I always loved the last night of girls’ camp. We sat around the fire, expressed feelings, supported each other, and reflected on the experiences we had shared together. After an intense week of crafts, hikes, food, skits, and certification skills, it was nice to gain some closure.
The same concepts apply to Project Based Learning. PBL units are intense. They take a great deal of time and energy on everyone’s part. Students invest much of themselves as they dive in and take responsibility for their learning. As a result, students grow in knowledge and collaborative skills. After all of this effort, it is nice to bring some closure to the unit as well as reinforce what the students learned in the process.
Teachers must plan time to debrief and reflect on the entire PBL experience. This involves both teacher and student reviews. Students need to be given an opportunity to discuss and reflect on what they have learned. This will help them realize what they have learned along their journey. Students should also have a chance to fill out a form or survey evaluating the unit. Teachers should take time while the unit is fresh in their minds to make adjustments that will help them the next time.
For Project: Me, I have answered three questions:
- Who will be involved in the post project assessment process?
- What will the process look like?
- Is it just a one-time assessment?
For Project: Me, the last day will be spent in celebration. Students will watch the student-produced Day in the Life of Me photo project. They will be given “uniqueness” awards and participate in a class discussion on what they have learned and their observations. They will also complete a survey.
The teacher will read over student surveys, reflect on notes taken during the unit, and make any adjustments needed on an evaluation form. This will help them adjust timing, content, scaffolding, and assessment needs for the next time they teach the unit.
While the assessment and reflection process will likely take place during one class period, it is important that the teacher refers back to the project and ties it in to other units whenever possible. The technology tools introduced during the unit can be used in other units. Reminding students what they have already learned is an important way to help solidify their skills.
If done well, students will enjoy the chance to reflect and discuss the PBL unit. They will feel a sense of pride and authentic accomplishment.