Sustainable Project-Based Learning
Five Steps for Designing Authentic Classroom Experiences in Grades 5–12
This essential guide shares a five-step process for designing, implementing, and assessing sustainable project-based learning (SPBL) units while ensuring students gain surface-, deep-, and transfer-level knowledge. Brad Sever draws from his daily work as a practitioner to deliver practical strategies for creating meaningful learning experiences that join academic growth with social-emotional skill development—all supported by the power of professional learning communities.
- Learn the benefits of project-based learning (PBL) and social-emotional learning (SEL) to student growth and academic achievement.
- Access a five-step process for planning, integrating, and sustaining a comprehensive SPBL framework in your curriculum.
- Receive reproducible tools and templates you can use independently or collaboratively to maximize student engagement and learning.
- Reflect with end-of-chapter questions to enhance your understanding of the content.
- Understand how to promote transfer learning skills through connections to real-world experiences.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Part I: The What and Why of Project-Based Learning
Chapter 1: Defining Sustainable Project-Based Learning
Chapter 2: Reviewing the Seven PBL Design Elements
Chapter 3: Maintaining a Sustainable Relationship With Project-Based Learning
Chapter 4: Integrating Social and Emotional Learning Into SPBL Units
Part II: The How of Sustainable Project-Based Learning
Chapter 5: Step 1: Planning the SPBL Unit
Chapter 6: Step 2: Developing SPBL Assessments
Chapter 7: Step 3: Establishing a Clear Goal for Student Learning
Chapter 8: Step 4: Conducting Teacher Action Research
Chapter 9: Step 5: Reflecting, Refining, and Celebrating
Chapter 10: Transferring Learning Through Three Simultaneous Experiences
Appendix A: Glossary of Key Terms
Appendix B: Protocol Library
Appendix C: Example SPBL Unit Plans
- Figure 2.6: Example Milestone Sheet for the Community Relations Director Role
- Figure 2.7: Example Milestone Sheet for the Exhibit Designer and Technology Expert Role
- Figure 2.8: Example Milestone Sheet for the Team Leader Role
- Figure 2.9: Example Milestone Sheet for the Data Analysis Expert Role
- Figure 2.10: Example Milestone Sheet for the Fair-Trade Researcher Role
- Figure 5.2: Checklist for Creating Learning Intentions
- Figure 5.4: Checklist for Developing Success Criteria
- Figure 5.7: Checklist for Crafting the Driving Question
- Figure 5.13: Checklist for Creating Tasks
- Figure 5.15: Checklist for Creating an Entry Event
- Figure 5.17: Checklists for Planning an SPBL Unit
- Table 6.1: The What and Why of the Four Essential Documents for SPBL Assessment
- Figure 6.2: Checklist for SPBL Culminating Public Product Rubric
- Figure 6.4: Checklist for Summative Assessment for Surface and Deep Learning
- Figure 6.6: Checklist for Anticipated Need-to-Know Map
- Figure 6.8: Checklist for Formative Assessment Calendar
- Figure 7.1: SPBL SMART Goal Template
- Figure 7.2: Checklist for Establishing a Clear Goal for Student Learning
- Figure 8.2: Checklist for Conducting Teacher Action Research
- Figure 8.6: Strategies for Creating an Action Research Protocol
- What? So What? Now What? Protocol
- Examining Student Work Protocol
- Tuning Protocol
- Lesson Study Protocol
- Focused Observation Protocol
- Charrette Protocol
- Inter-Rater Reliability Protocol
- Harkness Discussion Protocol
- Gallery Walk Protocol
- Goal-Setting Protocol
- Example 1: Grade 8 Mathematics
- Example 2: Grade 9 Biology for English Learners
- Example 3: Grades 10–12 Algebra II
- Example 4: Grade 8 Language Arts or Social Studies
- Example 5: Grade 12 Project Lead The Way—Biomedical Innovation (Problem 5: Combating a Public Health Issue)
- Example 6: Grades 11–12 Data Analytics
- Example 7: Grades 11–12 English (AP Literature)
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