Gather with other teachers implementing inquiry approaches to their curriculum in virtual Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)

Co-facilitated by Nancy B. Hertzog, Ph.D. (University of Washington) & Jody Hess (OSPI)

Project-based learning is an important and an effective teaching approach to challenge all learners, including those who are above grade level and need advanced instruction. But there is no one way to implement project-based learning, and teachers often find it difficult to integrate project-based learning into required units of study. This course is designed as opportunities to gather with other teachers who are implementing inquiry approaches to their curriculum in virtual Professional Learning Communities (PLCs).

The course consists of eight one hour Zoom sessions on Thursdays, starting on January 14th at 4:00 PM.  These one hour Zoom sessions are open to any and all teachers who are interested in talking about project-based learning.  Nancy Hertzog with Jody Hess and others who may join the Zoom session throughout the 8-week PLC meetings, will facilitate discussions and focus on the strategies that help teachers to differentiate instruction, and provide opportunities for students to engage in their own learning through an inquiry process.

Outcomes of the PLC’s include greater teacher efficacy in implementing project-based learning, feelings of comraderie by working together, and ultimately, better student outcomes for all students engaged in project-based learning, especially those who are most advanced. These PLC’s relate directly to two of the Hi-Cap Plus Professional Learning Modules: Module 4: Inquiry Based Instructional Approaches, and Module 5: Integrating Individual or Small Group Investigation. These PLC’s will encourage teachers to use the Hi-Cap Plus modules and share them with other teachers in their district, thereby helping to sustain the efforts of professional learning for all teachers in WA that were begun with Federal Funds from a Javits Grant.

Course Objectives

  1. Teachers will share their strategies for implementing an inquiry-based unit or project in their classrooms.
  2. Teachers will share successful (and not so successful) strategies they have used to challenge their most advanced learners using an inquiry approach.
  3. Teachers will enhance their own self-efficacy by hearing how others have approached project-based learning, and form a group that supports each other in making changes in their teaching practice.