6 episodes

The Project brings you conversations and interviews about educators' experiences with Project-Based Learning.

The Project PBLWorks

    • Education
    • 4.6 • 9 Ratings

The Project brings you conversations and interviews about educators' experiences with Project-Based Learning.

    Don’t Send a Professional to Do An 8th Grader’s Job, with Ron Berger

    Don’t Send a Professional to Do An 8th Grader’s Job, with Ron Berger

    Joining The Project in this episode is Rob Berger, the Chief Academic Officer for EL Education.
     
    EL Education guides a network of over 150 public schools in more than 30 states. It’s an organization that partners with districts and charter boards to found public schools in low-income communities in order to send all graduates to college.
     
    Ron works closely with the Harvard Graduate School of Education (where he did his graduate work) and teaches a course that uses exemplary student project work to illuminate standards. He is also the author of six books including, An Ethic of Excellence: Building a Culture of Craftsmanship with Students and A Culture of Quality: A Reflection on Practice.
     
    In this episode, Ron speaks about powerful PBL projects he has worked on with students and their communities, including an 8th grade science project that prompted a town to invest $156K in energy renovations of its schools. He details what made them so impactful and how these projects helped prepare students for their real lives. Ron also shares some practical steps that new PBL teachers can take towards creating authentic learning experiences, the importance of building strong student/adult relationships, and his response to those that say PBL is not for everyone.
     
    Key Takeaways:
    [:32] About today’s featured guest, Ron Berger!
    [1:36] A clip from Ron’s keynote from last year’s PBL World Conference, where he describes a project in which students worked with a community to complete energy audits of their schools.
    [4:16] Ron Berger is welcomed to The Project.
    [4:53] Ron further elaborates on the project to show the power of what kids can do.
    [7:07] Ron speaks about how, during the project, he worked with the experts and the community, bringing them together to create something truly powerful.
    [9:22] Ron outlines some practical steps that new PBL teachers can take towards creating authentic learning experiences.
    [12:25] Ron emphasizes the importance of building strong student/adult relationships for project-based learning.
    [14:47] PBL prepares students for their real lives.
    [16:44] “What I value most in teaching is the opportunity to support students in doing beautiful work.” How does Ron define ‘beautiful work’? And why is it important?
    [18:59] How can we support all learners in getting to the place where they can create beautiful work?
    [23:06] Ron responds to those who say that PBL is not for everyone.
    [26:15] Ron speaks about some of the areas of PBL that he is currently exploring.
     
    Mentioned in This Episode:
    PBLWorks
    Ron Berger | EL Education
    EL Education
    PBL World 2019 Keynote | Ron Berger
    An Ethic of Excellence: Building a Culture of Craftsmanship with Students, by Ron Berger
    A Culture of Quality: A Reflection on Practice, by Ron Berger
    Models of Excellence | The Center for High-Quality Student Work
    Harvard Graduate School of Education
     
    Twitter Quotes (for Social Media Use):
     
    “I think one of the most important steps [in creating authentic learning experiences as a PBL teacher] is to not make assumptions about what your community could need but to go out and talk to people in the community about what … the genuine needs [are].” — Ron Berger
     
    “The most powerful projects… happen not because the kids or the teacher made an assumption about the environmental, … social, or the financial needs of the community but [instead] went out and found out what would be useful in [their] community.” — Ron Berger
     
    “That sense of doing high-quality work … [and] craftsmanship … is one of the most important things about school but [it is] one of the things that we … least focus on because … many schools have to spend their time on test preparation [rather than] … standards.” — Ron Berger
     
    “You have to give yourself as a teacher … the time to create something valuable.”
    — Ron Berger
     
    “I think the biggest problem in project-based learn

    • 29 min
    What the Heck is PBL? Suzie Boss and John Larmer, Bestselling PBL Authors, Share Why PBL Works for Students

    What the Heck is PBL? Suzie Boss and John Larmer, Bestselling PBL Authors, Share Why PBL Works for Students

    In this episode, Laureen and Stanley will be speaking with John Larmer and Suzie Boss — best-selling authors and long-time PBL practitioners! John is a frequent writer on the topic of PBL and education. He’s also a former educator, a long-time champion for making education more engaging and meaningful for students, and the Editor in Chief at PBLWorks! Suzie is a writer, education consultant, and national faculty member at PBLWorks. She is a passionate advocate for Project Based Learning.
    Together, Suzie and John share their insights about PBL. They discuss how PBL is different from other methods of teaching and the research evidence that shows why and how PBL works for students. They also shed light on some common PBL challenges and how to overcome them, and they provide advice on how teachers can ease into Project Based Learning in their classrooms.
     
