187: Map the Project





Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 7.08.16 PM


  1. Organize Tasks and Activities:
    • Divide up project products into key sub-tasks
    • Categorize sub-tasks into things students know how to do and don’t know how to do
    • Set aside time to scaffold tasks students don’t know how to do
  2. Decide How to Launch the Project
    • Examples of entry events: class discussion, field trip, article, guest lecturer, activity, video
    • Entry documents
      • outlines scenario and related problem
      • specifies students’ roles and audience
      • defines key tasks and deliverables
      • describes expectations
  3. Gather resources
    • Resources to gather:
      • Websites
      • Project forms
      • Equipment
      • Panelists and experts
      • Books
      • Materials to make products
    • (If needed) Allocate time to scaffold how to use resources
    • Be wary with technology.  Make sure it enhances not distracts away from learning objectives.
    • Select resources that:
      • increase efficiency of project tasks
      • increase information available to students
      • allow students to analyze information more thoroughly, meaningfully or realistically
  4. Draw a “storyboard”
    • Sketch out main activities in a scoreboard or on a calendar
    • Storyboard or project calendar should include
      • project launch
      • academic scaffolding and assessments
      • preparation time for products
      • due dates for drafts or rehearsals
      • due dates for projects
      • exams
      • homework assignments
      • reflection and review


Developing a preliminary project plan is critical to successfully implementing and facilitating a project.  Project calendars need to be created in advance to ensure that all skills that are assessed have time set aside for related scaffolding activities.  Having a preliminary plan in place frees up teacher time and resources during the project run to make adjustments that improve the project and make it accessible to ALL students regardless of interest and readiness levels.



Preparation Steps
  • Unpack standards and habits of mind associated with products in an upcoming project.
  • Create a list of activities and assessments needed to adequately prepare students to create great products and to learn and apply academic learning outcomes.
  • Create a preliminary project calendar that includes key scaffolding activities and assessments
  • Plan project launch and presentation.
Early Implementation Steps
  • Implement activities and tasks on project calendar.
  • Use formative assessments to make needed adjustments to the project calendar.
Advanced Implementation Steps
  • Recruit outside experts and audience members to support students at project launch, during the project middle, and on presentation day.
  • Use student project reflections to refine future iterations of projects and improve strategies in future projects.
  • Use the Assessments data base to create a varied portfolio of assessments that measure the progress and mastery of academic and character learning targets



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *