How to introduce Project Based Learning Learning Diary Astrid Hulsebosch

Hello my name is Astrid Hulsebosch and this is my learning diary made during my first course with the Teacher Academy. For me Long Life Learning is a must and a daily challenge. I feel it helps me to become a better teacher. Actually I'm a religion teacher in two little schools in Veneto/Italy.

I love water, once I was a sailor and surfer today I'm a creative and busy mum. I work as a religion teacher in italy in a primary school near venice


There is a difference between "doing projects" and PBL
created by Amy Mayer of the friEDTechnology blog

A little bit of history about PBL

"Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself."

Confucius and Aristotle were early proponents of learning by doing. Socrates modeled how to learn through questioning, inquiry, and critical thinking -- all strategies that remain very relevant in today's PBL classrooms. Fast-forward to John Dewey, 20th-century American educational theorist and philosopher, and we hear a ringing endorsement for learning that's grounded in experience and driven by student interest. Dewey challenged the traditional view of the student as a passive recipient of knowledge (and the teacher as the transmitter of a static body of facts). He argued instead for active experiences that prepare students for on going learning about a dynamic world. As Dewey pointed out, "Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." Maria Montessori launched an international movement during the 20th century with her approach to early-childhood learning. She showed through example that education happens "not by listening to words but by experiences upon the environment." The Italian physician and child-development expert pioneered learning environments that foster capable, adaptive citizens and problem solvers. Jean Piaget, the Swiss developmental psychologist, helped us understand how we make meaning from our experiences at different ages. His insights laid the foundation for the constructivist approach to education in which students build on what they know by asking questions, investigating, interacting with others, and reflecting on these experiences.




  • 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

1.2 Why to use PBL?


Why use PBL ? Why do you think PBL is not used more widely in our education systems? What is stopping us from achieving what is outlined in the video? What are the biggest challenges we as educators face and who is stopping us from adopting the PBL approach in our classrooms?
Why do I think that PBL is not used more widely in our eduction systems?

It's a complex to give an easy answer! There are many different levels but one of the important answers is national history. It's not usual to give your own and personal opion in a group, many people are beware of does who doesn't accept your point of view. Others think that even if you express your opion it will not change anything. In my working place it's not usual to share in public a different opion than the one of our headmaster. The more I live and think about what I'm living the more I feel the need to read and confront myself with others and grand thinkers. I'm convinced we need to try to a face the situation and to trying to understand the origin. Italian people need to increase their selfestishment. As teachers we have many special challenges to make a change for the future, but their for we need to study and work with passion, at first on our selves. We will need to learn better how to engage our collegeas, students and parents and to became a good team.

Seeking for balance & Progress

1.3 Rethinking my Teacher Pratice

"The method can only build up in the search - Here you have to accept to walk without a path to trace the path in the journey."

After almost twenty years I still need to find my way or better our way. I consider myself a longlife learning teacher needing to learn SO MUCH MORE.

I did courses about philosophy for children, cooperative learning. I would like to learn more about classroom management... I'm introducing bit by bit what I'm learning but I feel that I need to find a good learning method what is more than a kind of puzzle even if this puzzle could seem very nice.

Often I started little projects but realized them alone with my students (because many collegues are attached to traditional teaching methods), but I found out that it was really difficult to mantain my ideas because of National School Programs. I didn't learn how to define my goals with good driving questions and find a positive way to escape from the pression of a rigid strutture of evalution and bureaucracy on my working place. But I also missed an opportunity to confront my ideas with other teachers about these problems.

I think that we learned how to define good driving questions we will need to relate them in time, space and context. This is another problem for me teaching two hours a week in eight different classes and five different grades.

One of the problems in eduction today is the difficolty to find other teachers be able to work in a multidisplinair teams (specially in my place). Real World eduction needs collaboration between disciplines.

Teachers who embrace the Challenge of Innovation are no always well seen. Here for we need courrage and resilience.

For the moment for me it's a question of seeking a wise balance every day between seeking for challenge and flexibility, aware of the difficicolties of my peer teachers and using the right opportunies to engage them.

my current Teaching Practice

During my lessons this year I used Game Based Learning my children where invited to create little games about the things they learned. These games they create them most of the times together at home. I was a free activity but their praticipation was great. During my lessons we change activities and learning moments. We also had important moments out of our classrooms. I'm very interested in PBL because I'm sure I could complete our nowadays learning process better. I need to redifine better the learning goals and I want to learn how to conduct the process of evalution in a better way. PBL could help me to become a better organized teacher and help me to create opportunities to learn more effetively.

