This strategy is used at the start of diving into the actual project itself. Determine what they know(background knowledge), what they need to learn more about(topics to research) and where they would need to look for information. I like to be prepared by having potential topics handy, meaning I do my own research-building.Graphic organizers make a great tool for students to gather their ideas into a central location. Starting a project can be overwhelming. However, by putting into writing and organizing their ideas, it gives students the focus they need to start their project.
Soliciting Feedback from Students.
I like to use this strategy throughout the project timeline. This way I can see the type of progress students have made, points of confusion, and how they are doing as a group. Usually, this takes the form of structured questions usually in a Kahoot game, to create a more fun learning environment. This provides an outlet for students to be honest about their progress, without their name being attached to the feedback they provide. Also, this gives me a way to better improve my own instructional practice.
I use this strategy after students have selected their topic and chosen the sources that they will use for their project. I ask them what is their topic, thesis statement, and how they plan to use each individual source. This is a formative way, in which students must turn in something. It makes it so that students "get it together" in case they have not been doing their work. For students who are on track, it gives them a way to structure their argument in a way that is straightforward and gives them a structure.
This is the cornerstone to many of my PBL projects. I see myself as a guide to helping students navigate the research process.First, I plan a few mini-lessons that deal with finding and evaluating sources, citing sources, and integrating evidence with their own opinions, as well as differentiating between primary and secondary sources. So, that students can reference this information later, I do ask that students take Cornell Notes. Information gathering, especially in the Internet age, can be confusing. I have noticed that quite a few students may not judge information in a way that evaluates the source's validity and reputation. Keeping their argument central, as well as balancing source information is key to being a responsible student with keen media literacy skills.
This strategy I came upon by accident. Although a thesis statement is traditionally thought of a belonging to an essay, it is a helpful tool, when asking students for projects in which they must make an argument or synthesize multiple sources of information. It helps clarify for students what their own argument is, while making sure that they never lose sight of their own argument. I start by taking sample projects and asking students what they believe the student was trying to achieve. Through this process, as a class we come create a thesis statement. This also serves a great point to remind students that sources and evidence, does not need to agree with their thesis statement. Rather, it can serve as a counterargument, to which they would dismiss in a rational way.