Project Based Learning – Backwards Design

Here are some of my ideas around Project Based Learning and the Backwards-Design Process:

I use the backwards design template (attached) to provide students with Project Based Learning opportunities within my library program. With the planning process, I consider the learning objectives for each day but also consider the goals students set for themselves during each Project Based Learning opportunity. Many of the projects I create have a component where students are setting daily goals for themselves and reflecting on those goals at the end of the lesson. It allows for students to make choices about their learning, and I find it raises engagement and provides an opportunity for students to advocate for themselves. The Project Based learning opportunities provide meaningful and authentic learning for students because they have a voice and a choice in what they learn, while exit tickets give me the opportunity to reflect on what the students have learned to engage them even more.

Here’s a Backwards-Design Unit I used with my 5th graders to design a tiny house:

  I came up with the design from one of John Spencer’s Design Challenges:

Exit tickets allow me the opportunity to check in with my students and reflect on how well the lesson went. More often than not, the data I receive from the exit ticket at the end of each lesson informs and drives the learning for the next day. The data collection after each lesson allows me to differentiate the next day’s lesson. I creates screencasts of the rigorous tasks based on the feedback (exit tickets) I received from students. The screencasts are made from the questions students ask or from tasks the students didn’t understand. I host each screencast on my website to allow the students the opportunity to choose which video they need to watch each day. Exit tickets are what start the differentiated instruction process. They inform me of where the students are, what their needs are, and what might be causing them confusion. I use this information to create videos (screencasts) for the next day for them to choose which videos they need to watch to complete the daily objective.

-How can I continue to improve the feedback cycle for my students?

-How do other educators collect feedback from students and use it to differentiate their lessons?

-How do other educators incorporate voice & choice in their lessons?

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