Tag Archives: Workshops

SEL Infused PBL Workshops

I am excited to announce some brand new workshops this summer based off from my upcoming book, The Pulse of PBL: Seamlessly Integrating Social and Emotional Learning! (co-authored with the amazing Matinga Ragatz). Workshops will be offered virtually so any individual in the world can join in from the comfort of their internet hotspot. All workshops are interactive, modeling a Project Based Learning framework and include participants designing a plan to implement in their classroom. My workshops can also be customized for your school and facilitated remotely or in person (I am fully vaccinated).

SEL Infused PBL

July 26-30th 9:00am – 12:30pm EST Registration & Payment

(Recommended for teachers new to PBL. Space is limited to allow for personal coaching)

Meaningful Project Based Learning focuses inquiry on content and cultivates Social and Emotional Learning skills simultaneously. During this workshop educators will create their own PBL project integrated with SEL competencies by experiencing the PBL process themselves. Teachers from all levels and content areas will partake in a PBL environment full of protocols and structures instantly transferable to any classroom. This hands-on, comprehensive workshop will support teachers to confidently transition to SEL infused PBL inspiring students to change their world.

Transformative SEL: The Pulse of PBL

July 23rd 9:30am – 4pm EST Registration & Payment

(1, 2, or 3 day options are available for school workshops. Recommended for teachers with PBL experience. Space is limited to allow for personal coaching.)

With the trauma of the craziness of 2020, educators are paying more attention than ever to Social and Emotional Learning. Many teachers use mindfulness, yoga, and other exercises to help students focus, but these tools focus primarily on self-control and behavior management. The SEL competencies encompass so much more! Discover how to teach, practice, and assess ALL of the CASEL competencies in this hands-on workshop. SEL is the Pulse of PBL: the energy running through the veins of a project that gives life to PBL and develops students into self-reliant learners. Using a Project Based Learning framework, each participant will develop a personalized plan to cultivate all of their students’ SEL skills. 

SEL Experiences and Options for School PD:

All of the SEL workshops address common myths about SEL, best practices of SEL implementation, and how to teach, practice, and assess SEL within a Project Based Learning framework. Although ideally suited for PBL, the SEL strategies can be implemented in any K-12 classroom. Each participant will complete a personalized SEL plan for their students. Multiple day SEL workshops allow groups to add the following optional add-ons and focus areas:

  • Transformative SEL: Transformative SEL means that students don’t just practice CASEL competencies in a sterile environment, but address issues of justice and equity. Projects should be culturally responsive and scaffolded for all learners including special education and English Learners. Design powerful SEL experiences bent toward justice in the community. 
  • Extreme Project Makeover: Bring an old project, stale unit, or a new idea that you want to revamp for maximum impact. Share previous successes and challenges of SEL in your classroom. Integrate the SEL competencies with new protocols to develop a personalized plan to cultivate ALL of your students’ SEL skills. 
  • Focus on 1 Core Competency: CASEL organizes SEL into 5 core areas: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, and Responsible Decision-Making. Tailor your workshop for a deep dive into specific strategies of one or more of these competencies.
  • Developing Oracy and Public Speaking Skills: Students don’t show up to your class as natural experts in Relationship Skills. They need to be taught SEL skills such as how to communicate effectively with their team and how to effectively share their ideas with the world. Discover specific strategies to improve student dialogue around controversial issues, negotiating group conflicts, and presenting their ideas publicly. 
  • Community Partnerships: PBL and SEL need to be seated in authentic contexts. Take your projects to a higher level with community partnerships to engage in local issues. Explore how partnerships in the community motivate students to practice SEL skills in meaningful problems with local experts.
  • Classroom Culture & Community: Launching into SEL and/or PBL for the first time can seem daunting. Experience proven structures and techniques to successfully establish classroom culture from the start of the year that encourages students to actively engage in tasks, take risks, and come together as a learning community. Individually or as a school team, design a plan for the opening weeks of school.
  • Project and Group Management: Responsible Decision-Making leads to work done efficiently and on-time. Discover specific tools and practices to help facilitate projects in the classroom. Roleplay common scenarios and practice using tools that teach students to problem solve and manage themselves, their teammates, and the project work. 
  • Leadership Through Service Learning: Brainstorm and plan a PBL project around specific needs in the community. Apply Transformative SEL and Community Partnerships to cultivate student leadership by investigating and tackling tough local problems to improve citizen’s lives.
  • Assessing SEL: Educators understand that if learning is important, it needs to be assessed (but not necessarily graded). Design a plan to effectively assess the different competencies throughout a project with an emphasis on goal-setting and personal growth.
  • Extended Work Time with Personalized Coaching: Multiple day workshops allow further time for planning SEL implementation of the strategies experienced in the workshop to teacher’s classrooms. During group work time, personalized feedback and coaching is provided.

Questions? Would you like to chat about customizing for your school? Connect with me at michaelkaechele.com or @mikekaechele on Twitter.

7 Methods to Make PBL Contagious

One of my favorite parts of leading Project Based Learning workshops is watching teachers transform from an attitude of fear or doubt about PBL, to confidence and excitement. Many administrators task their teachers to lead professional development about PBL when they return. Since the teachers are novices on the topic this request can feel frightening or overwhelming.

