Where’s the starting point for student-centered learning experiences?

It’s tempting to try and hit a home run right out of the gates.

Tackle a complex issue like global warming, and give students complete choice into what project they choose and what organization they connect with.

But there’s a problem with this approach.

If you have never facilitated a project before, you will go from inspired…. to overwhelmed… to defeated in less than a week.

I know because it happened to me.

Instead, THINK BIG but start small.

What are simple projects connected to your classroom?  

?Designing a habitat for a class pet.
?Create a class constitution.
?Creating a class website
?Designing and managing a class garden in your outdoor space

Starting small will help you and your students feel success. You will learn the nuances of PBL, from how to manage student groups to how to create benchmarks and milestones.

Next, move PBL to positively impact the school community.

?Design healthier food choices in the cafeteria
?Lower the school’s carbon footprint
?Help the marketing team increase admissions
?Re-Design the school’s website
?Run a local market/ entrpreneurship fair, and use the outdoor space to exhibit

Equipped with the skills students built in classroom related projects, they will better be able to identify needs, work with multiple stakeholders, plan and pitch their own products.

This will create a natural segway for community-driven projects. 

? Students can work with NGOs to better integrate refugees or immigrants into the local community.
? Build tiny homes for the homeless
? Create disaster plans and kits for vulnerable families

Students can now partner comfortably with local NGOs and community organizations as they will know how to manage projects. You, the transformed facilitator, will be able to guide them and ask the right questions.

How do you build community connections for projects? Would love to get your input in a comment.