My PBL learning diary by Marisa Badini




I teach English to childen from 6 to 11 and I'm always updating, to reach pupils interests and needs and face the challenges of XXI Century. I'm the Headmaster Deputy and I collaborate for innovation and the internalisation process of our school . I love my job and I'm an enthusiastic eTwinner , where I found great opportunities of professional development, pupils motivation and engagement. Thanks to Erasmus KA1 I attended a training course on CLIL in London and made two jobs shadowing in Spain and Bulgaria. We received the partner teachers in our school this year and it was an awesome experience for me, my pupils and the whole school team. I implemented my professional development through eTwinning Learning Events on CLIL , Gamification, New Technologies; a MOOC on Moodle 4 teachers, workshops and seminars. Moreover I had the wonderful chance to take part in the eTwinning "Mediterranean seminar for Primary teachers in Athens" I'm really happy to attend this course, sharing reflections, steps , ideas with the wonderful teachers enrolled and the great expert team. I hope to reach the goals and start the new school year with new, great energy, just proposing my PBL!


My public school organisation is VIII Circolo and is made up by two Primary schools :Don Minzoni and Carella and 5 Pre-Primary schools. I teach at Don Minzoni Primary school.

My school is located in Piacenza, in the North West of Italy, not far from Milan.

Piacenza is a quite small town, with a rich historical background, since it was founded by Romans, on the right side of river Po. In our classes we have some children with different cultures and languages, coming from East Europe, South America or China. Moreover there are pupils with special needs or disabilities who need support and interaction with schoolmates.

Therefore the priority is for educational projects to encourage the use of a plurality of languages and tools. In fact we use different methods and promote real experiences in order to offer our children an active and integrated learning, taking into account emotional, social, physical ,and cultural aspects ,in a word “ real life". There are teachers formed in Feuerstein method , Cooperative learning, Life skills, CLIL, Coding and Robotics,and update their competence with training courses.

.We take special care in healthy education, with projects as Pedibus (walk to school); Infea (ecological curriculum of school for a sustainable development of the community and the global environment); Sport training and cooperation with Sport clubs; Gardening lab: growth of fruit, trees and vegetables at school; Music Projects with young school choir and teacher choir, Theatre, Art, Science, archeological labs, eTwinning projects.We were selected from our Ministry of Education for a project on Coding and Robotics and for“Eccellenza CLIL”( nets of schools).

We also work in school nets for preventing early school leaving, integration of pupils of different nationality, competences and vertical curriculum.

From 2011 we are involved in International projects, from Comenius multilateral partnership (2011/2013) to Comenius Assistantship "with a German Assistant (2013/2014) and Erasmus KA1 (2014/2016). The last one strengthened the continuity of the two schools orders, introducing English teaching in Pre-Primary and implementing CLIL in Primary schools. Moreover it contributed to the development of digital competences and international collaboration of our teacher community.


Learning Outcomes

Understand what PBL is and isn't

Reflect on our own teaching practice and how this corresponds to a PBL approach

Identify different components of effective PBL and which of these will be the most challenging in our context

Develop a first idea for implementing a PBL approach in our context and formulate a driving question

1.1 What is PBL

PBL is all about the process and the learning that happens as part of this process. In other words the project is the main course.

I collected some inspiring infographics I found focusing on PBL in a presentation.

Here are the essential project design elements and the videos introducing PBL.

1.2 Why use it

Watching the videos and reading about PBL, I really agree on the importance of developing Critical thinking, collaboration and communication . I use inquiry based approach in teaching, cause I strongly think that's important to stimulate pupils curiosity and motivation. I involve pupils in project making, asking them to give their contribute in mapping the steps . I also use "cooperative learning"approach, promoting active participation through role -assignement and decision making, so that pupils can give real contributes to reach the shared goal ..Anyway I want to explore and learn much more about PBL , in order to acquire more confidence and avoid wrong steps or miss some fundamental ones. I appreciate the time this training course is offered: it will let me "time" for reflection, to recollect materials and ideas, designing future paths.. That's true: You don't learn from experience but from your reflection on the experience! Finding ways to do better and help pupils to develop real competence for real life...

