PBL & Common Core Tip: Instructional Time for Teaching Thinking SkillsPosted by Andrew K. Miller on May 24, 2012 in ASCD, Blog | 0 comments
Every PBL project has 21st century skills that are taught, assessed, and transferable across various disciplines.
How to teach and assess critical 21st century thinking skills, however, may not always be readily apparent from the way standards are written. Take these examples from the Common Core:
Reading Standard for Literature Grade 7: Analyze how particular elements of a story or drama interact (e.g., how setting shapes the characters or plot).
Math Standard – Linear, Quadratic and Exponential Models: Construct and compare linear, quadratic, and exponential models and solve problems.
If you unpack these standards, you can separate the concepts from the skills. Concepts like “elements,” “drama,” “quadratic” and “linear” emerge, but so do skills. In this case, analysis and comparison are embedded in the standards.
Analysis, for example, needs to be taught discreetly in order to scaffold instruction toward this standard, as a whole. Likewise, if you have a Math PBL project on Linear equations, then students also need to be skilled at making comparisons. When backwards designing PBL projects to the Common Core standards, be sure to include lessons and activities that teach not only the concepts covered in the standards, but the thinking skills embedded in the Common Core that support learning, across disciplines.