Friday, November 19, 2010

What's up with PBL in the Elementary Grades?

EDITOR'S DESK | John Larmer

We're working on a new book about PBL in elementary school, part of BIE's PBL Toolkit Series. As a former high school teacher, and someone who has until now focused on PBL for secondary school teachers, it's been interesting to write this book with my co-author Sara Hallerman, who has an elementary school background. I'm struck by how much literacy and math programs have impacted the K-5 school day.

As a high school social studies teacher, I felt that if I wanted to spend time on a project I could, even though there was always some pressure to "cover" a lot of content in a course. But how can an elementary school teacher do PBL if the school uses a commercial literacy program that has to be implemented "with fidelity"? Are projects fit in during the afternoon, in the time alloted for science and social studies, which seems to be a common practice...? Or is it possible to integrate projects with goals for literacy and math, and spend some time in the morning on project work? Or in some cases is there no room at all for PBL? In the new book we'll be offering some suggestions for integrating literature, standards-aligned writing genres, and applied math skills in projects.  We'd be interested in hearing more from teachers about this issue.

Here is a sneak peek at the cover for PBL in the Elementary Grades available next January.

Next post I'll share an example of a really cool 2nd grade "pizza project" I just heard about at the annual Fall Forum of the Coalition of Essential Schools.

John Larmer
Director of Product Development


  1. I am interested in the elementary grades book. When will it be available? Still this month?

  2. Hello Andrew,

    PBL in the Elementary Grades is currently available in our online store.