A continuous challenge!

1.3 P2P - Reflections on our current teaching practice

I try to involve my pupils and give them an active role in their learning process .That's why I try to insert the learning goals in a real context or engage pupils in creative simulations..

I start new topics linking them to pupils experience, I use problem solving to give sense to their learning process and cooperative learning or pair work to foster a creative role and self esteem. That's why I find eTwinning projects a great resource to develop communication skills in a real contest, dealing with different topics, that affect other subjects. I've just ended a path in CLIL Geography with a fifth grade, making some itineraries in our town for our partner teachers coming from Bulgaria for a job shadowing in our school. Pupils were involved in choices and development of the process to reach the goal.

I think PBL is a great resource and I could apply it with my future fifth grade pupils. I'm sure it will be of great help to them and to me, as well. I think every topic can be used, provided it will be processed in a communicative contest ,fostering vocabulary and chunks connected with the curriculum,( with possible extensions and transcurricular links). making exchanges with schools from different Countries.So my driving question could be a topic for an eTwinning project.

I teach English in different classes of Primary school,. from first to fifth grade. I collaborate with the classes team , particulary doing CLIL modules, or trancurricular projects.

I try to involve my pupils and give them an active role in their learning process .That's why I try to insert the learning goals in a real context or engage pupils in creative simulations..

Assessment made By Anna Chiarenza date 15-06-2016 16:17


Marisa, I think that your work is very important as you teach your young students to work not only in a cooperative way but also giving them real tasks to be fulfilled. Your students will surely be the perfect students of our future school. PBL will surely enhance your teaching and your students' learning. I am sure that it can be a good eTwinning project. You could add some activities done with the programmes we are starting to use such as Kahoot, quizzis, socrative.

Thank you, Anna Chiarenza! I'll take into account your useful advice !

1.4 The five components of good PBL

A very inspiring video, clarifying the basics of PBL. I definitely agree with the five keys. I teach English in a Primary school and I think that the most challenging component is the right driving question, To work, it must have a real value for pupils: it has to respond, directly or indirctly , to their needs.They have to feel the question important , involving their emotions, as well. If we can do it, we'll have a good starting.

Moreover it must have a communicative aim. As I teach English as a second Language, I think it would be great to share our PBL to other schools in different countries, maybe working together on the process , to reach a common aim. eTwinning will be helpful for this purpose!

Now I have to think about a class of mine...and a driving question that could fit.


1.6 P2P - Your PBL Design: Formulating your DRIVING QUESTION

this question should be the guiding principle for the entire PBL process that you will go through with your students. The question should be open-ended, engage and inspire students by creating curiosity, and be aligned to the learning goals you would like to achieve.

I teach English in Primary school, experimenting CLIL. My first aim is to improve language communication skills inside a real communicative contest, implementing other content subjects knowledge and skills.I think that a good PBL must focus on pupils needs ... For real communication in English we need to find international partners, in order to share our PBL aims and steps: class collaboration and international collaboration would be the ideal basis.( an eTwinning project will fit!)

My driving question is : How can we make our school "Game-friendly"?

Knowledge: different types of games / materials/resources/spaces/ rules...

Understanding: rules, how to play, what we need... Analysing and evaluating possible games in our school ...

Skills: - communication in English - investigating possible indoor/outdoor games/space/ time/ ...(what?/where? when? who?) - improving game-related abilities (open fileld: from sport to gamification or; Maths/Geography/English... Olimpic Games) - interview to grandparents to Know about "games of the past "- comparing with other Countries...


1.Assessment made By Bianca Giangrande date 14-06-2016 09:0.

Comment. I really like your ideas , I also teach in schools where there is little aptitude for teaching the game . It should be entered daily during the lessons . Good luck

2.Assessment made By Σπύρος Σπύρης date 15-06-2016 00:18

Comment. What an interesting driving question Marisa! I am sure your students will love this project as they are interested in games. Your driving question is indeed open-ended with more than one possible outcomes, it is aligned to your learning goals and you cannot use Google to answer it. Well done and good luck with your project!

