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, people who are fighting for new opportunities for our kids.
In the conversations I’ve had I can’t help but notice that things are changing. It may not be in the big fancy and shiny ways that make headlines, but things are changing.
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 their students.
It’s been happening in pockets for so long, that now those groups of teachers and leaders are starting to bring in new teachers and new leaders to build a true culture of learning that looks and feels different.
It’s taking shape as a revolution of sorts (but not some type of education reform) that is beginning to make its way into every school and every classroom.
The textbooks are no longer “good enough”, and the multiple-choice tests are no longer “good enough”, and the lectures are no longer “good enough” for our kids.
We’ve seen what can happen when students are presented with a problem to solve, a challenge to overcome.
We’ve seen what can happen when students have learning experiences that are both relevant and meaningful to them as an individual and citizen.
We’ve seen what can happen when students own their learning, have a choice in the process and performance task, and get to choose how they can demonstrate understanding.
Project-based learning (PBL) is no longer relegated to gifted classrooms, honors classes, and exploratory specials. PBL is an active piece of the K-12 learning experience, found in every subject, in every grade level, and in every part of curricula and scope and sequences.
PBL is taking over traditional finals and mid-terms as the performance task. It is showing up as HOW you teach the unit, instead of only an ending project to the unit. PBL is growing because it engages and empowers students to learn experientially and share that learning in new and unique ways that go well beyond the classroom.
Yet, many teachers are asking: How do we plan and implement PBL? How do we “fit it in” our current curriculum? How do we assess it using our current grading guidelines? How do we manage this type of learning?
These are all real concerns and questions that cannot be dismissed. PBL takes time to plan, implement, manage, and assess. Then it takes time to tweak, improve, and highlight.
In The PBL Playbook, we dive into specific answers to all those questions, and what PBL looks like in each grade level and subject area!
But, it’s not written by just me.
In this book, 47 other teachers and educators from around the world share their stories about Project-Based Learning.
Their stories are powerful, but the learning that happens is what really impacted me. I am so honored to be able to share these stories and make them the practical piece of this book.
The PBL Playbook is for you if:
You are a teacher ready to move towards an authentic learning experience for your students.
You are a superintendent, district administrator, or principal who is leading a school through project-based learning.
You are a coach, staff developer, or teacher leader that wants to help guide colleagues into PBL with a game plan that works.
Time Is Of The Essence…
I’ve written other education books, but The PBL Playbook is different. This book comes from a place of desperation and frustration. For years I’ve seen the transformative power of project-based learning experiences in my own classroom, in my colleagues’ classrooms, and in countless learning places around the world.
Yet, for many teachers, including myself, it can be almost paralyzing to start the work of moving away from how we’ve always taught. I’ve made the mistake of sometimes writing up in the clouds (theory) instead of in the dirt (practical). While this can help us understand the WHY (which is important) it leaves us wanting to know HOW.
This book is about the HOW.
You’ll get step-by-step ideas and strategies to implement in your role as a teacher, coach, or leader tomorrow. You’ll get ideas from over thirty different educators who were interviewed and share their PBL tactics and best practices. You’ll be able to apply this to your work, and most importantly to help transform the learning experiences our students have on a daily basis.
As a coach, I always believed that a playbook opened up the possibilities instead of limiting them. In The PBL Playbook, I hope to hit on that balance of providing enough guidance, support, and practical steps—while also allowing for the creativity and innovation inside each of you to shine through when designing, building, and running a project-based learning experience.
Are you ready to hit the ground running? Let’s get started! I’m giving away the first 5000 paperback copies of The PBL Playbook for Free.