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Hacking Project Based Learning: 10 Easy Steps to PBL and Inquiry in the Classroom (Hack Learning Series) (Volume 9) Paperback – December 19, 2016
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About the Author
Ross Cooper is the Supervisor of Instructional Practice K-12 in the Salisbury Township School District in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Previously, he was an elementary assistant principal for a year, and before that a fourth-grade teacher in the East Penn School District for six years. He is an Apple Distinguished Educator and a Google Certified Innovator. His passions are inquiry-based learning and quality professional development. He blogs about these topics at rosscoops31.com. He regularly speaks, presents, and conducts workshops related to his writings and professional experiences. When he is not working, he enjoys eating steak and pizza, exercising, reading books, playing on his computer, and provoking his three beautiful nephews. Please feel free to connect with him via email, RossCoops31@gmail.com, and Twitter, @RossCoops31.
Erin Murphy is the assistant principal of Eyer Middle School in the East Penn School District. As a certified literacy specialist, she coordinates the middle-level ELA department. Erin’s classroom experiences range from kindergarten through fifth grade. In college, Erin was a member of the Professional Development School at Penn State University; this full year collaboration between the university and State College Area School District focused on inquiry based learning, conceptual math instruction, and project based learning experiences. She has presented at numerous conferences on the east coast focused on Project Based Learning, Literacy, Technology, and Educational Leadership. Erin married her college sweetheart and has two beautiful daughters. Follow Erin on Twitter @MurphysMusings5 and check out her blog at psumurphette.com
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I have read lots of books on the subject, and find most helpful, but ultimately disappointing. But not this one. Hacking Project Based Learning does several things well at the same time. It creates a powerful context for the work that needs to be done. It provides teachers with the tools they need to do it properly and effectively. And it talks about the possible resistance from students and colleagues and how to respond.
I plan on using this great book with some of my teacher education classes.
$20 well spent.
They go through 10 steps on how to implement PBL in a classroom. My only issue is that, since they're elementary teachers who don't have multiple classrooms, I can't relate to everything. There are some teachers in my school who are in 4 or 5 different classrooms in different buildings throughout the duration of the school year. So not everything works.
What is great is that they GET that. They understand the variety of situations teachers can find themselves in. So they offer tips and tricks, alternatives, and very general ways that are easily modifiable for all types of classes/lessons/students. The book is written simplistically, but not in a way that is demeaning. Instead, it's quite clear as to what their goal is - ease any apprehension teachers may have with regards to PBL, and informing that PBL doesn't even have to be crazy!
The first three chapters/hacks describe how it may be best to set up a foundation for a PBL.
Each hack section has "Blueprints" to follow to best carry out the hack, "Overcoming Pushback" to detract naysayers, and a "Hack in Action" example.
Some of the questions/comments in "Overcoming Pushback" are ridiculous. What is worse, I'm not fully surprised by some of them.
Each hack offers great insight on how to apply strategies not only to PBL units but also to teaching in general.
It is always beneficial to hear from those who have been through the process and have met with pushback, and how to work through it. A book that will guide you to those next steps and "what you can do tomorrow."
The book is a How-To Manual for doing Project-Based Learning right. Many questions are answered, and the suggestions are well-defined and delivered in a manner where the resources are plentiful to utilize.
A Must Read for All Educators.