HI all, I am new to this group and thrilled to have found it!

I teach 8th grade English, and am attempting to create a more student-centered classroom every year.  I love everything about PBL, but I struggle to figure out how to apply this to literature/language arts related content.  I see how wonderful it is for Science and would love to operate my classroom like a language arts learning lab! 

Any ideas or resources for applying PBL to language arts would be greatly appreciated! 

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Hi Elizabeth,
Welcome to PBL~Better with Practice. You're going to find some terrific collaborators here.
I'm curious what sorts of projects you've tried already in your language arts class. What worked well? What didn't?
To see how another English teacher has used the project approach, you might check out Christian Long's Alice Project.
George Mayo, also a member of this group, is another inspiration.
Both teachers were guests in an NCTE Virtual Conference presentation this spring.
Thank you for those great links!! I have used wikis and classroom blogs with some successes and some frustrations...A big project I tried last year I called the "Dream House" project. It was non-fiction and research based. Students chose a foreign country to work with, and my assignment was for each student to read and research both that country in specific and the built environment in general and then design and build a model of their dream house to be built in that country and reflect that culture. There were guided reading, vocabulary, and writing assignments along the way that students could choose from using a points system. Each student had an individual points goal to reach to complete the project.

I used one rubric to grade all work, still grading got to be a nightmare. Some students handled the independent nature of the work well, others not so well. Some parents complained that I wasn't teaching English. One student chose to complete several chapters out of the workbooks that I never use in place of the assignment :o). Several students wrote like crazy, and a handful of the houses were amazing!
For your Dream House project, did students build an actual model? Or sketch? Curious whether anyone used Google Sketchup?
If you were to do this project again, would you consider having students work in teams? You'd have fewer projects to assess. But more importantly, students would benefit from collaboration and learning to work with their peers.
Suzie, students built actual models...one that comes to mind was on wheels, it was hilarious! I haven't used Google Sketchup, that looks very intriguing!! They did work in groups at times, but not for the final house... that's something I may change if I do it again. The thing that I loved was that I was able to offer texts of all reading levels and in various medias, as this was an inclusion class. Though we weren't reading a novel at the time, the project did relate in theme to all of the fiction we had read (home, belonging, leaving home). So many kinks to work out!! Thanks for the wonderful input.

Later in the year we read "The Graveyard Book" with many of the same themes...truly wonderful book. Now I would like to come up with a project using real graveyards....
Do you know about Google Lit Trips? It's a terrific language arts project that uses Google Earth and visual imagery to get kids immersed in great literature. Teachers (and students) take it in all sorts of interesting directions. Your house project made me think of the modeling work that Beryl Reid is doing. (You'll see a link to her projects from the GLT home page.)
in the words of my students...OMG. This is fabulous!
Geez I can imagine a Graveyard Google Lit Trip. Wouldn't that be something?
Hi Elizabeth,

I teach 5-8 writing and am also interested in developing projects for my classes.

Here are some places I'm starting to read:





Hi Sheri,
Sounds like you're digging into resources--a great way to get started with PBL.
Education blogs are another good source for getting a window into projects. Lisa Parisi (also a member of this group) just wrote a wonderful piece about her ups and downs (and ups!) in the classroom.
Great links, Sheri, thank you! They have already given me some ideas, I love it...
Hi Elizabeth!
I hope I can offer you some guidance on this question. I thought PBL would be all but impossible in LA as well, but have changed my mind. I think the project you described sounds great by the way! I have had some success by doing projects focused around genre. Also, after finishing a novel, having students dig for greater questions that stem from that and then creating their own designed projects.
I would highly recommend any books by Jim Burke. He has a new one about Big Ideas that is geared towards LA. Any of his books are helpful. The Edutopia site mentioned below is also a valuable tool.
I think if you can take the big idea or concept and find ways to help the students uncover this learning, you will be on your way.
I hope this helps.
This helps very much, thanks! I will check out Jim Burke asap...I would love to hear more about your genre projects, too.



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