Now, what about the topic from last week? I was digging around and wanted to resurface some key elements to what constitutes a fully developed, 21st century project. There are 7 components to this model, developed through the work at the Buck Institue for PBL (
). There is a good article here:
. According to this model, a fully developped, rigorous project, includes aech of the following elements:
A driving question - these questions need to be carefully crafted to be open ended, and yet give direction for inquiry. Cultural questions, not merely surface level ones, but deeper cultural viewpoints and values, are excellent starters for such questions. For example: what do "target culture" individuals/people groups believe is important about ? You would insert the topic into the frame, and change "target culture" to your own focus for students in your language class. For example, in my level 3 French classes, we do an in-depth study of Francophone Canada in the Spring, and some of of our driving questions are: "What do French-speaking Canadians believe about their own distinct cultural identity within Canada? How are their values expressed in their literature, their institutions, and the ways they express their identity to each other and to the rest of Canada? What means do they use to express these distinctives?" I know this may seem like a daunting set of questions, but believe me, beyond the questions lie some amazing opportunities for inquiry which in turn have led to some amazing student projects! The students have really risen to the challenges presented with such questions!
A need to know - this naturally flows out of the driving question if it is crafted correctly. Given the driving question, students should have some sense of where they are going with their inquiry. They will need coaching to think it through, to look for good sources, and to manage their time and work. This is the teacher's role - coach, guide, reflective questioner... I have found this to be a fun way to teach, especially when I see so much evidence of higher level thinking and learning. It is a challenge to remain in the target language, but I do stick to French, and use many tools to support my students. I use the Promethean board extensively to demonstrate good search techniques, where to go, what vocabulary to use. I also keep favourite links on a class wiki where students can find them readily, including on-line dictionaries (for both standard French and for Canadian French in this case), on-line language tools (like CAVILAM in Vichy), and videos any of us have found and want to share. The wikispace supports our collaboration, another 21st Century skill!
Student voice and choice - I like to give students the opportunity to choose the platforms they want to use to demonstrate their learning. They may choose to do a video, a slide show, or create a wiki... no matter what, I want them to demonstrate both written and spoken French in response to what they have read and heard in their research. They have choice within a framework.
21st-century skills - since we live in the 21st Century, this makes sense, doesn't it? I want students to use technology to do their research, and I give them opportunities to use technology to demonstrate what they have learned. There is a caveat here, however. I am not keen on using technology simply to use technology! Tech is a great support to learning, and can be great fun to show acquired learning and skills, but the tech is not the end point in itself. It is a tool, and insofar as it supports what we seek to accomplish, I am keen to use it. I let the kids be as creative as they want, but the standards for my course are based on linguistic proficiencies and cross-cultural competencies, not technological prowess !
Inquiry and innovation - this is one of the most important outcomes of this model - students, as they work together, will need to learn how to solve problems, where to look for good information, how to distinguish good information from bad, how to confirm their hypothesis before coming to conclusions, how to test those conclusions, and more. It is a big help to pair a class with another one in the target language culture. This adds another dimension to learning which is of inestimable value!
Feedback and revision - students need help to develop critical thinking and the ability to offer constructive criticism for improvement of their group's project. They will need a protocol for scaffolding their discussions. It is important to teach students how to offer critique, and to provide sentence starters in the target language to help them stay in L2 as much as possible.
A publicly presented product - for the model to be complete, students must actually produce something that can be viewed and understood by another group, an audience, a community member, and in my case, who is Francophone, since the product will be in French. Luckily, we have access to a fairly large French-speaking community here in Napa Valley! In addition, I like to include parents when possible as well, and when they do not speak French, I ask the students to provide an outline in their parents' language (usually English and/or Spanish in our area), so they can follow the presentation in some manner. They also have opportunity to offer feedback and comments on the outline which they return to the students. This approach has been well received by both parents and students.
I have found the PBL model allows much room for the incorporation of culture. In fact, the culture actually lies at the heart of the project, so it is naturally embedded! The language outcomes are then shaped by the need to know. Students learn the language of study in connection with the cultures of the people who speak the language they are studying. Both vocabulary and linguistic structures are more authentically acquired as students listen and read in the other language whilst doing their research and inquiry. They practice speaking and writing as they interact with their group, the teacher and others as needed. I know it seems challenging, and I am sure, if you are reading this, you must have a billion and one questions, so why not respond by listing the questions in the reply box below. I will suggest all your questions to my [[#|#langchat]] team members for possible future chats, and will seek to answer them here in this forum as well. I welcome your questions!
If you would like to see more on this topic, let me recommend the summary of our discussion at this link, on my team mate Erica's blogsite:
I would also like to recommend to you our [[#|#langchat]] wiki at:
One more! I have started a WL PBL wiki for teachers who would like to share project ideas. The site is new, and there are not yet many things posted, but you may enjoy collaborating with me and several others who have already joined, in creating PBL model projects for WL students using this approach! Here is the link:
Until next time,
help on how to format text
Turn off "Getting Started"