Your PBL Checklist

Your PBL ChecklistProject Based Learning (PBL) has been touted as one (of many) cure-alls for education. It’s an elixir of academically challenging work mixed in with some social-emotional skill development, and a dash of innovation. Projects range in complexity and creativity, from designing a board game about the fall of the Roman Empire to building a sustainable urban garden. PBL can cultivate new skills for students, such as learning to tactfully work with group members who aren’t doing their parts, or standing up in front of a panel of community members to justify their urban garden.


But like a cross-country road trip in an aging RV (sound familiar?), PBL isn’t for the faint of heart. Not only do you have to develop and stick to a plan—you also need the flexibility to adjust as you and your class move along the project. And don’t forget helping students navigate the emotional demands of a project. If you’re ready for the journey, use the following checklist next time you embark on the PBL trek.


❏      A problem to solve

❏      Marketing skills to sell your students on the idea

❏      An audience with whom you can share students’ projects

❏      A way to evaluate group collaboration

❏      100 ways to give positive feedback (other than “good job”)

❏      An outline of content students will be learning

❏      A quality high five

❏      Teacher friends to bounce ideas off of

❏      An outline of skills students will be perfecting

❏      A student-constructed rubric to guide your evaluation

❏      A penciled-in calendar

❏      A giant pink eraser

❏      Time set aside to monitor project progress

❏      A flexible project timeline

❏      3 different ways students can share or present their projects

❏      A chance for students to explain the process and their learning

❏      A chance to reflect and adjust your project for next year

❏      An upbeat playlist while students loudly collaborate

❏      A portfolio to document students’ projects throughout the year

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