    Key Takeaways:
    [:01] About the The Project podcast.
    [:30] About today’s guests, John Larmer and Suzie Boss.
    [1:05] Laureen and Stanley welcome their guests.
    [1:14] John and Suzie describe what PBL is.
    [2:05] John and Suzie both share how they first got interested in Project Based Learning.
    [3:03] How is PBL different from other methods of teaching?
    [5:31] Who is doing PBL out in the world right now?
    [7:40] Why do John and Suzie think more schools are not doing PBL? What are some of the challenges that adopting PBL presents?
    [9:40] The difference between simply doing projects in a classroom and PBL.
    [11:05] What is the origin story of PBL?
    [12:12] Problem-based learning vs. Project Based Learning.
    [14:10] John and Suzie highlight some of the research evidence that shows PBL works for students.
    [16:28] Does PBL work in all contexts with all demographics?
    [18:26] John and Suzie provide advice about the first steps one should take to begin implementing Project Based Learning.
     
    Mentioned in This Episode:
    PBLWorks
    Stanley Richards, PBLWorks staff
    Laureen Adams, PBLWorks staff
    John Larmer, PBLWorks staff
    Suzie Boss, PBLWorks National Faculty
    What is PBL?
    The Research on PBL
    PBL Projects & Resources
    Getting Started with PBL
    Setting the Standard for Project Based Learning, by John Larmer and Suzie Boss
    Project Based Teaching, by John Larmer and Suzie Boss
     
    Twitter Quotes (for Social Media Use):
     
    “[PBL] is different from other methods of teaching because it is active; it’s not passive.” — John Larmer
     
    “The research on PBL is really positive when it’s done right.” — John Larmer
     
    “Adapting an existing project might be a way to jump-start your experience with PBL.”  — John Larmer
     
    “When [students] have that opportunity to really wrestle and come to [their] own understanding, that’s when the learning is going to stick.” — Suzie Boss
     
    “All students deserve the opportunity for the learning experience that happens in PBL.” — Suzie Boss
     
    “Our advice is often to start small. You don’t have to do a year-long or a semester-long project to give your students, and yourself, a taste of what PBL is all about.” — Suzie Boss

    • 21 min
    Early PBL Bloopers, Lessons, and Advice with Veteran PBL Teachers

    Early PBL Bloopers, Lessons, and Advice with Veteran PBL Teachers

    Welcome to this episode of The Project — the podcast that takes a deep-dive into the power, the potential, the pitfalls, and the possibilities of Project Based Learning to help you, your students, and your colleagues get the most out of PBL!
    In this episode, Laureen and Stanley will be speaking with three experienced teachers in the PBL space:
    Ellie Foust has been an educator for over 20 years and has created a STEAM interdisciplinary-based curriculum for seventh graders. Most recently, she has started a new role teaching high school AP environmental science and chemistry.
    Eric White currently provides professional development and coaching for school districts full-time. Before this, he was a PBL instructional coach and lead teacher of PBL at the secondary level.
    And last, but not least, Telannia Norfar is a mathematics teacher at a public high school in Oklahoma City, OK, who has been using Project Based Learning since she started teaching. She has been recognized as a Teacher of the Year among other accolades and is also the co-author of Project-Based Learning in the Math Classroom.
    Today, Ellie, Eric, and Telannia swap stories about some of the early challenges they had to overcome in their PBL journeys and lessons they’ve learned through mistakes that they’ve made. They also share the best advice they received early on in their PBL careers. If you’re just starting out on your own PBL journey, you won’t want to miss this conversation!
     
