The first couple PBL projects I did, I skipped right over the scaffolding section of the BIE planning form.
What is Scaffolding?
In the previous blog, we talked about filling in the blanks for the entry event and for the final product. The scaffolding is all the stuff in-between those two activities. For What’s Up With This Guy?, the scaffolding included all the direct teaching that needed to occur for the kids to have a basic understanding of the major human body systems. It also included the labs and hands on experiments , such as the cow eye ball dissection. Our librarian spent two class periods working with kids on recognizing and locating good resources, both online and offline, and how to site these sources. You have to allow time to teach them any of the technology pieces. We used the Padlet app to compile a set of follow up questions for our patient, Howard. It didn’t require a lesson on the app but it did take about ten more minutes than it will the next time we use Padlet. Our 4th graders were already familiar with Keynote but we took the time to build on that previous knowledge by showing them features like the presenter notes and the laser pointer. We also worked on the design features of our presentations. Then we worked on our presentation skills: how to greet the panel members, making eye contact with your audience, and appropriate use of notes.
We did all of that?
When I watch a teacher complete the scaffolding section of the planning form, I see them realize how much learning this one PBL project will include. It’s exciting! It conjures up a feeling of pride. Our kids can learn all of that and create a final product that represents that learning.
Once you have your scaffolding complete (although it’s never really complete), you’re able to start placing those lessons into your Project Calendar. Remember that your calendar needs to have extra days built into it. During this project, our school had three snow days and the classroom teacher had sick kids at home. We’re going past our original completion date by at least four days.