I also tryed out to create one big project as a background for my schoolprogram. I was interesting but I have many questions about this project and I feel I want to face my project differently in the future. More student engaged and in a real world context. ( Click on the door to open the site). During the year the internet connection was stopped so I had to find alternatives. We made lapbooks, it was a nice activity and my students liked it but another time I would like to give them more space to create these lapbooks on their own, better in little groups, so they can express more their own ideas and costructe their knowledge.

1.4 How to implement PBL effectively at school?

trigger critical thinking

1.5 The Driven Question


One of the first steps in preparing a PBL approach is to identify a project question or problem, often referred to as "the driving question". Effectively, 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.

To be a "driving" one:
  • The question is appealing to students.
  • The question taps into students’ interests and passions.
  • The question does not sound like a test question.
  • There is more than one answer to the question.
  • The question leads to more questions.
  • The topic is personal or local.
  • Students can relate to the question in their daily lives.
  • The question is concise.
  • Students will have choices for end products.
  • There is an authentic audience for the project.
  • The question requires serious investigation.
  • Students will learn important skills and content.
  • The question has no easy answer.
  • The project will somehow make a difference in the world.

As I teach religion on a primary school and want to purpose the learning activity to my Fifth Class (children from 10-11 years old)

My Driven Question: How can we create a (Virtual, but not necessary) Museum (Exhibition) about the most charityful people in the year 2016 (The Year of Mercy)

To check out my question I asked my kids. Starting to talk with them we learned that it's not easy to find a definition for 'charityful people'. Their first questions where what kind of charity? What do you mean by charity?- I said find it out, find your people and say me why you think they are charityful. First of all children could make a brainstorm a see what they think charity is. Then they could Google or find some definitions. We can seek for some examples together. They could make a list with principle characteristics.

As a realworld connection I choose to use an actual period 'in the year 2016', they will be free the choose children, young people or indifferently.

LEARNING GOALS : Delined with my learning goals we could look at the background of these people, seek where they took their ispiration, what moves these persons.

  1. Deeper understanding of the meaning of love.
  2. Exploring and recognize ethic and religious values in the real world
  3. Respect and apprecciate people of different cultures and religions
  4. Learn to understand and see the main goal of Cristianity: 'Love one another as I have loved you.' ( GV 15.12-17)


  1. Collaboration skills: Focusing on: The process of making decisions
  2. Thinking Skills: Inquiry and Organization: Try to be create good e complete synthese, try to be original and riorganize / remake content.
  3. Digital Skills: Focusing on: Use with creativity tools you already know. ( Thinglink) Production & Curation Creation
  4. Communication Skills: Focusing on: Show how what you learned.


Normally I always like to take my time to generate my learning activities this time I felt I was a bit pressed by the deadline. But in this moment I would like to relook at my driving question by myself.

First of all I think that the title needs to become more involving. What about?!

Go & Find REAL love HEREOS


At the heart of the PBL process is effective collaboration, be that as part of a group of students exploring your driving question or be that as part of working with outside actors who can provide meaning and feedback on the students' work.


  • 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

Effective Collaboration for PBL inside the Classroom

Students Need to Learn How to Work in a Team

2.4 Finding collaboration partners outside the classroom

Although our school is situated in a very little city we have a lot a good and important industries who good share great learning experiences with us., the Grafica Veneto where allthe Harry Potter books around the world were stamped. Unfortunately till know we didn't know how to make a good use of it. I'm sure it realy needs to become one of our future goals. I noticed that many teachers are afraid to introduce parents into the school. You are to be prepared and be able to share good learning plans. A few years ago promoted one project with parents who became a part of our digital team, because of their social e leading competences they also gave some support in how to introduce a new way of collaborative learning with tecnologies. The project is still going on and the parents who are helping are becoming more every year. This project could become a trampoline for other future projects.

2.5 Collaboration Tools

2.6 P2P - Building your PBL Learning Design

PBL Assessment Resources

“When you do something noble and beautiful and nobody noticed, do not be sad. For the sun every morning is a beautiful spectacle and yet most of the audience still sleeps.” Lennon

3. Developing PBL student-driven activities

Getting students' to develop grit and resilience to stay with a problem or project even though they have failed previously is one the most difficult parts of PBL and at the core of developing a student-driven environment.


