Saturday, October 5, 2013

PBL: "New to School Brochure"

Ah... our first PBL (project based learning) task. I always have a love/hate relationship with the first project. This is usually the first time they are doing a PBL where they are working in groups and have to rely on each other (a task hard for most adults to do much less 8 year olds...) and they are also use to having examples galore and struggle with the concept "this is YOUR project, if you want to use markers you can! If you want to use tape vs glue you CAN!" oh the freedom... their little brains just can't wrap around it!! BUT-- I do love seeing their smiling faces and sense of accomplishment after the first project. They are always SO SO SO proud of what they have created and I am SO SO SO proud and amazed at what they learned. It is an amazing experience. 

For this FIRST project our sweet counselor came in and presented the "problem" to the kiddos. 

PROBLEM/QUESTION- "We have many new students and families that aren't only new to our school but also new to the community. So the kids don't only know their way around their new school but also know nothing about their new town! How can we effectively let them know about our new school and our community along with a map of our school so they don't feel so nervous?"

Since this is the first project we guided them to the idea of a brochure or pamphlet with the school map on the inside with some information about our school and community on the outer flaps. 
***(Before they were presented with this problem we had been spending the past few weeks talking about our community and mapping skills.)*** 

FIRST- We went over the rubric and the expectations for their brochures and maps of the school. 

SECOND- I broke them into their groups. They created their contract while discussing how they will resolve problems that arise and how they will treat each other. The group members and I signed their contract. 

THIRD- We toured the school collecting all the information we would need for their maps. Room numbers, teacher names, the hallway numbers, the order of the rooms... ect. (This was very frustrating for the kids and we left a trail of tears down the hallways both mine and the children's...) 

FOURTH- I gave them a full sized poster board, with a blank map of the school already drawn on it. 
This wasn't originally the plan but after we had our Tour of Tears, I desperately needed to modify some -- for my own sanity!! This map they will do together and will act as the "rough draft" for their published maps on the actual brochures. 

FIFTH- the kids created their legend and compass rose. They also numbered the rooms and added the teacher names along with adding parking lots, pick up routes and whatever else they deemed important on their maps. Some added where the fish tank is while others thought the Lost and Found was an important place to know about! :) 
***This is where we are currently at in this process***
 The pink card is a "Question Card", a brilliant idea I heard about at a training this summer.
Each group gets 4 of these each time we work on the project. They have to turn in a card each time they ask ANY question, even to go to the restroom. They have to ALL agree to use the card. BEFORE we begin our work that day I answer every single question they have along with going to the restroom together, so they usually don't have to use the cards. This does put a stop to the "Can I use markers? What kind of glue am I suppose to use?" type questions quickly!  

SIXTH- Next week the kids will take their giant posters over to math class where they will add the scale (3 feet = 1 inch) to their maps. Here is where we will also throw a "twist" to the students. They will be presented with a "what if..." What if a legally blind student came and they needs to know the number of steps it took to get from one place to the next. Students will do some math by counting their steps for a bit down a hallway then predicting how many total it will take to get to the end. 

SEVENTH- Back in my classroom they will be researching the community and drafting what information they want to include in their brochures and type it out. 

EIGHTH- They will then each receive a legal sized piece of copy paper with their typed info on the flap and a blank map of the school on the inside. They will then copy what their rough draft map from the poster onto the copy paper map. Each student will receive their own map to publish. 

NINTH- I somehow copy these to create their brochures... I will probably just take their brochures to a place with a color copier and let them create the brochures! 

TENTH- Project OVER! Kids present their brochures to our counselor for our new students and families to enjoy!!! :) 

** I will add new pictures as we continue and hopefully finish smoothly!! **


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*** This project idea came from:
AN AMAZING SITE with GREAT PBL ideas with complete rubrics that are in a word document so they can be easily modified to fit your kids!!***

Happy Teaching Friends!


  1. Diana, I'm looking forward to the results. I love the modification after you noted a snag, and I'm sure you will celebrate the map creation, and have all students feeling great about a difficulty solved as they continue on in the project. It is marvelous to know that our students are in such capable and most importantly, caring, hands as yours. Can't wait to see finished projects. Excellent PBL!

  2. Hello! Would you be willing to share any rubrics for this project??

    1. Of course! I am so sorry for such a late reply -- I have been so busy and haven't been able to update my blog. Please send me your email and I will gladly send you the rubrics. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    2. I can't seem to upload my rubric. There is a rubric at the website that is linked at the bottom of this blog! Happy teaching friends!

  3. Hi! My teammate and I would also love to use your rubrics for this project.My email is thanks so much!

    1. Rubric here:

      Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

  4. I LOVE this!! My school is planning to start implementing some project based learning projects into our school this year. Do you have any more examples of things you've used?

    1. One of my earlier blogs has a world PBL that I do with the students. This year it is my goal to really blog about all my PBL's I do... so keep checking back!

  5. I am just getting my feet wet in PBL and would love to see your rubrics for this project if they are still available. Thanks!

    1. I have uploaded the rubric to the blog! Thanks for stopping by!