Other teachers attend PBL workshops with a only a few colleagues or by themselves. They are excited to share their learning with teachers and administration back at their school. Both groups frequently ask, “How can we effectively bring PBL back to the rest of our staff and/or administration at our school.”

The situations vary. The principal or teachers at their school may or may not be interested in PBL. Here are some suggestions to spread the PBL love to your colleagues and your administration, no matter what their current commitment to it is.

Protocols

Instead of giving a slide presentation summarizing what PBL is, run a protocol at a staff meeting or other PD. The best way for adults to learn is through experience, so try a Jigsaw of a PBL article or watch a project video followed by a Harkness Protocol. After experiencing the protocol, teachers can collaboratively plan out how to implement it in their classrooms. This will not only introduce teachers to aspects of PBL, but will build a school wide culture as different teachers are using the same protocols in their varied classrooms.

One middle school that I worked with, uses their late start days as an opportunity for student groups to come in early and run the Tuning Protocol. Students get helpful feedback on their projects. The school invites teachers and administrators from other schools in their district to visit and see what PBL looks like. They are spreading the PBL love throughout their school system.

Classroom Observations

Invite colleagues into your classroom to observe PBL “in the wild.” Seeing is believing! The best way to get others excited about PBL and to help them understand the shifts that it entails is for them to see it in action. Teachers could be part of an authentic audience for practice presentations, or they could be experts helping students in the middle of a project.

Don’t just invite teachers for the final presentation day. Schedule them to visit on a normal workday too. Observations are most effective when teachers have a list of specific things to look for. Hand them this rubric to record observations to discuss later in a PLC. Encourage teachers to ask students what they are doing and why. One effective way to organize classroom observations is to have your principal get a rotating sub for the day so different teachers can observe for an hour each.

Student Panel

At your next staff meeting organize a student panel to tell about their PBL experiences. Kids can describe their favorite projects, challenges, areas of growth, and how the PBL framework motivates them to do their best work. Practice with your students ahead of time, so they know what kind of questions they will be asked. Encourage your kids to be themselves and share honest stories about their PBL experiences.

Don’t just pick high achieving students either, but be sure to include a mixture of kids from various backgrounds. Students who have struggled in school academically or behaviorally in the past but are excited about PBL can provide strong evidence for other teachers to give it a try. In my experience, nothing “sells” PBL better than students sharing!

Stories

The most powerful way to spread PBL at your school is through stories. Stories are what make classroom observations and student panels so powerful. Experts tell us that logic and rational reasoning alone will not lead to change. People must feel an emotional need to make a change, and stories accomplish this!

Stories can come from your classroom or you can show examples of PBL from other schools. Another way to collect stories is to have your students record reflections during the project. Provide them with prompts about their content learning, engagement, and how their groups are functioning. These stories will not only document their personal successes, but are feedback for you to improve future projects.

The most powerful stories are ones that show growth in students, especially in areas of motivation. Many teachers have misconceptions about what PBL is, and stories help them see clearly how they could adopt it. The truth is, when most teachers learn how PBL actually works, they are affirmed by the aspects that they are already doing.

Advertise

Don’t just keep all of those stories in house. When students complete high quality work that is relevant to the school and the community, it’s time to brag. Call up your local journalists and TV stations and let them know about what your kids are accomplishing. Publish your project in the school or district newsletter. Public education gets enough negative publicity. It’s time for teachers to share amazing stories of the meaningful work that students are doing.

The other way to share is on social media. This can create strong connections with parents and the community. If you need to convince your administrator about PBL, advertising is effective too. When she sees positive press or gets excited calls from parents about your students’ projects, your principal will see the value of the PBL framework.

Pilot

This technique is specifically for teachers who don’t have administrative support to try PBL. Your principal may not be “against” PBL. But you may have common assessments that are not congruent with your project idea or you may have a reading or math block with scripted curriculum that must be followed lockstep. The magic word to navigate these kinds of obstacles is pilot. Tell your principal:

“I just attended an incredible workshop on Project Based Learning and I think that it is exactly the personalized approach that our students need. With your permission, I would like to pilot a project in class and see how students respond.”

The beauty of the word pilot is, it not only grants permission, but it assumes there will be some bumps along the road as you experiment with something new. If necessary, show administration research or better yet share success stories of PBL in other settings similar to your school. Chances are your principal supports the tenets of PBL already, but may not know how to get permission from her superior. “Pilot” creates the perfect scenario.

Workshops

Of course, once teachers and administration are getting excited about PBL and ready to dive in, there is no substitute for high quality professional development. Making the shift to student-centered PBL can be a frightening transition, especially for traditional teachers. A multiple day, PBL workshop lead by an experienced practitioner will give teachers both the skills and the confidence to launch a project in their classroom.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and your school won’t make a dramatic transition to PBL overnight. Take small steps and don’t forget to continue the conversations about your victories and struggles in PLC’s. Seek out continued professional development throughout the journey. Remember it’s not about the product, but the process!

Questions? Interested in a PBL workshop or consulting?  Connect with me at michaelkaechele.com or @mikekaechele on Twitter.