PBL and Common Core


  • Evaluate lessons/units for the 21st century learning environment and Common Core
  • Create PBL (or 21st Century Unit/Lessons) to address rigor and relevance in standards


Build Background Knowledge with PBL

Connect Prior Knowledge of Common Core, PBL, and 21st century learning

  • Connecting Common Core and 21st century learning:

    1. Review this list of 21st century skills.
    2. What do you notice?
    3. How are Common Core and 21st century learning connected?

  • Connecting Common Core and PBL directions:

    1. Peanut Butter: Half the class will read, The Common Core is the "what." PBL is the "how." Then discuss the main points with your small group.
    2. Jelly: The other half of the class will read, "How can I design an interdisciplinary project?" Then discuss the main points with your small group.
    3. After we've processed what we read with our colleagues, create Peanut Butter & Jelly partners. Share and compare ideas with your new partner.
    4. Then synthesize by answering this question, "Why does Common Core and PBL fit together?"

Connect Prior Knowledge of Awesome Learning

  • Think of your most successful lesson/unit. What made it successful?

    • Small Group Activity:
      1. Share with your group.
      2. On sticky notes, list common traits that made it successful. List only one trait per sticky note. (For example, It was Standards based." Or, "Kids related to it."
    • Whole Group Activity: Sticky Note Sort

  • Self-Reflect using the Learning Activity Checklist--What was present in your own lesson?

  • Closure: Debrief and discuss in group.

Using the Learning Activity Checklist to Evaluate Lessons/Units

  • Whole Group Activity:
    1. Watch Video.
    2. (Think) After video, make notes individually about what criteria from the Learning Activity Checklist was present.
    3. (Pair) Discuss with a partner.
    4. (Share) Share with another small group.
    5. (Share All) Share with the whole group.
    6. Repeat with next video.

Lesson Improvement Template

  • Let's think about your content area now.

  • Open "Lesson Improvement Template" from Google Apps templates. (Click herefor directions on how to download from templates.)
    1. Task

      • Authentic Purpose
      • Rigorous, Relevant, & Relationships
      • Open-ended, with more than one "right" answer
      • Complex, and not easily solved
      • Tips:
        1. Open Ended Scenario
          1. Who? (Audience)
          2. When?
          3. What?
          4. Why?
        2. Essential Questions
        3. Does it pass the "Engaging Task" Test from the Learning Activity Checklist?
        4. Does it pass the "Problem-Based Task" Test from the Learning Activity Checklist?

    2. Standards

    3. Assessment

      1. Focus on the Framework.
        • What can be evaluated as evidence of learning? -- How will you know learning took place?
      2. Return to create the Rubric in detail later.
    4. Directions

    5. Resources

      • List what will be needed.
      • It's okay (even good) to give them choices with the technology.
      • Remember to finish the Assessment Plan.


  • Discussion
    • When you leave here, what are your next steps?
    • Who can help with this process?