Jennifer Pieratt here, I just want to address a pretty common question that I get, which is about classroom management during project-based learning
I know that part of PBL is kind of this expectation, that it’s going to be organized chaos and for some people that feels really exciting and for other people that feels terrifying.
So, I was a little bit more of a structured teacher in my project-based learning classroom and so there are three things that I did that I want to share for those of you who are looking for a little bit more of a security blanket or safety net for your classroom.
So, one of them is it’s called a scrum board, SCRUM and it’s a thing, it’s from industry, basically what I would do is I would just take a big wall in my classroom and I get blue painters tape and I’d make a big grid up on the wall, like a life-size grid and it would include you know in each column, all the different phases of the project or the project benchmarks and then each row would be my different student groups and I could either place them or the students could place themselves where they were in the process, so it was a really quick visual, I could look up on the wall see who is behind and who I need to get to first that day during project work time or see who was ahead and maybe offer up a challenge option for them.
So, it’s a really nice visual way to just see where everybody is in the project process and that’s critical especially for you secondary teachers who have pretty big caseloads of students, seven periods of a day, it’s a nice way to just help you quickly remember where you’re at and it allows everyone to kind of hit the ground running when class starts.
My other favorite was a good old-fashioned clip chart and I know this is going to feel very familiar for elementary teachers but secondary teachers, you can do this too and I’ll just show you an example of one.
And this is one that I’ve just simply uses the different stages of a project as this one’s really long, but the different stages of your project milestones, benchmarks, whatever you want to call it and then on each of your clothes pins are either individual student names or student group names and same thing they can simply place themselves where they are in the process and it’s a really quick visual for you to see where everyone’s at and you need to support first or continue to challenge
And then my third little tip for you is to use the workshop model and again I know that’s going to feel pretty familiar at many elementary teachers but it’s something secondary teachers can do as well.
So, you know I would set my classroom up, so that there is a short little mini lesson at the beginning of every class that was relevant to the project and then I would give them some specific tasks, lay out all the resources they needed, turn them loose to do it and then do one-on-one conferencing, so during that one-on-one conferencing time I could differentiate as I needed to but I was also sure that everybody else was doing the work that they needed to do, meaningful work, not just busy work but they had a specific task for the day
So, I’ll include some resources for you below in the workshop model, but it really saved my sanity during project work time to be sure that everyone was on task and also that I could give the individualized support that I needed to my kiddos while I had them with me.
So, I hope that’s helpful for you good luck.