Spiros, Greece2.

Thanks, dear colleagues. Now I have to start with my Learning Design.

Module 2 - Developing effective collaboration in pbl

learning objectives

Understand how different types of collaboration can be used in the context of PBL

Develop a series of strategies and activities to promote effective collaboration between students

Develop a series of strategies and activities to promote effective collaboration with actors outside of the classroom

  • Share a picture that shows or represents collaboration for you, together with a brief explanation of why you have chosen this picture

I love this picture! It shows how putting energies together and collaborating for a common goal really works. Moreover the bridge is a symbol of union, overcoming difficulties and opening to new discoveries. The ants can go on , now...and with them lots of other ants or bugs can benefit from this work.

2.1 I took part in the Twitter Chat on 13th June. #pblcourse Discussion Topic: How do you implement PBL in the classroom?

Great participation and a very exciting interaction, thanks to the inspiring questions of Bart Verswijvel ! Amazing to be all WINNERS!

2.2 What is effective collaboration?

A key goal of PBL is not the project but rather the process of building the project. Learning happens while working on the project. And one of the key things students should be learning as part of this process is effective collaboration. The keys of effective collaboration are : work together with shared responsability, make substantive decisions; work in interdependant way

Reflections on the nature of collaboration happening in my classroom. I actually try to foster EFFECTIVE COLLABORATION. For example, working on an eTwinning project on Mediterranean castles and legends the first goal of the groups was to choose a castle in our environment, research information and elaborate them in order to make a presentation for the partner classes and a school audience. 1. Pupils in the groups shared opinions and discussed, to choose a castle. 2.They discussed on HOW to research information and then on how to organise information and plan the presentation (Shared resposability and substantive decisions) 3. Finally they shared the roles in order to carry out the activities and get ready for the presentation (Interdependent work). The communication to the audience was performed by the whole group ; each member was engaged to illustrate an aspect. There was a class backstage too: the groups gave reasons for their choices and made a meta-reflection on the process , the strenghts and the weaknesses ...

Another great eTwinning project "Opening wings to Universe" had a PBL approach: from the suggestions inspired by a painting (The big family, by Magritte)) , pupils, in groups, were engaged to find a context and foster their creativity through drawings, music, stories, role plays ...each group was free to follow a favourite path, and find solutions to express their messages. Building a theatre , puppets, backgrounds, collaborative posters,music, dances and stories, they gave life to the dove in the painting and to their derams, as well. They worked collaboratively, sharing responsabilities and substantive decisions, created final products and shared them with the partner schools and a local audience. Pair assessments and groups feedbacks were of great help in the process, in order to reach the final outcomes. Teacher's assessments were focused on language communication skills and groups collaboration, with the aim to enhance their improvement. An amazing journey that made pupils actively involved and resilient, in order to reach their goal. (That's why Magritte's painting is the cover of my Learning Diary : suggestions are endless...)

2.3 Effective collaboration for PBL inside the classroom

2.3 Effective Collaboration for PBL inside the Classroom

Dotstorm entry 1.I usually propose "Circle time" and , inside it, "Speaking Ball" to foster positive attitudes. A kid throws the ball to another one starting a sentence (ex. "Peace is...."

"Let's start...." Today we....") The receiving kid must end the sentence. Every time kids that are close say and do "Give me five!" or just "You are great!" or other positive feedbacks previously chosen.

2. Sometimes I write three/four sentences for each short story (five/ six different stories) I give some pupils half a sentence and they have to walk around and find the classmate with the matching part . Then the pair look for other pairs with a sentence about the same story. When the groups are done , they have to find the right order and eventually read them aloud .

Other groups have to mime what they are listening. (The funniest part!):

Here's an outdoor collaborative Circle Time: action songs, chants and more... "Let's make a circle, a big, big circle" ( City Camp experience with A.c.l.e.)

