The Three-Step System For Getting Students to Do the Talking – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

I remember the first time I heard the phrase “student-centered classroom” and I almost chuckled. I had always believed my classroom was about the students, they were the reason we taught and my focus was always on their learning. This new terminology sounded like another buzzword and I didn’t pay much attention to the presentation until I heard this: Whoever is doing the talking is doing the majority of the learning. In your classroom what is the ratio of…

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What Project-Based Learning Looks Like In An Elementary Classroom – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

To be honest, I was lost. Elementary teaching was something so new to me when I took a job as a Technology Staff Developer. I taught middle school. I taught high school. I’d written curriculum for those levels, and connected with many educators who teach at those levels, learning so much along the way. As a K-5 Instructional Coach, my eyes were open wide the first time I stepped into a 1st Grade Classroom. The teacher was actually teaching the kids…

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A Project-Based Learning Activity That Can Work in Any Classroom – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

In our last post, we dove into a three-step system to get students to do the talking. Getting them to open up and do the majority of talking (and learning) is not as easy as some make it out to be. In fact, for me, it was incredibly difficult. The three-step system scaffolded a way for students to take on more and more of the discussion responsibilities until they were ready to take over. Here are the three steps…

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Is It the End of Math Homework? – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

Note: This is the third post in a series focused on practical ways to do PBL in every subject and grade level. Read the first and second here. It was towards the end of the third marking period a few years ago when my Math teachers in our middle school came up to me. “AJ, I think we’ve got a problem, hoping you can help.” “Sure”, I said, “What’s going on?” “Well, it’s kind of weird. Almost all of…

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How the Heck Do You Grade Choice-Based Learning? – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

Note: This is the fourth post in a series on Project Based Learning. You can check out all of the other posts here. My first full year of teaching was as an 8th grade Language Arts teacher. It was my dream job at the time. I love the energy of middle school students and I was still taller than most of them. My situation was even better than expected because our MS teams had two language arts teachers and…

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The Simple System For Planning Project Based Learning Experiences – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

The most successful teaching begins, therefore, with clarity about desired learning outcomes and about the evidence that will show that learning has occurred. Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, The Understanding by Design Guide to Creating High-Quality Units There is something happening across the country and around the world right now. It’s hidden in the planning sessions of colleagues, in the professional development opportunities at schools and conferences, and in the hallways as teachers and administrators talk with each other about…

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The Real Reason It’s So Difficult to Start Project-Based Learning – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

My colleague and I looked at each other on Tuesday of this week. She had a look in her eyes of pure exhaustion. I could sense a call for help, but I think we were both too tired to send out an SOS. I let out a deep sigh and said, “Man, is it June yet!” The past two weeks had been a whirlwind of non-stop problem finding and problem-solving. It was good work, but tiring work. As a Director…

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What Authentic Research Looks Like in Project-Based Learning – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

Both of my sons love playing soccer. I grew up watching football and only played soccer very briefly (at the youth level) before going all in on American football throughout middle school and high school. I watch football all of the time, coached football for years, and taught both of my boys how to throw a football (properly) by the time they turned three. We, by all accounts, are a football household who watches every Philadelphia Eagles game (Super Bowl…

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How the Heck Do You Manage a Project-Based Classroom? – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

You’ve read the blog posts, tweets, and articles. Maybe you’ve even attended some conferences or seen someone speak live. They say, “Project-based learning changed my role as a teacher. I could talk to more students. I became a guide and coach instead of talking at kids all day.” And you think, that sounds awesome! It sounds like a dream classroom. So, you start. You find a PBL lesson or unit to do with your class. The kids are excited.…

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Moving at the Speed of Creativity – Education Article

This afternoon for lunch and after lunch, I had the wonderful opportunity to join our 6th and 7th grade science teachers at the bi-monthly meeting of the Oklahoma STEM Consortium facilitated by Anissa Angier (@AnissaSmiles). Anissa is the “K12 STEM Instructional Facilitator” for Edmond Public Schools, and has been helping organize and lead this group of STEM-focused educators for the past year. This is the first time I’ve been able to attend one of their meetings, and although we had…

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Yes, Project-Based Learning Gets Kids Ready for the Test (and so much more) – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

I was worried the first time I tried a project-based learning unit with my students. As a young teacher, I had prided myself on running a challenging class and had focused much of my attention on getting my students prepared for what we were both going to be assessed on: the test. I was not doing test prep. I didn’t believe that giving students sample test questions would make them do any better on our state standardized scores (and still…

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A Checklist for Planning Project-Based Learning From Scratch – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

Three of my favorite Project-Based Learning experiences took shape in completely different ways and circumstances. My students and I created “Project: Global Inform” together, after tweaking the original assignment. My students were studying genocide and human rights violations, and the culminating activity was writing a letter/email to a politician who could help stop the injustices that were happening around the world, or in our own community. My students wanted to do more, and Project: Global Inform was born. Instead of…

