5 Secrets to Get Everyone on Board for Project Based Learning

We all want to have a positive experience during a project based learning unit, including students, fellow teachers, administration, and parents. In this post, I'll share 5 Secrets to Get Everyone on Board for Project Based Learning.

Title Image - 5 Secrets to Get Everyone on Board for Project Based Learning

During a project based learning unit, students become active rather than passive learners. Project based learning requires flexibility in your schedule, lots of planning, and opportunities for students to work in collaborative groups or teams. Through these real-world learning challenges, students develop 21st Century Learning Skills which prepare them for the future. Here are 5 of my secrets that will help you implement a successful pbl unit.

1. Student Buy-in

This is probably the most important part of the unit. Present the project in a way that students will want to dive in and become immersed into the unit. Invite a cool speaker, show a fun TED TALK, or bring in something that will spark your student engagement. Make sure that the project is relevant to the students' interests or a current problem that they feel passionate about. Some of my favorites are Open a Food Truck (which involves researching food from other countries), Design a Board Game (Students learn about the history and types of games), and Haunted House Estate Sale (Students plan, advertise, and use technology)

2. Involve Your Administration

Meet with your administration to give them details about the project. This will include your objectives, your schedule, speakers, field trips, and presentations. You can even find ways to get them involved in the unit. I've learned that an informed principal is a happy principal.

3. Include Parents

Some of my best speakers and experts during my units were parents. One of my parents was an inventor. He brought his notebook filled with his drawings and notes and talked about all of his inventions. Another parent was an architect. He designed movie theaters. My favorite was the beekeeper. He was perfect for my unit Save the Honey Bees. You'll be amazed at some of the interests and occupations of your parents. Plus, parents can help with cooperative groups, planning the presentations, and transportation for field trips.

photo of a parent volunteer or expert helping students during outdoor field trip.

4. Ask Other Teachers for Help

Your specials teachers have expertise in so many different areas. Our art teacher taught my students how to do stop-motion animation for their commercials, our drama teacher taught students how to present their projects and commercials in a professional manner. Our librarian and other teammates helped with the inquiry process. Try tapping into your own resources. There's a wealth of information in your school.

5. Embed Curriculum Standards

Don't forget about important standards you need to cover. With project based learning, you can differentiate learning and cover important skills that need to be taught. Through hands-on and student-centered learning, your students will be eager to explore more about the topic. They won't be unmotivated like they sometimes are with paper and pencil activities.

If you're thinking about implementing project based learning this year, take a look at my units in Teachers Pay Teachers Store or informational blog posts about project based learning.

I have 5 secrets to getting everyone on board in implementing a successful project based learning unit in your classroom. These ideas focus on your elementary students, parents, administration, and teachers. #pbl

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