2.4 Collaboration outside the classroom


I teach English as a second language in Primary school. I run CLIL projects, planning the steps with the different teacher teams ,to involve pupils in meaningful actions and processes. We often collaborate with public or private organisations, as -Municipality ; -Museums (we exposed the classes robots at "Museo di Scienze naturali" with pupils explaining); -Public Agencies (IREN, ARPA),; - shop keepers and shop chains, like "Le Roy Merlin" or "OBI";--sport clubs or associations; - ONLUS like UNICEF or "Caritas" for solidarity projects; -local Artists; -Gardiners; - a retired people association called "Gli Stagionati" (volunteers interacting with our school in a real effective way), - -local media (Piacenzasera /Libertà). Of course it depends on the projects... For Robotics project we collaborated with "The First Lego League" in Genoa. At the end we exposed our works there, with pupils' direct presentation.


However for a real, meanful communication in English I involve pupils in eTwinning projects, where they can deal with a topic or a path that requires common goals,communication, shared decisions, and often engages them in games, polls or interviews useful for the project process. Meeting other cultures helps kids, opening their minds and developing critical thinking . That's why it's my favourite resource, and pupils love taking part in international projects, as well!

Pupils had the chance to communicate in English in a real context during the job shadowing of Bulgarian teachers in our school. (ERASMUS PLUS KA1) Presenting our CLIL projects was a great opportunity to have a special audience and make pupils prouds of their work.

2.5 Collaborative tools

In Primary school my favourite tools are PADLET and AnswerGarden, very easy to manage and helpful for quick but effective collaboration. We used Googlemaps , Scribblemaps and Tripline for a CLIL Geography path. We also make use of Storyjumper, Kizoa, Windows Movie Maker, Storyboardthat... Prezi, Voki, PPT, Photocollada, Canvas, Photoflexer

We used them in eTwinning projects as well. In "Safer Internet Day collaborative event" with different European schools, we made use of "Adobe connect" (eTwinning tool for online events) and Padlet.

Furthermore our great resource is the Twinspace of the eTwinning projects. By posting and watching our works(photos, videos, files) we collaborate to carry on the project and collaborative activities.

Skipe is another tool we use easily, giving pupils the chance to discuss and work, collaborating at great distances, but yet, "face to face".


Use the following shortened URL to share the design: https://v.gd/zFd6XTMO

ASSESSMENTS: Review made By Anna Pepe date 24-06-2016 10:55

Review made By Rosa Luisa Nóbrega da Silva Gaspar date 22-06-2016 21:52

Thanks dear Anna and Rosa for your kind reviews . They help me to go on and do my best!

module 3. Developing student-driven activities for PBL

learning objectives

Understanding the importance of scaffolding the PBL process so that students increasingly develop independence and ownership over the tasks

Understanding the importance of a positive environment and mindset for building student confidence and resilience

Developing a range of activities, strategies and tools that facilitate an entrepreneurial mindset and entrepreneurial skills

Resilience - staying with problems

As a starter activity, briefly describe a situation in your professional or personal life where you were first unsuccessful but because you stuck with it you succeeded in the end. Finish by identifying why you stuck with the problem/task and did not give up .

I remember my first attempt on making an exercise in the Learning Event "Augmented Reality". I wasn't able to reach my goal and I first felt disappointed : I could watch such wonderful works made by other participants... I spent many hours in managing to succeed and I tried again and again...Finally I was able to produce a very poor work, but I had done it!!!

When I published it first, the link didn't work...I tried a second time and finally the miracle happened! I was publishing it on time and, best of all, the experts ( Arjana Blazic and Bart Verswijvel ) congratulated! I was so happy! And went on with a new strenght .

They had perfectly understood my efforts and helped me to improve my resilience and self esteem. I thank them now for such a wonderful contribute: we were a lot but they were able to give everyone the right psycological support!

That's what I hope to be able to give my pupils, so that they can became independant and never give up!

3.1 Scaffolding for Student Ownership and Independence

If we want PBL to be a student-driven learning process we cannot simply give students independence and hope they wil just take charge of the process. Students' ownership over the process needs to develop as part of PBL and it is our job to scaffold classroom activities in such a way that allows such ownership to develop.

I reflected on the video : it's a very useful guidance to remember that students need to be educated to improve their ownership and independance. So we. as teachers, have to graduate and propose activities to reinforce this process inside PBL.

