Lee Hewes

is totes becoming a teacher…

Project walls in the #PBL classroom.

3 Comments

Anyone who reads any of the stuff I post online would probably be aware by now that I’ve been getting into project-based learning for quite some time. One of things that I’ve found useful on this journey is having an active project wall for each of my class projects. I’ve found that project walls are a valuable reflective tool that increase engagement in the learning process for both students and teachers alike, and something that we constantly refer back to, even when the project has finished. As it’s something I like to do, I thought I’d take some time to reflect on how I go about this process.

Initially, obviously, you need a bare wall. It should be completely empty at the start of a project IMO because at this stage no inquiry has taken place and everything is new. From here I like to put up the project outline and the driving question. It needs to be as colourful and visually appealing as possible in the primary classroom cos let’s face it, no one wants to look at a boring wall.

Early last year, in Michael’s classroom, I had a little tiny project wall happening. Here are some photos. I’ve lost access to later ones which show the final thing (perhaps there are some on Instagram) but this is how we started.

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In the photo above you can see an example of the interactive project wall with the KWL I put up with Michael’s class to help us decide where to head with the project.

Later last year, when I moved over to MEPS to work with Ashleigh, we had a larger wall and really began to use it more interactively. We put up the project outline, as mentioned above, and would constantly refer back to it as a means of formative assessment, looking at which stage of the project we were at, which of our inquiry questions had been answered, which might need to be revisited, and from there, where to go next. We’d cross off (or circle) what we had done and use that information to decide where we were headed.

For this project, we also started using a collaboration rubric which was also posted on the project wall and referred to when were engaged in team work or collaborative activities. I’ve posted about this before, so if interested, you can dig back through earlier posts to see how that went. Sadly, the photos of this wall are saved on an external hard drive in an iPhoto library which lags terribly when I try to access the photos. I can now understand why some have significant gripes with storing images in this type of library and must look into alternative storage.

Anyway, I feel that this year my walls have really taken on a life of their own. Below is a photo of the project wall for my term 1 ‘Awesome Aussie Animals’ project. I’m particularly proud of it, and we still actively use it in class.

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This is the finished product, but as you can see from the photos of Michael’s wall, the whole thing starts off bare, and grows as the project progresses from start to finish. On the wall above you can see the project outline on the left, the Driving Question down the bottom, and a whole bunch of student work everywhere else. The little words posted everywhere are a bunch of student generated nouns, verbs and adjectives that we learned throughout the project and we still refer to them as we revise these grammatical features for use in our other writing. The laminated pictures on the right of the wall are the slides we used for our final product, a series of paper slide videos made for a kindy class over in Indiana.

There is also a teamwork rubric on this wall, with student developed criteria, that we still actively use in class, so yeah, some things move from class to class, year group to year group.

At the moment I’m in the process of rescuing a creative writing project that went awry last term as I left to go overseas about halfway through. This is a wall still in development.

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3 thoughts on “Project walls in the #PBL classroom.

  1. Fantastic- what a great way to engage the kids!

  2. I’d be really interested in seeing what the student-developed criteria looks like in your teamwork rubric. I don’t work with kindy kids, but my kids having learning difficulties and I find it really challenging to get them to generate criteria when they don’t know what they don’t know. Of course, we reflect and adjust criteria as needs become apparent, but then the goalposts shift and my kids struggle with that change. How guided is your lesson that develops the criteria?

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