    Key Takeaways:
    [:01] About the The Project podcast.
    [:30] About today’s episode and special guests.
    [1:38] Laureen and Stanley welcome their three guests to the podcast!
    [2:07] Telannia explains her ‘why’ behind PBL.
    [2:46] Eric shares his PBL ‘why.’
    [3:51] Ellie shares her PBL ‘why.’
    [4:48] Ellie shares a story about a challenge she had to overcome early on in her PBL journey.
    [9:11] Eric shares a PBL blooper from his early days as a teacher.
    [15:02] Stanley tells a quick blooper of his own.
    [15:17] Telannia shares a story of a PBL lesson she learned early on.
    [19:36] Telannia shares what she thinks it takes to become a PBL teacher.
    [21:22] Eric shares what he thinks it takes to become a PBL teacher.
    [22:28] Ellie shares what she thinks it takes to become a PBL teacher.
    [23:26] Ellie shares the best advice she received early on as a PBL educator.
    [24:32] Telannia shares the best advice she received when she was starting out as a PBL teacher.
    [25:58] Eric shares the best advice he received when he was just starting out with PBL.
     
    Mentioned in This Episode:
    PBLWorks
    Stanley Richards, PBLWorks staff
    Laureen Adams, PBLWorks staff
    Ellie Foust, PBLWorks National Faculty
    Eric White, PBLWorks National Faculty
    Telannia Norfar, PBLWorks National Faculty
    Project-Based Learning in the Math Classroom, by Chris Fancher and Telannia Norfar
     
    Twitter Quotes (for Social Media Use):
     
    “With project-based learning, [you] truly reach every kid because you intentionally plan for every kid.” — Telannia Norfar
     
    “I tell everyone: I have not arrived. I see the horizon all the time but I’m on the road. And the biggest thing is to realize that [PBL is] a road that you stay on and you get better at.” — Telannia Norfar
     
    “Plan away. Because great projects usually don’t happen by chance; they usually happen by design.” — Eric White
     
    “All students… deserve the type of education that project-based education provides.” — Ellie Foust
     
    “[It’s important] to truly let your passion and love for teaching shine through in those projects that you’re creating… and [allow] yourself to learn and laugh through the entire process with your kids.” — Ellie Foust

    • 27 min
    This Teachable Moment: Finding Opportunity for Real Change in How We Educate Our Kids

    This Teachable Moment: Finding Opportunity for Real Change in How We Educate Our Kids

    Today on The Project, Laureen Adams and Stanley Richards are joined by the CEO of PBLWorks, Bob Lenz!
    CEO Bob Lenz joined PBLWorks five years ago. Before that, he was the co-founder of Envision Education, a charter school network which puts into practice a highly successful redesign model that opens a path to college for underserved urban students in three Bay Area high schools. Bob is recognized nationally as a leader in high school redesign, Project Based Learning, 21st-century skills education, and performance assessment. He is the author of Transforming Schools Using Project-Based Learning, Performance Assessment, and Common Core Standards, and most recently the eBook, This Teachable Moment: Engaging Our Kids in the Joy of Learning.
     
    In their conversation today, Laureen, Stanley, and Bob discuss how this current pandemic is impacting the present and the future of education and Project Based Learning, and what educators can do to support their students during this time. Bob speaks about the importance of finding joy in the midst of these challenges, how parents can get their kids involved with PBL over the summer. He also shares his hopes and vision for the future of learning as we head into the unknowns of the new school year.
     
    Key Takeaways:
    [:32] About today’s episode with PBLWorks CEO, Bob Lenz!
    [1:07] Laureen and Stanley reflect on their careers and when they first met Bob Lenz.
    [2:25] Laureen and Stanley welcome Bob to The Project.
    [2:38] Bob shares what is currently top of mind for him and PBLWorks with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    [4:20] How this current pandemic is impacting the present and the future of Project Based Learning
    [7:16] Bob speaks about some of the PBL-friendly changes that might happen in education as a result of this pandemic as well as what educators should be rethinking.
    [10:27] Bob shares his top advice for teachers and leaders about how to support their students during this time.
    [12:28] How educators can support parents during the quarantine.
    [13:54] How parents can get their kids involved with PBL over the summer.
    [15:54] Laureen shares two PBL projects from the eBook she co-authored with Bob, This Teachable Moment.
    [18:00] Bob shares his hopes and vision as we wind down the school year, head into the summer, and prepare for the unknowns of the new school year.
     
