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From teacher to project- leader

Ten years ago I had the chance to deliver my first project with students.

I assumed it would be a cinch. I mean, after all, I had been teaching for two years already. How hard could it be? Upon delivering each project- based lesson, I would be welcomed with high- fives and a student created tunnel- daily.

Unfortunately, that was hardly the case.

Rather than exit each day through a student- created tunnel, I instead exited class each day alone, with my face buried in my hands.

All I remember thinking was, "Wow, I am not prepared for this."

Projects were infinitely tougher to manage than a classroom. Unlike a classroom with one lesson to deliver, projects contained several moving parts, each with their own nuances.

There were student groups to manage and re-direct when getting off task; space that had to be re-arranged daily to accommodate for the needs of the project; resources to organize to help students move at an appropriate pace; and finally, assessments to administer to ensure students reached an appropriate level of understanding.

I could barely survive let alone complete any of the tasks listed above.

Perhaps you feel the same way.

Perhaps managing projects for you means getting through the day with your sanity intact.

It wasn't until my eighth year as a PBL teacher that I found an organizational system that worked. Thanks to the advances in technology and the emerging body of research in the work, I found a system that allowed me to keep a project organized and maintain my sanity at the end of the day.

I want to share that system with you. This following tutorial will help simplify your life as a project- manager and ensure that you too keep your sanity. Enjoy:

Enjoy the tutorial? Get more ideas for ideas for managing projects by sending an e-mail to

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Kyle Wagner
School Transformation and Project- Based Learning Coach

I coach school leaders on how to lead change and improve student learning through simple, innovative srategies and teaming structures.

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