The following is an excerpt from the eBook, #RealPBL Deleted Scenes, which contains excerpts that didn’t make it into the final draft of the book, Project Based Learning: Real Questions. Real Answers.
Background Information: The book’s Introduction was probably the most difficult part to write, which is why two of this eBook’s excerpts are from the Introduction. In the Introduction, we wanted to include a few reasons as to why project based learning should be prioritized, but we don’t want to alienate the reader by getting too technical too soon. This section, from the Introduction, is a personal favorite due to its emphasis on Reading and Writing Workshop. However, it was removed because (1) it could be confusing for those who aren’t familiar with workshop, and (2) it could turn away those who aren’t fans of workshop. Ultimately, a portion of this section was used elsewhere in the Introduction.
PBL Provides Context for Student Learning (Much Like the Workshop Framework)
In both of our school districts, Reading Workshop and Writing Workshop are used for the teaching and learning of literacy. Zooming in on the workshop framework, using narrative writing as an example, a typical instructional unit (unit of study) could follow these steps. As you read, even if you don’t use workshop, think about how these steps might parallel your experiences with project based learning or how these steps could transcend literacy:
- Through the collective analysis of exemplars, the teacher introduces the unit’s genre, narrative writing, to students. Amongst the discussion, she gives each student a handout containing the unit’s learning targets – what students should be learning and applying as they write.
- Over the next 4-6 weeks, the teacher engages students in a series of mini-lessons, lasting about 10-12 minutes each. Each mini-lesson focuses on a very specific aspect of narrative writing: writing a lead, introducing characters, inserting transitions, helping readers to visualize, etc.
- After each mini-lesson, students are given about 25 minutes to write in their writers’ notebooks; it doesn’t matter what they write as long as they’re personal narratives and students are working toward the learning targets. During this time, students can use what they’ve learned from mini-lessons to enhance their work. Also during this time, the teacher meets with students, individually and in small groups, to help them to move forward with their writing.
- As the teacher meets with students, sometimes she will notice many students are struggling with the same concept. She addresses the misconception by having the entire class stop their writing so she can teach (or reteach) the concept to everyone.
- Most lessons conclude with a 5-minute meeting, during which some students read parts of their work so everyone can learn from one another. Oftentimes the teacher will ask specific students to read certain excerpts to demonstrate what particular concepts look like in action.
- Over the 4-6 weeks, as students write in their notebooks, some pieces may resonate while others may fall by the wayside. The ones that resonate, about 2-3 for the unit, are taken through the entire writing process: revising, editing, publishing.
We tend to think about instructional approaches in isolation, and even though the workshop framework can be leveraged in powerful ways when teaching literacy, we usually don’t consider how this same framework can be applied to other subject areas. Nonetheless: Proven practices in one subject area can typically be used in others with the same success. For example, project based learning closely resembles the workshop framework – an actuality that is regularly an “AHA moment” amongst educators who are familiar with workshop but not necessarily project based learning. In fact, when designing project based learning experiences, we have heard educators refer to it as “Workshopping [insert subject area].”Proven practices in one subject area can typically be used in others with the same success. #RealPBL Click To Tweet [Read more…] about The Intersection of Project Based Learning and Reading and Writing Workshop #RealPBL #tcrwp