Establishing a PBL Timetable allows the teacher to provide students with clear expectations of when the final project will be due along with completion checkpoints throughout the project to keep students focused. This allows students to be able to set daily goals that help them manage their time and complete the project on time.
Introduce the PBL project to the students (see the Launching into PBL strategy in the BetterLesson Lab to learn more). Explain the expectations to the students and what the end goal will be.
Divide the students into their project collaborative groups. Consider assigning student roles if needed (see the Democratizing Group Work: Student Roles strategy in the BetterLesson Lab to learn more).
Have students think about and discuss the project requirements and lead a group discussion with the class around creating a timeline for completion. Once the class has agreed upon a timeline for completion, post this either in the class or using a digital platform so the teacher and students can regularly reference this timetable. Some options for how to create a timetable include:
The timetable could be a calendar with specific due dates for pieces of the project (i.e. prototypes, research, revisions, presentations).
The timetable could be a week-by-week guide of what students should be focusing on during the week.
The timetable could be based on student roles (i.e. "All recorder information is due by _______.")
Once the timetable has been created, have each student fill out the Daily Project Work Report included as a resource below (see the Special Education Modification block below to support students with this). This will help each student and the teacher track the daily work being done to reach the timetable deadlines.
Have regular check-ins (suggested once a week) with students or groups to maintain a sense of urgency during the project and to support students as they are completing their goals.
Follow the same implementation steps listed above, but have the students work collaboratively in their groups to create their own timetable for the project.
Meet with each group to approve and discuss the timetable before students begin the project.
Students with disabilities that impact their organization or attention, or students who receive extra time on assignments per their IEP, may struggle with meeting a goal each day. To support students, the teacher should meet with these students each day to help them complete the goal portion of the Daily Project Work Report. The teacher should ensure that the daily goal is achievable for each student and that students understand the path to complete the goal.
How could you develop students as independent yet successful managers of project time?
How could you grow student ownership of a project?
How could a project timetable help students stay on top of their work and come to class prepared?
FlexTime Manager is a versatile solution that promotes student-centered and super-charged activity periods with on-the-go customization and flexibility, meeting a variety of scheduling needs easily for students of all ability levels.
Flextime Manager supports this strategy because it can be used to manage activity periods and keep track of progress on projects
Google Docs is an online word processor (part of Google Apps) that allows you create and edit documents collaboratively in a web browser.
Google Docs supports this strategy by allowing students to work collaboratively or individually on the shared graphic organizer. The teacher can see the responses in real-time and the teacher and students can comment on the graphic organizer and revise as needed.
Explore the Controversies in Genetics - Multiday Project lesson by 7th grade Science teacher Mariana Garcia Serrato included in the resources below to see how she creates a timetable for the projects with students (Section 4).