Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It's All About That Project, 'bout That Project, No Tests. #PBL #EdChat

My Freshmen have been turning in their projects and presenting their work to class this past week and part of last week. The assignment was pretty simple. Take the essay that you wrote and turn it into a visual presentation. They needed to choose a theme in the novel Of Mice and Men and support it with examples from the text. They were not limited to the type of project they could choose. The students have created some amazing items.

I've had students do puppet shows and create dioramas to express the different examples. There were plenty of Prezis with videos and pictures embedded to add a bit more to a typical presentation. There was one that stood out the most that I want to share here. A student decided to create a whiteboard video and, with the help of her mom, created something awesome.

Hannah took a concept and was able to explore it and share her thoughts in a way that was meaningful to her. She had fun and was able to convey complex relationships in a way that the ret of the class was engaged when she presented. She had fun and wanted to go first to share what she had done. This is the power of a project. What multiple choice test could inspire this type of passion and dedication. I'm still shocked by those that are still committed to the worksheet and the 50 question multiple choice test. Here is just another example of why Projects trump exams every time. 


  1. What an insightful choice of theme for this work.

  2. What a great way to stop the consistent testing in the classroom and allow for students to show their creativity!

    One question I would like to address is the subjective grading that could potentially arise from projects such as these. How would an artistically-inclined student fare compared to one that lacks "artistic" skills. In some sense, multiple choice questions are able to dispel some bias when it comes to grading (although that can be argued). I feel that project based work can be even tougher when grades must be handed out.

    1. Unless it's an art class, I don't think that students would be graded on artistic skills. Hannah didn't draw amazingly detailed pictures, but she was able to get her point across. When grading projects, rubrics are a teacher's best friend. They can allow for the freedom of expression of students but still give boundaries and guidance for the creation of better artifacts.

  3. Great post! I too love having students show their knowledge through projects. I find they are sometimes difficult to grade. However, the process is so much more important than the final letter grade anyway!

  4. Unfortunately the time it takes for students to do these involved projects (not just time spent on projects but understanding the content well enough to create the projects to begin with) is what keeps them from being done more often. Content is still king in many classrooms because of testing. :(

    BTW love the instrumental of Chandelier, where did she find it? If only I could play my ukulele like that ;)


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