Johnny Devine, an Advanced Placement Physics teacher at Science and Math Institute in Tacoma, Washington, is a fan of using daily meetings, or what he calls “scrums,” to keep his students focused on their assignments, according to Edutopia.
Every day students share what they’ve accomplished since their last meeting, what they’re going to do now, and their concerns about the project at the moment — and use a poster to keep track of their tasks.
Students write their name next to the tasks, and then they know the responsibility for completing that item is on them, even as they work in groups.
Project-based learning (PBL) by definition, has students working together — where each pupil is responsible for producing an end result that’s successful. One child dropping the ball, and leaving all the work for the others, can turn a group project into a resentful experience.
One of the challenges for educators using PBL is to keep students on task in their own groups. Educators can support and encourage PBL work by not only having check-ins, or scrums, everyday — but also allowing time for students to experiment, notes Concordia University-Portland. Failure can be as valuable as a successful moment, helping students find new directions.
Team building is also crucial — and one of the reasons corporations take time away from the office for retreats, giving co-workers opportunities to get to know each other, and even build trust. While the instinct is to schedule every moment of the school day on learning, downtime or team-building exercises built into classroom time can be just as effective a curriculum as any other lesson plan.