Full confession: when I was in the classroom the project launch was always an afterthought. I would spend 10-20 hours planning a project that I thought would engage my students and provide them with the opportunity to build valuable skills and master content; and by the time that was done I was exhausted! As I coach teachers now, the launch still continues to be the last thing we chat about as they are running out the door to relieve their sub from our project coaching hours.

In a perfect world we would devote a great deal of time to planning an incredible hook for our students, when we launch into a project. Maybe this is your year to refine your launches?! Or maybe this is the year you commit to doing 1 project launch justice. If you are ready to dive into PBL 3.0 and create a robust project launch, here are some resources and and an offered structure for you to try:

  1. The Hook
    • I always loved to do field work with students as a way to get them excited about an upcoming project-a walking or driving field trip, guest speaker, etc. Use this resource to help you plan!
    • Media works well too-maybe a video or a song
    • Simulations are fun-this one is my all-time favorite!
    • The Question Formulation Technique is also a great way to launch student inquiry. Check out this post I wrote for The Right Question Institute on how to do this for a project launch.
  2. Knows/Need to Knows
    • The K/NTK process is critical to HQPBL and now is the time to bring it to life. Check out this post on how to start your N/NTK chart…and be sure to keep it alive throughout the project as a means of student-driven learning!
  3. 1 pager for older students, bulletin board reveal for younger students 
    • For grades 5-12 you will want to create a project overview sheet that includes the DQ, Final Product, Benchmarks and other important project information. Here is a simple 5th grade sample.
    • For younger grades you will want to designate a space in your classroom that displays all the important project information, graphics, etc.
  4. Communicating Assessment Expectations, Calendar 
    • Hopefully you have created an assessment tool for your project. Need help?! Check out this post, this planning workbook or e-course to help you build your project rubric. Now is the time to share this with your students-if they are going to grow and own their learning, they need to know exactly what the expectations are!
  5. Group Contract 
    • At this time you may want to introduce students to their group and have them complete a group contract or something of the sort-some form of agreement about how they will work together on this project. PBL Pro tip: keep this contract alive by coming back to it and reflecting often!

Good luck on honing your craft by committing to improving the quality of your project experience for students. As I like to remind teachers, it doesn’t get easier we just get better! Be sure to share your learning with the CraftED Community via Instagram and Twitter!