     
    Mentioned in This Episode:
    PBLWorks
    Bob Lenz | PBLWorks
    Envision Education
    Transforming Schools: Using Project-Based Learning, Performance Assessment, and Common Core Standards, by Bob Lenz, Justin Wells, and Sally Kingston
    This Teachable Moment: Engaging Our Kids in the Joy of Learning, by Bob Lenz
    and Laureen Adams
     
    Twitter Quotes (for Social Media Use):
     
    “The quality of the feedback and the ultimate plans that teachers are making for projects are higher quality than we had in-person!” — Bob Lenz
     
    “I would encourage teachers and leaders to prioritize engagement and motivation to learn as the highest priority for students as they are having to shelter in place.” — Bob Lenz
     
    “We’re … hopeful that parents will really take … this idea that this … is a teachable moment … and, … armed with some of the content from our book, [This Teachable Moment], we hope that they’ll use that to advocate for project-based learning for their learner.” — Bob Lenz
     
    “This [pandemic] is a teachable moment and a turning point around education that heads us in a direction of project-based learning and having a high-quality project-based learning experience.” — Bob Lenz
     
    “I am cautiously hopeful that this [pandemic] is going to be a… huge opportunity… to reset towards a future where engagement, … motivation, and cultural responsiveness is the order of the day, … [rather than] test-based accountability” — Bob Lenz

    • 20 min
    The Education All Students Deserve: Dinah Becton-Consuegra and Carlos Moreno on Equitable Education Through PBL

    The Education All Students Deserve: Dinah Becton-Consuegra and Carlos Moreno on Equitable Education Through PBL

    In this episode of The Project, Stanley and Laureen are joined by guests, Dinah Becton-Consuegra and Carlos Moreno!
    Carlos Moreno is an educational trailblazer committed to supporting school and district leaders in creating high-quality, non-traditional schools designed to tackle systemic issues related to equity in education. He currently serves as Executive Director for Big Picture Learning, a nonprofit organization that, since 1995, has developed over 150 such schools in the United States and throughout the world.
     
    Dinah Becton-Consuegra is currently an equity consultant for PBLWorks, and previously served as the organization’s Director of Partnership Development. Prior to her roles with PBLWorks, Dinah was the West Regional Director for EL Education, a K-12 PBL-focused non-profit partnered with more than 150 schools in 31 states. A focus on closing the opportunity gap has been a primary driver in Dinah's 20 years in education.
     
    Together, Carlos and Dinah explore the topic of equitable education and what we can do as teachers and leaders to close the opportunity gap. They speak about the sorts of schools they’re working for, how they are redesigning them with equity in mind, and the important hallmarks of equitable education. They also offer advice to teachers and leaders about what they can do to make PBL more accessible and how they can begin to make a shift toward more equitable outcomes for Black and Brown students.
     
    Key Takeaways:
    [:32] About today’s episode and guests!
    [1:48] Stanley and Laureen welcome Dinah and Carlos to the podcast.
    [1:54] Kicking off the podcast with a fun question, Stanley asks Dinah and Carlos who their favorite rap artists are (and their favorite hip-hop lines)!
    [4:18] As Executive Director of Big Picture Learning, Carlos’s focus is redesigning schools with equitable education in mind. What types of schools are they working with? And what are some of the hallmarks of equitable education?
    [8:44] Dinah chimes in with what she believes to be the hallmarks of equitable education.
    [10:46] Bringing project-based learning into the mix, Carlos elaborates on his quote, “PBL isn’t just curriculum; for some students, it’s a lifeline.”
    [14:23] What does meaningful learning look like with all of this emergency, remote learning? And how can we support equitable access to it?
    [22:27] Dinah shares the advice she would give to teachers or leaders about what they can do to begin making a shift toward more equitable outcomes for Black and Brown students.
    [26:22] Carlos speaks about the notion of love, equity, and what teachers should spend time on before stepping into the classroom.
    [28:27] Laureen and Stanley thank Carlos and Dinah for joining The Project!
     
    Mentioned in This Episode:
    PBLWorks
    Big Picture Learning
    Carlos Moreno’s LinkedIn
    Dinah Becton-Consuegra’s LinkedIn
    EL Education
    Bryan Stevenson’s TEDTalk: “We Need to Talk About an Injustice”
     
    Twitter Quotes (for Social Media Use):
     
    “There’s no better time for PBL to support equitable access to authentic learning for students.” — Dinah Becton-Consuegra
     
    “I think the first piece [of advice] I would give teachers or leaders is just to start with [themselves]. … Do the internal work of examining your own racism, your own hidden biases, and how they’re impacting your teaching or leading.” — Dinah Becton-Consuegra
     
    “Pay attention to power dynamics. Pay attention to who speaks. Pay attention to who doesn’t. Pay attention to which students are engaged [and] which ones aren’t … and do some follow-up. … Strive to be constantly adaptable and … willing to … shift.” — Dinah Becton-Consuegra
     
    “In my own organization, we’ve been grappling with the question of what the future ... should look like. … The most important step for us, … was to … acknowledge that this [pandemic] was something very different than anything any of us had experienced.”

