“Push It Past the Point of a Grade”: Advice from Experienced PBLers

I am unfortunately at home sick today, fighting off a nasty cold at the end of the school year. Between bouts of sleep and dosages of medicine, I did want to use this down time to bring you the video above. My school’s A/V program developed programming last year we call [WE ARE LANIER], which highlights various teachers, community members, and occasionally students making an impact at the school and the surrounding community. This episode highlights the eyeliner stamp patent young women I have posted about before. While the district made a video to highlight how innovative it is, this video really highlights the young ladies themselves.

It’s a short video, but some of what they say is important for any of us pursuing the use of project-based learning in our classroom. These young ladies had been steeped in PBL work their freshmen year of high school, so as sophomores they took a good idea and made it a great, authentic product. The process is long (the patent was submitted at the end of their sophomore year and was approved mid-way through their senior year), which is aggravating for educators as we are under pressure to get immediate results from our students. But with patience and persistence, students can truly become great problem solvers and critical thinkers in ways that simply are not measurable on a standardized test.

As I feel a bout of sleep coming again, I’ll leave you with my favorite quote in the video that embodies the mindset I want all my students to take on when wading through the messiness of PBL:

“Take every opportunity you have. Don’t blow off a school project just because it’s cool [to blow it off] and you want an A. If you’re really passionate about it push it past the point of a grade.”

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