My Learning Diary

Introducing Project-Based Learning in your Classroom
6th June - 10th July 2016

About me

Hello everybody! My name is Camelia Luminita and I am a teacher of English at a high school in Buzau, Romania.

I am interesting in improving my teaching and making it more enjoyable and attractive for my students.

My teaching context

Liceul Tehnologic Meserii şi Servicii (Trades and Services Technological High School) is a public high school situated in the city of Buzau, the county seat of Buzau county, Romania. It trains students that live in Buzau and the nearby villages, on an area of approximately 50 km. Our high school was founded in 2000 by the merging of the High school of Arts and Crafts with the High school of Textile Industry.

Our school provides education and training at European standards for 705 students , trained by 49 teachers through daily and evening classes in the following fields: (technician in gastronomy, banqueting organizer, technician in the field of hotels and tourism, hairdressers), natural resources and environmental protection (technician in the field of food and beverage Industry) but also through professional school with qualifications: waiter, chef, pastry chef, baker-pastry cook, barber, hairdresser, manicurist-pedicurist.

This is a public vocational high school where students  study English as a foreign language. There are 28 students in the class and they specialize in the field of services- waiters. Students have 50 minute periods. I meet my students twice a week because they have 2 English language periods every week but are expected to do homework outside of class as well.

Two foreign languages are compulsory in high school. Languages taught are English and French but in reality there is a strong demand for the English language because some of the students want to work abroad after graduating high school. Half of the students have Internet access outside of class.

My future job

Module I: What is PBL and why use

Our learning objectives for this module are:

  1. Understand what PBL is and isn't
  2. Reflect on our own teaching practice and how this corresponds to a PBL approach
  3. Identify different components of effective PBL and which of these will be the most challenging in our context
  4. Develop a first idea for implementing a PBL approach in our context and formulate a driving question

Project Based Learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge.

M1 - 1.3 P2P - Reflections on our current teaching practice

Teaching strategy : I usually combine traditional methods with modern teaching based on the use of IT, I try to make my students discover  a grammar rule and I encourage them speaking .

Most of the time I help my students solve their tasks, I guide them when they need it. My students solve tasks, read, listen, write and speak?

A PBL approach is very good for students but I think it is time consumer, too. It is very difficult to use PBL very often because we have to follow the school curriculum.

Do you sometimes have the problem that students don't remember what they "learned" the day before? Yes, especially grammar rules.

Finish your reflection by identifying a class and a subject topic that you teach which you can use to experiment with PBL.

The students are 16 years old and they are in the 10th class. They have been studying English for 5 years and their level is intermediate. In this class there is a gap between 2 different types of students, the good and the weak ones; there is not an identifiable range in the middle. Some of the students are problematic in terms of lack of motivation; they tend to be disruptive during the activities. Students are accustomed to working in pairs for carrying out some tasks taken from their textbooks, but they sometimes work in groups.

According to their learning style, most of them belong to 2 categories: visual and listening learners.

I could work on the topic 'Food' to experiment with PBL with my intermediate  students-10th grade who are in the field of gastraonomy.

Traditional Learning versus PBL

Module 1.4 - Components of how to use PBL in a good way


Module 1.5: The Driving Question

This is a link to an on line material that helps us to write a driving question.


How has McDonald's impacted on  local people?

3. Developing student-driven activities for PBL IT'S NOT THAT I'M SO SMART,IT'S JUST THAT I STAY WITH PROBLEMS LONGER

I filled in an application form for Erasmus+ KA1-School Education in 2014 and it was good but not good enough, then in 2015-it happened the same but this year-the project was successful.

I can't say that my application form was not good in 2014 but it seems that it was much better this year because I improved it every year and I didn't give up. When we want to succeed, we do it!

3.2 Developing Student Resilience

Quiz: How Resilient Are You?You got:

You are quite resilient!

Resilience is a quality that helps us through daily stressors and major life crises. While some of our resilience is associated with inborn personality traits, there’s much you can do to develop your resilience level, and the resources below can help.

Your answers indicate that you have many traits and thinking habits that are associated with greater levels of resilience, which is a very good thing. You are likely more able to handle life's crises – both major and minor – and turn difficulties to your advantage, or at least weather them optimally. The resources below can help you to build even more resilience in your life, and help those in your life do the same.

Working in teams and pursuing a complex question or problem over a longer period of time as part of PBL will require student resilience. We know that it is possible to develop resilience in our students through a combination of setting out the right environment, building positive relationships, and offering space for independent decisions.

4. Assessing PBL

4.4 Creating & Using Rubrics for PBL Assessment

After watching the video visit the Rubistar website which is a great tool that can help you create a rubric for your PBL activities. It already features a lot of pre-determined rubrics that you can adapt or translate into your own language. The second video provides a brief introduction to the tool.

4.5 P2P - My PBL Learning Design

In the last 3 weeks we have:

  • identified a class and subject with which we want to implement PBL
  • identified a driving question and received feedback on it
  • created a PBL Learning Design and received feedback on the design, which so far includes
    • aims, learning outcomes, short description
    • activities that support group work and the development of collaborative skills
    • activities that scaffold for student independence and ownership

We hope that the feedback you received so far was helpful and that you have used it to improve your driving question and activities on your design.

In this final week we ask you to embed numerous assessment activities throughout your design. The activities should be short and immediate such as those explored in section 4.2 but some also more comprehensive and in the form of peer assessment. They can be formative or summative and would ideally make reference to a rubric.

As a final step, make sure to finalise your design with further activities (TLAs) so that it becomes a rounded and rigorous design that follows as much as possible the features of an effective PBL as identified in the Project Design Rubric by the Buck Institute of Education. The criteria used for the driving question and TLAs in the previous P2P activities were based on this rubric. Make sure that your final Design will help you to implement PBL in your classroom next school year but at the same time is clear enough for an outsider to understand what you are planning to do.

When you have finalised your Design, make sure to submit it in the text box below, together with a link to your Learning Diary, your name and contact details so that your reviewer can contact you in case they have issues in accessing your work. The deadline to submit your final Learning Design is Wednesday 6th July, 23:59h CEST.