After a few years of reading about and tinkering with Problem-Based Learning, I fully implemented this instructional approach in my classroom this fall, and PBL has been an absolute game changer. As educators teaching in the Common Core era, we hear quite a bit about the need to help children develop “21st Century Skills" focusing on such areas as communication, collaboration, technology, and problem solving, and I have found that nothing comes close to PBL in this regard.
Plus, the level of enthusiasm and engagement students display while working on their projects is simply incredible. During a PBL session, the hardest part of my job sometimes is getting everyone to stop at the end of the period. On many occasions, the kids were so invested in what they were doing that I actually began to worry a little about my safety as I headed to the front of the room to signal that our time had run out.
In this blog series I will be describing my experiences with Problem-Based Learning, explaining its benefits, and sharing tips and lessons I have learned along the way about implementation, grouping, assessment, and exhibiting student work. Children at every elementary age can gain mightily from this approach, and I look forward to relaying my experiences and hearing your feedback.