Project based teaching requires a considerable amount of planning in order to keep students on task and moving forward in productive ways. In her book Project Based Teaching: How to Create Rigorous and Engaging Learning Experiences, author Suzie Boss shares the following suggestions to help manage time and maximize learning (pp. 98-101):
- Remove bottlenecks. Create many avenues for students to find answers during the project, so that work doesn’t halt because there are questions to be answered.
- Differentiate. Some students will be able to manage their own time and tasks; others may require greater structure and chunking of tasks. Provide for all types of learners in your room.
- Go with the flow. Develop a system whereby students visibly note what they are working on during a given class period. Then you, the teacher, can walk around the room and see that students are engaging in during the class without interrupting their workflow.
- Use group work time strategically. Meet with students, observe, facilitate conversations, and/or offer mini-lessons to help students move forward in their projects. Plan how you will use your time while they are using their time.
- Build in reflection: Make reflection a natural part of the work taking place. Students can pause at regular intervals to think about what is going well, what is not going well, and question their next steps.
- Build in breaks. Mental breaks throughout a project period are important. They decrease stress and provide opportunities for additional creative thought.
- Flip your classroom. Provide instruction via video clips to be viewed as homework, and use the classroom time to provide feedback and help during student work time.
- Develop a “workshop” model. Have students present snippets of their project at regular intervals (once a week or once every two weeks) throughout the process. Give them the opportunity to gather feedback from others.
As you plan for next week, think about incorporating some of these tips into your classroom practice. Your students will benefit greatly!