    • 29 min
    The ‘Breaking Bias’ Project: Helping Students Identify Bias and Understand Diverse Perspectives

    The ‘Breaking Bias’ Project: Helping Students Identify Bias and Understand Diverse Perspectives

    In this special episode of The Project, Stanley and Laureen are virtually sitting down with a group of teachers across three high schools to discuss their joint PBL project called Breaking Bias. The goal for this project was for students to listen and learn from one another, to understand what bias is, and to better equip them to disarm bias in the future. Students shared their perspectives from three different schools in three very different areas of the country — and on top of that, during a pandemic!
    Joining the discussion today is Josh Baldwin, a history teacher at Liberty North High School in Liberty, Missouri; Liz Ruddell, an English teacher from Liberty North; Tara Harvey, an instructional coach also at Liberty North; Rachel Harcrow an English teacher at Young Women’s College Prep in Rochester, New York; and Samuel Texeira, a high school history teacher at the Henderson Inclusion School in Dorchester, Massachusetts.
     
    Together, the Breaking Bias team discusses, in-depth, what the project is all about; why it was so important to connect this project across multiple schools; how they designed the project with equity in mind for students; how students have reacted to the project; and both the positives and the challenges they faced during implementation.
     
    Key Takeaways:
    [:32] About today’s episode.
    [:55] Stanley and Laureen welcome the five guests to the podcast and they each introduce themselves.
    [1:49] What the Breaking Bias project is all about!
    [3:57] The ‘why’ behind Breaking Bias: why it was important to connect this project across schools.
    [5:35] Some background on Joshua and Liz.
    [5:48] How they designed this project with equity in mind for students (and not only just for the classroom, but society as a whole).
    [9:42] How the Breaking Bias team believed that this project would benefit students.
    [11:03] How technological tools help to support the project and how the team was able to make time to plan across schools.
    [12:40] How have the students reacted to the project? How has their thinking changed across the course of the project?
    [14:57] The team shares about some of their most positive parts of the project’s implementation as well as some of the most challenging parts of its implementation.
    [18:26] Now that they have completed the project, what would they have done differently? And what would they do the same?
    [22:36] The team offers some recommendations for teachers that want to teach PBL online after the experience of doing this project.
     
    Mentioned in This Episode:
    PBLWorks
    The ‘Breaking Bias’ Project
    Flipgrid
    Liberty North High School
    Young Women’s College Prep
    Dr. William W. Henderson Inclusion School
     
    Twitter Quotes (for Social Media Use):
     
    [1:54] “The title of the project is ‘Breaking Bias,’ so we wanted to challenge our students with this idea of, 1) Identifying what bias is and understanding what it is as a concept … and then, 2) Making progress towards what [we can] do about [it] now that we know what it is.”
     
    [7:20] “I think, … we often get afraid to talk about race. … So, one of the things we started the conversation around … was reminding students that everybody has implicit bias, whether you’re a person of color, white, man or a woman, old or young. We all carry these biases.”
     
    [8:21] “In order to solve the problem of [inequity] we have to be honest about where we’re all coming from.”
     
    [23:12] “PBL can still happen outside of the four walls of your classroom. And not only can it happen, but it can be truly meaningful work that goes on. So don’t think just because you don’t have your classroom to work out of that PBL can’t happen.”
     
    [23:32] “Be flexible. Especially in an online sphere, but also be willing to try a new variety of technology even if you haven’t ever used it in your classroom.”
     
    [24:17] “As [teachers], we have to constantly be willing to learn ourselves and put o

    • 25 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
9 Ratings

9 Ratings

1stkurt ,

Excellence resource for starting PBL

This podcast is amazing! It is the perfect mix of stories and examples along with instruction and insights to turn your classroom into a PBL hub. PBL methodology has the power to revolutionize not only how we teach, but how our students learn. This podcast really helps ALL teachers see its potential and points them in the right direction on how to get started.

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