Project-Based Learning: Doing It Right!

gtchat 09122017 PBL

This week it was a pleasure to welcome #gtchat Advisor and long-time friend of our chat, Ginger Lewman, to discuss project-based learning. Ginger is a popular keynote and presenter at gifted and education conferences around the world. If you ever get a chance to hear her speak, it will be an experience to remember.

The benefits of project-based learning are extensive and especially good for gifted and talented students. It is a driver for critical thinking, collaboration and innovation. Project-based learning can spark creativity and develop problem solving skills as well as provide deeper, more meaningful learning for students.

“Soft skills and emotional intelligence can be a struggle for some gifted and talented students. Project-based learning helps them grow in a safe environment. Students get to work in areas of strength and interest bringing interests. Good for all students, but essential to untapped potential.”                                                                             ~ Ginger Lewman

Teachers and students are  the primary stakeholders and beneficiaries in the pedagogical shift to project-based learning. Students are now in the driver’s seat and  the teacher is the facilitator.  To make the shift work well, teachers must be open to the democratization of their classrooms; be willing to open up their own thinking to criticism. Students should realize efficacy in their efforts; empowered to lead rather than follow. Parents, too, are stakeholders when they seek to hold the system accountable for authentic learning by becoming involved.

How does an educator design and implement quality project-based learning? They need to understand that it’s a steep learning curve for all involved at the beginning. ‘Planning sessions must focus on long-term sustainability instead of a just one-off workshop.’ (TeachThought)

“Project-based learning can be a gateway-drug for seeing students’ strengths, interests, and talents. AND for recognizing a NEED for something MORE.”                                                                              ~ Ginger Lewman

Teachers must balance project-based learning with testing, accountability, curriculum and pacing. They need to begin to think differently about testing and accountability; learning to think trumps content every time. Today, teaching is going under some fundamental changes requiring a lot of soul searching about outcomes and authenticity.

What does quality feedback look like and how do you assess the success of project-based learning? High quality project-based learning leads to the creation of a product such as a display, performance, or construction. Assessments include peer and self-assessment, are both formative and summative, develop content and success skills,  as well as process and products. (Getting Smart)

You can take project-based learning to the next level with more sophisticated project design and assessment. Self-reflection completes a quality project-based learning  experience through journaling, presentation and/or group discussion. Performance tasks should reflect competency by demonstrating knowledge and skills. The projects will show authentic learning including student choice and voice. A transcript of this chat can be found at Storify.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered        by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at:


PBL and LifePractice PBL

Ginger Lewman (website)

About Ginger Lewman

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4 Things All Project-Based Learning Teachers Should Do

Using Project-Based Learning to Flip Bloom’s Taxonomy for Deeper Learning

Does Your Teaching Have the 4 Categories of High-Quality PBL?

Project-Based Learning Is Here to Stay: Let’s Make Sure It’s High Quality

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PBL is Here to Stay: Let’s Make Sure It’s High Quality (Part 1)

PBL is Here to Stay: Let’s Make Sure It’s High Quality (Part 2)

Sprite’s Site: Grey Sneakers

Project Based Learning, Preparing Students for the Work Force of the Future

PBL and Special Student Populations

Motivating for Mastery: It Starts with a Simple Question

Essential Components for LifePractice PBL Planning (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Project-Based Learning Page

ESSDACK Education Products

3 Ingredients for Assessing Learning in the PBL Classroom

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Practicing PBL: Self-Directed Learning for Self-Starters (and finishers) (paid course)

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Pondering the Complexity of ‘Mastery’ Learning Assessment

Background photo courtesy of Flickr   CC BY-SA 2.0

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conard. Photo courtesy of Ginger Lewman.

Posted on September 17, 2017, in Critical Thinking, Education, gifted and talented, gifted education, STEM, Teaching, Technology and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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