They really need to JUMP INTO THE DEEP and we have to help them reach their INDEPENDENCE. That's why we have to give guidance, but without too much support. I have to think about this and plan possible actions to help students' growth in ownership, even if they are in Primary school. Educating them to understand they can fail, sometimes, but they are working to reach their goal, will reinforce their positive attitudes. I think we have to praise students' attempts, even if they are not successful: just praise their engagement to face the problem and look for a solution is a positive step!

Here is a great example on what learning feels like... I shared it on PBL fb page and on Twitter. It fits with my process in this course, as well!

3.2 Developing student resilience

What is resilience? It comes from the Latin resilire, “to bounce back”. Resilience refers to the capacity to return to good mental health after challenging and difficult situations. It is not one specific thing, but a combination of skills and attributes that help to solve problems, cope with challenges, adapt and bounce back when things don´t go as planned. Resilient people learn from their mistakes, they look at their failures and mistakes as lessons to be learned from, and as opportunities for growth

The "Reverse Brainstorming" I share this entry from Elisabetta Margaria in the Padlet : I agree!

When a teacher wants to "achieve the goal" of weaken his students, he can: -criticise them in public -give them a negative label -show them how little he believes in their ability... -...or how little he likes his work -but also overprotect them (they become afraid of everything!!!!

I've been impressed by this video showing famous people failures: they stucked and succeeded.

3.3 Entrepreneurial mindset

For students to take ownership of the PBL process and move their own and their peer's learning forward, they need to have an entrepreneurial mindset. This video analyses how we can cultivate it.

3.3 Webinar from Kornelia Lohyňová on 22nd June 2016

This week's live event was a webinar focussing on entrepreneurial skills and mindsets and how innovative teaching methods can foster such skills and mindsets in our students. This will allow our students to be successful in a PBL environment. The webinar, presented by Kornélia Lohyňová, talked about how we can use a "Design Thinking" approach in our teaching to support entrepreneurial skills development. Kornélia introduced the basics of key concepts such as "Design Thinking" and entrepreneurial skills and then address specific steps and activities for classroom practice including: finding problems to explore, identifying target users of our solutions, designing and prototyping solutions, presenting solutions and getting feedback.

3.5 P2P

My Learning design is in progress: I sent it for review. I went on, taking into account the Driving Question and all the useful videos, reflections, inputs from the experts and the participants that I could read, explore or share in PBL socials. I'm waiting for this evening Socialmeet! (27th June)

Assessment made By Rosa Crispino date 28-06-2016 21:11


Dear Marisa, I have read carefully your learning diary and I like it very much, especially yhe idea of mirror paper and the proposal of different games. Next year I'll have a fourth class and I'm thinking to use your project.

Thanks dear Rosa Crispino for your nice review!

5.6 eTwinning Learning Event "How to Develop Resilience at School"

" If you are interested to explore the topic of resilience in more detail, make sure to check out the upcoming Learning Event on the eTwinning platform about "How to Develop Resilience at School". The Learning Event has been designed and will be led by our course moderator Kornélia Lohyňová so this will be an excellent opportunity for you to explore this topic in more depth. Importantly, the Learning Event does not only focus on building student resilience but also building our own resilience as teachers.

The Learning Event will take place in September with the exact date still to be confirmed so keep an eye out on the eTwinning Live platform."

I'm interested to learn more in order to help my pupils and develop my own resilience, so I will participate in this LE.

5. assessing pbl


Understanding the difference between formative and summative assessment

Understanding how assessment can be embedded into PBL activities

Understanding what a rubric is and why it can help us assess PBL

Develop a finalised and rigorous PBL implementation Learning Design

5.1 Teachmeet - Mon 27th June 18:30h

I took part as a follower: a great experience, with such useful, amazing presentations! Thanks to the teachers who shared their experience!

5.2 Embedding Assessment into PBL

This video shows examples on how embedding assessment into PBL

Formative Assessment Techniques

Identify simple formative assessment techniques that can be easily embedded into PBL

I teach English in Primary school and I often use emoticons to give feedback.

