Project Based Learning and Common Core Standards for CTE

engage cte students

Last week, someone mentioned project based learning and common core standards. Until that point, I hadn’t really contemplated the relationship. So, I went forth to see what I could find out about how to effectively use PBL with common core standards. In addition to finding that I’m late to the game, here’s what I found…

In this video, teacher, Matt Gillespie, describes his Crucible project in great detail (10 minute video). But if you struggle with pulling all the pieces together, his step-by-step explanation of his approach is well worth your time. You’ll love the part where he creates an “entry” by creating hysteria, claiming that someone in the class cheated on an exam.

PBL is THE way to cover common core standards

In his article “Project-Based Learning and Common Core Standards,” Thom Markham offers project based learning as THE way to cover common core standards. Markham says, “Successful implementation of the new standards will require innovative best practices that persuade and prepare students to engage in thoughtful problem solving, as well as encourage better performance through more sophisticated, broad-based assessments. PBL, done well, accomplishes those goals. But old-style “projects” won’t come close.” He then outlines what he calls the “six moving parts” of PBL, which include:

  1. Moving from instruction to inquiry
  2. Balancing knowledge and skills
  3. Going deep
  4. Teaching teamwork
  5. Establishing a culture of inquiry
  6. Blending coaching with teaching

Mixing project based learning and common core standards for CTE is doable

An article on Navigator, “Meeting the Common Core Through Project Based Learning” by Dayna Laur, gave some good advice for beginners to PBL. Laur’s suggestions include:

  • You can include and cover language arts and math common core standards in just about any subject matter, including CTE courses.
  • Don’t rule out that core subject teachers can also cover your CTE content in their projects.
  • Start by making yourself familiar with any common core standards that you need to cover. Then work with a colleague towards interdisciplinary coverage.

If you still need more convincing of the natural relationship between PBL and common core, read Edutopia’s article “Creating Schoolwide PBL Aligned to Common Core” by Eric Isselhardt, Ph.D. In this case, the entire school curriculum revolves around project based learning.

6 Responses

  1. Celestial says:

    I LOVE to see examples of teachers trying methods “outside of the norm”. Great video and blog post!

    • Sarah Layton says:

      Thank you, Celestial. I was pleasantly surprised by how well PBL and common core work together. It will be exciting to see how CTE teachers implement these and other ideas for maximum common core coverage.

  2. Kristin says:

    Wow-ee! If the book has been introduced to me that way, I may have actually enjoyed it! What a great show of how that “entry” or “hook” can be so important to a lesson or project.

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