Designer Teaching: How to create a ‘PBL Essay’

Project Based Learning is controversial.

The conflict between impressive real world outcomes and rigorous learning processes is difficult to reconcile.

In honesty, I lean towards the latter, which brings us onto the PBL process of essay planning that I have been crafting for a chunk of this academic year.


In this model, students independently work through a series of 5 essay planning stages, following any combination of Immersion and Comprehension tasks that you may have crafted.

1. Copy the question and highlight key words

2. Understand the question and explain what it is asking you to look for

3. Generate ideas

4. Find evidence

5. Experiment with topic sentences

blake1 blake2 blake3 blake4 blake5

The beauty of this model is that:

The simplicity of this process is in its easy facilitating of careful planning. No elaborate worksheets, no exhausting chalk-n-talk teaching from the front. Just focussed, meaningful 1:1 guidance and a fully differentiated process.

I’ll get some sample kids’ work to illustrate. Watch for the update, and share this among any project-based friends you have out there.

As ever, yours in teaching,

-Unseen Flirtations
TES Teaching Resources


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