Project Approach & PBL Workshop

Tuesday, August 9, 2016, 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.


Phase One: 4 As Protocol

Phase Two: Project Tuning


What Assumptions does the author of the text hold?

What do you Agree with in the text?

What do you want to Argue with in the text?

What parts of the text do you want to Aspire to or Act On?


Phase One: 4 As Protocol

9:00 - 9:45 a.m.


9:45 - 10:00 a.m.

Phase Two: Project Tuning

10:00 - 11:00 a.m.


What book/article/resource are you assessing:

What Assumptions does the author of the text hold?

What do you Agree with in the text?

What do you want to Argue with in the text?

What parts of the text do you want to Aspire to or Act On?



Facilitation Tips:

Our Norms:

Video Reference:

BIE “Tuning Protocol Overview” video provides a 4 minute example of a very similar protocol.

Protocol: (40 min. Total below; 50 min. including review of protocol and selection of roles.)

  1. Overview/Presentation (3 min.) - Presenter gives an overview of the project prototype and frames any focusing questions for the group to consider. It is helpful to post a project outline and any focusing questions somewhere everyone can see. Participants are silent.

  1. Clarifying Questions (4 min.) - Participants ask clarifying questions of the presenter. Clarifying questions have brief, factual answers and are intended to help the group develop a deeper understanding of the project prototype. An example of a clarifying question is “How many class sessions do you plan to use to facilitate and complete the project?”

  1. Probing Questions (6 min.) - Participants ask probing questions of the presenter. Probing questions help the presenter expand his/her thinking about the project prototype. However, probing questions should not be “advice in disguise,” such as “Have you considered…?” An example of a probing question is “What is your hunch about how students will be motivated by the entry event and driving question you’ve planned?” There is no discussion by the group of the presenter’s responses.

  1. Assessment (5 min.) Participants take time to prepare a few notes that can guide their participation in the discussion. Use of checklists and rubrics for assessing Gold Standard PBL can be helpful guides (for LS, MS, US projects).
  1. BIE PBL Essential Elements Checklist (simpler) {Use this one!}
  2. BIE Project Design Rubric (more advanced) {Save this for another time!}

  1. Discussion (10 min.) The presenter reframes the question if necessary and then physically removes him/herself to the outside of the circle. The group discusses the project prototype while the presenter is silent and takes notes. Participants should resist the urge to speak directly to the presenter and instead address each other.


                FACILITATION NOTE - When there are 5 minutes left in this section, ask the

question:  “How are we doing in addressing the presenter’s question?” to refocus the group on the project tuning.

  1. Reflection (3 min.) - The presenter reflects on what he/she has heard and what he/she is now thinking, sharing any points that particularly resonated and any potential next steps. It is not necessary to respond point by point to what others said. During this time, participants are silent.

  1. Debrief (5 min.) - The facilitator leads a conversation about the group’s experience with the protocol process. Resist the urge to turn the debrief back into a discussion of the project prototype.

         Questions posed to the group might include:

  1. Closing the loop (4 min.) - Participants have the opportunity to each share one “take away” from the discussion or something they will bring back to their own practice.


Adapted from High Tech High Graduate School of Education, Buck Institute for Education, and National School Reform Faculty Protocols