  • 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

Students should jump into the deep and learn through their failures. Providing them too much support makes them dependent.

3.1 Scaffolding for Student Ownership and Independence

  • Let your students seek answers indepently
  • Give your students a voice and a choice in the process
  • Make time for reflection and revision
  • Have students track their own process
Education has very little to do with explanation or logic... it has to do with following in love with the materia! SEYMOUR PAPERT

It's not easy to believe in our students when you see their are infront of big problems or in a great worry. I think we need as teacher to learn to trust, to believe , in the enormous potentiality. Evertime I found the courage, I had big and unforgettable surprises. They need our support but also the possibility to build their own progress.

3.2 Developing Student Resilience

What is resilience? Resilience refers to the capacity to return to good mental health after challenging and difficult situations. Resilience is acombination 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.

Reverse Brainstorming- Identify how we as teachers can weaken our student's confidence and independence. Use your own and others' reflections to help you create a classroom environment that supports students to become confident and independent learners.

3.3 An Entrepreneurial Mindset

3.4 Using Design Thinking to foster Entrepreneurial Skills and Mindset Webinar with Entrepreneurship Expert Kornélia Lohyňová

3.5 P2P - Building your PBL Learning Design

Let's continue working on our PBL Learning Design. Focus on scaffolding for student independence and ownership, building resilience and an entrepreneurial mindset in general. Try to include a TLA where students reflect about their own work and how they can improve it, thereby supporting independence and ownership over the learning process. After adding these TLAs your Design should ideally provide opportunity for students to identify the questions they would like to pursue (within the context of your Driving Question) to make choices on all key project-related aspects such as resources used, products created, use of time, etc.

After all,if you want to know, if you are on your way, look at this video!

4. Assessing PBL

The learning objectives for this module are:

  • 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
what is right and what wrong? You know?

My Assessment Context

I live and work in Italy our government is promoting with a lot of energy. Competence Based Learning. Schools are investing in course about assessment but I note many difficulties to proceed and to change existing systems. School innovation and different assessment go together. This year I went into a crise because I realy feel and recognize that the actual way of assessment in my Istitute doesn't corrispond with actual needs...I'm obliged to prepare my pupils fort these assesments and it costs me double time. I tried to share my opinions and feeling. Some teachers understand others don't bother so much about... I trying out new modules, and this year my pupils created several 'compiti autentici'. I feel that I need to learn to make better rubrics, here for I started a collection on Pinterest, I 'm studying how other teahers aroundthe world en face this problem and I discovered some tools during my longlife learning training. ( Thanks also to the Courses of the EUROPEAN SCHOOLNET) My pupils are enthusiast and I'm conviced they learned much deeper and not only they are more consious about the skills the have and what to do to increase them.

4.1 Teachmeet

A TeachMeet is an informal way of sharing ideas amongst teachers. It's similar to a webinar except that you, the participants, are the speakers. Take a look at the video below to get an impression of how a Teachmeet works.

The 12 speakers have been selected from the numerous applications received last week. All speakers get a maximum of 3 minutes each to present their idea, tool, resource, etc.

4.2 Embedding Assessment into PBL

Assessment as part of PBL should not only come at the end but should be seen as a learning activity that is embedded throughout the PBL process.

4.3 Peer Assessment for PBL

Critical Friends Protocol

PADLET DISCUSSION: Since I followed the ESNA Courses, the pratice of peer assesment in my classroom increased. I noticed that my students are very critical ab severe. Together we can learn to see things in different ways. I'm convinced peer assessment stimolates critical thinking and involve the students more in their learning process. It's very important to stimolate them in good comunication skills, in being respectful, attentive and how to motivate each other writing or giving an oral a peerview. That why I loved the last video about the Critical Friends Protocol!

Thank you Anthippi Harou!

4.4 Creating & Using Rubrics for PBL Assessment

As collaboration and project-based learning become preeminent ways of teaching and learning, many teachers struggle with how to evaluate these types of lessons. Traditional methods of evaluation, which have many flaws on their own, are not well-suited for interdisciplinary, multi-modal learning. Teachers need ideas for encouraging students, providing meaningful feedback, and setting students up for success.

4.5 P2P - Your PBL Learning Design

I was affraid I wouldn't fix it but I did. Time to celebrate


Flip Your Students' Role in PBL

Created By
Astrid Hulsebosch


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