PBL and the Driving Question

Project based learning is the way to go, I have no doubts about that.  However, I am struggling with a few aspects of PBL.  I’m finding the driving question one of the hardest pieces and yet, one of the most important!  I have a theory that some of the difficulties of PBL stem from the fact that my attempts to implement a project are as an outsider in a classroom that has already been established, as I don’t have a classroom of my own.  I think that PBL is a very complex series of tasks that require the teacher to know his/her students well and have prepped or built prior knowledge during previous lessons leading up to the launch.  These are two things that, as a visitor attempting PBL, are not in my control.

I would really love some examples of possible driving questions using The Graveyard Book.  I’m a little confused why the driving question, “How can you convince Neil Gaiman to include or exclude your character in a sequel to The Graveyard Book?  What makes your character influential or insignificant to the themes within the story?”  isn’t a decent driving question.  It’s real-world and even lends itself to an authentic audience, such as Neil Gaiman himself or his publishers.  The characters are very intriguing in the story, and this driving question allows students to dive right into a character whom they find interesting.

Again, because I have not been teaching The Graveyard Book and haven’t had any control over the lessons and/or discussions surrounding the book, I’m at a disadvantage.  I haven’t had the opportunity to seek out what students find interesting about the book, or its’ themes and characters.  However, given the situation, I’m thinking that this driving question seems decent.

I am fearful of lacking professionalism and having this PBL flop.  This class, these students, this school…they are not my own.  I feel it is a privilege to work with them and I’d like to go into the situation with a bit more confidence.

I have attached a link for a summary to The Graveyard Book and also materials that I’ve created for the PBL.  I’d love some feedback!  Thanks for reading!

Summary – The Graveyard Book:  http://www.shmoop.com/graveyard-book/summary.html

Prezi for the launch – https://prezi.com/yg9wuei1hptn/

I also have rubrics and checklists prepared if you’d like to take a look at those as well.

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