Friday, April 11, 2014

Driving Questions and PBL

Today, my friend Amanda Breland sent me a link to Andrew Miller's blog post on How to Write Effective Driving Questions for Project-Based Learning. Amanda is an amazing educator who has taken this year to dig deep into her practice and is striving to provide authentic ways to engage students in their learning. (More to come on her soon!) She saw an opportunity for her students, as she puts it, "a cool way for kids to practice academic language and effective questioning" through the use of the Tubric. While my friend, Carrie feels the Tubric is a little gimmicky (I can see where she is coming from.), I like the "Framing Words" a LOT because I find them very inviting and inclusive!
I've been "thinkering" (thanks, Sara) about questioning for the past year or so having spent a great deal of time with Sara Wilkie who is a master "questioneer" and thinker. She has really helped me to examine my practice and is probably responsible for me even attempting this post.

I took a few moments and read his post and really liked it too. So much so, that I decided to look for some other posts (He refers to the next one he was going to write at the end, but I haven't found it yet.) and found another one, Getting Started with Project-Based Learning (Hint: Don't Go Crazy). Here, Andrew does a terrific job of listing some of the "pitfalls" teachers can fall into when attempting PBL. I have worked with a number of teachers who create projects thinking they were engaging students in problem-based learning. So, if you're thinking you also fall into that hole, take a look at his post.

I have been very hesitant of posting resources about project-based learning because I try to avoid big labels. Maybe it is because I have seen the labels misused, maybe I am fearful of them, maybe it is because there is lots of good teaching that happens without labels, I don't know. However, I have enjoyed the time I have taken on this short journey this morning, and hope that you have found some resources here that might be helpful for you!

For more on questioning, visit and

Also, just purchased Making Thinking Visible and can barely wait to start!

What are your thoughts/experiences with developing thoughtful questions? Got additional resources? Share them!