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Over 75,000 students from 14 countries are ready for the Global Day of Design #GDD18 on May 4th – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

Last year over 60,000 students from 600+ schools, in over 12 countries and four different continents participated in our second annual Global Day of Design. The hashtag went viral as students and teachers shared and launched their creative projects all day long around the globe. This year, we are doing it again, and we can’t wait to see what students design, build, and make! Already we have over 75,000 students signed up to participate from 600+ schools, in over 14 countries…

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What Should Be the Teacher’s Role During Project-Based Learning? – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

Teaching is not always easy. And learning can be a struggle for many of our students. As educators, we are called to this back and forth process of teaching and learning. We push and challenge, and then support and guide. It’s easy to get lost in the grind. It’s why so many teachers get burnt out, and why so many students complain about school. However, if we think about each school year as a journey — one that will…

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Get Your FREE Copy of The PBL Playbook – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

Today I turn 35 years old. And I couldn’t be more excited than I am right now to share my new book, The PBL Playbook. Over the past few years I’ve been lucky enough to work with teachers, instructional coaches, and school leaders all around the world, both face-to-face and online. What I’ve found (over and over again) is that there are amazing people working in education every single day. People who care, people who are taking risks to change paradigms,…

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Create Rigorous & Engaging Learning – Education Article

Project Based Teaching: How to Create Rigorous and Engaging Learning ExperiencesBy Suzie Boss with John Larmer(ASCD, 2018 – Learn more) Reviewed by Jeny Randall When I picked up Project Based Teaching, I was mired in end-of-trimester work. I didn’t have time to read. But Suzie Boss and John Larmer’s book not only drew me in, it provided the antidote for end-of-trimester fatigue. Project Based Teaching offers strategies and protocols I can put in place immediately, but more than that it…

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A Process for Implementing Student Digital Projects – Teacher Reboot Camp – Education Article

Lately, I’ve been busy grading my students’ digital products. Each year my students accomplish so much with technology, such as brainstorming, collaboration, annotation, editing, research, and so forth. My students also create several digital products throughout my courses, such as mind maps, infographics, posters, presentations, video commercials, audio interviews, comics, ebooks, portfolios, visual prompts, speaking avatars, etc. These digital projects, or what I often call, “learning missions,” are adaptable and can be used to teach different age groups (children to adults)…

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Fun Video Project! Produce a TV Commercial for an Invention – Teacher Reboot Camp – Education Article

In a previous post I outlined my 6 step process for implementing digital projects (1. Evaluate an example, 2. Assign the mission, 3. Students carryout the mission, 4. Peer edit, 5. Share the mission, and 6. Feedback/evaluation). In upcoming posts I will be sharing some of my student projects to give you ideas for the upcoming year. In the following project students produce a TV commercial marketing their inventions. Students don’t actually create an invention, instead they  come up with ideas…

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Fostering a Culture of Innovation! Students who S.A.I.L! – Teacher Reboot Camp – Education Article

Yesterday, I presented a new keynote for the NJAIS Innovation Symposium, The Keys to Fostering a Culture of Innovation! Students who S.A.I.L. The purpose was to help teachers facilitate and inspire student innovation. As I prepared for my keynote, I had to think about how teachers who perhaps didn’t define themselves as “innovators” might go about inspiring students to be innovative. First, I defined innovation as finding solutions to problems. Then, I propose that the main role of schools, who…

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100 Project-Based Learning Ideas for Every Age – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

“Everything begins with an idea.” – Earl Nightengale When I started on my Project-Based Learning journey, I always wondered what other teachers were already doing with PBL in classrooms around the country and world. I remember joining Ning sites and finding other teachers who were doing PBL, it was like a dream come true to chat and discuss and learn. With the growth of Twitter, blogging, and conference I was able to meet educators from around the world who have…

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6 Tips For PBL Planning Across Content Areas – – Education Article

One of the weaknesses of our modern education system is that content has become so siloed that students rarely see the connections between subjects or connections with their world. Integrated projects can break down these walls when students investigate authentic problems that cross subject lines.   I have team-taught social studies with English and math with science. I have also designed numerous projects that integrated multiple content areas. Integrated projects can be challenging to plan and manage, even for experienced…

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Youth Spotlight: Community School students teach English to refugees – Education Article

The Spokesman- Review At a time when the United States is doing less for refugees, four seniors at The Community School decided to do a lot more. Tasked in a school project with studying the worldwide refugee crisis, Cierra Morris, Ashlin O’Kelly, Shea Handelman and Katelyn Devine went beyond the script by engaging refugees who work at the Global Neighborhood Thrift Store in north Spokane. The store is part of Global Neighborhood, a nonprofit which helps find employment for refugees.…

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