Pupils have some signs, too , made by themselves, showing the grade of agreement in discussions or in groups proposals evaluations ( Well done / Quite well/ to be improved...)

I ask pupils to give reasons .

I also ask for self evaluation, making a list of the criteria they have to follow.

In class 5 I ask pupils to propose criteria for assessment.

Some useful infographics provided by other participants, focusing on Assessment.

4.3 Pair assessment

This video features concrete examples and student's views on peer assessment's that are done in a classroom using a PBL approach. In the video the students use the Ladder of Feedback, a useful tool to help us structure peer assessment with students

4.4 Creating & Using Rubrics for PBL Assessment

A rubric for CLIL assessment in PBL ( it can be used as a model for my PBL, with CLIL approach)

4.5 P2P :Your pbl Learning Design

Shortened link to my LEARNING DESIGN https://v.gd/4td41O

Final assessments

1.Assessment made By Maria Lucia Savino date 02-07-2016 13:53

2.Assessment made By Maria Grazia Sassu date 02-07-2016 15:08

Thank you dear colleagues, for your assessment! It was great to have your feedback! I will run my 'PBL with a fifth grade. I'll try to make my best from what I learnt in this Course, implementing my formative path thanks to the useful links I were offered and to my participations in PBL groups.


The webinar was presented by María Jesús García San Martín and hosted by Nair Carrera Martinez

María Jesús García San Martín is Head of the Online Teacher Training and Social Networks Department at the National Institute for Educational Technologies and Teacher Training (INTEF) in the Spanish Ministry of Education.

She holds a Master’s Degree as a Teacher at University Rey Juan Carlos (URJC) in Madrid and Online Teacher Trainer at the Virtual School by Castilla-La Mancha. Over the last 30 years, she has been an ESL teacher at various levels, private centres and state-run Schools of Languages, she has coordinated the MALTED Educational Project for INTEF, and the online ‘Editing Web Pages with Dreamweaver’ course at Mentor Virtual Classroom. She has broadcasted educational series of podcasts for the state-run Network of Best Educational ICT Practices as well as for EducaconTIC, managed the national Blog on ICT and Foreign Languages for INTEF, contributed to the Spanish state run WikiDidácTICa, Agrega (educational open source resource bank by the Spanish Ministry of Education), and Internet en el Aula, where she was in charge of hosting weekly educational webinars at WizIQ.

From 2013 until 2015 she worked as a Technical and Pedagogical Advisor at INTEF, where she is now running the national Department of Online Teacher Training and Social Networks. She currently writes the Stop and Learn English blog. From time to time she contributes to Cero en Conducta(Professional Social Network on Media Literacy and Audiovisual Language), The Observatory for Technological and Educational Innovation (ODITE), and a wide range of internationally known educational collaborative projects.

FLIP YOUR STUDENT'S ROLE IN PROJECT BASED LEARNING was an inspiring webinar, with a passionate Maria Jesus GSM. Very useful, practical ideas to innovate teaching with PBL approach.

A wonderful ending... with fb and eTwinning groups to go on ! Fantastic course, moderators and participants.

Great THANKS to the moderators, Benjamin Hertz, Aikaterini Topalidou, Bart Verswijvel, Kornélia Lohyňová, Nair Carrera, to my reviewers and all the participants who put enthusiasm and engagement in this amazing course. I found a wonderful, inspiring group that made this course a LIVE PBL ! So many challenges and so many supports to improve resilience and reach our goal ! I quote Arjana Blazic's post on our fb page " The end of a learning journey is the beginning of another". New teachers groups are taking off, to implement collaboration and put into practice our projects. We are eager to make them grow with our students, cooperating to improve the process and the outcomes. Thanks, Arjana, great Angel Guardian!

Congratulations, dear moderators: your PBL was very well designed. Excellent work! Thanks again!

4.5 Shortened link to my LEARNING DESIGNER https://v.gd/4td41O

By Marisa Badini

Teacher of English

Headmaster Deputy, Erasmus Plus and eTwinning projects coordinator at Ottavo Circolo Piacenza, Italy