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Framingham State University & Mass Bay Community College



Project Busters






Get students excited about learning (life-long learners).

Have the reasoning skills to manage in today’s society and begin to build a set of skills to use in multiple careers.

Understand that problems are opportunities.  The bigger the problem, the bigger the opportunity.

Have students better prepared for college or a career.


Student Engagement: Have a discuss about the following;

Why do you think its important to learn life-skills?  What key words would they use to describe them? Have you use them in a sports team?


Ask the students:

  • What class they had that made them feel good about learning? 

  • What was it about it that did it for them?

  • If they have no answer, what teacher did they have that did not help them and why?

  • Why do they think it is important for them to be good learners?

  • Identify your highest hopes and deepest fears in life?


Recognize that you own your learning and are responsible for its success

Think of yourself as in your own business of learning,. What are you going to do to be successful?


“Students  need to change their disposition toward school away from being directed by someone else to an attitude of working for your-self—agency, self-discipline, initiative and risk-taking are all important on the job.”

students should use a to-do list, develop a personal learning plan and create a portfolio of their best work

They learn to self-manage their time, reflect on how things are going again the plan and how to check-in when they know they need support.

Our commitment to the student:

We are firm on expectations and principles but flexible on pathways give students time to engage deeply and opportunities to succeed and fail, and support the development of self-direction.

High engagement schools start from a different conception—knowledge co-creation and active production. They design a very different learner experience and support it with a student-centered culture and opportunities to improve self-regulation, initiative and persistence—all key to self-directed learning.
Overview Presentation:


Engineering Mind-set (Thought concept for the program )



Deposit/ Withdrawal of funds      examples of positive teamwork

Life skill

Deposit Withdrawal
Character traits, Teamwork Give someone a compliant Say something mean or make fun of someone
  Help out without being asked Show a bad attitude towards an activity
Loving Kindness to others Do an act of kindness Complain
Setting goals Follow through on a goal  
Learning team
  • Helping your team mate be successful
  • Listen attentively
Looking for all the credit
being part of the community Actively participate Have to be asked twice to do something
  Smile & laugh a lot  
  Not be too hard on oneself Get mad at your self
Mistakes are a learning tool: Its OK to make a mistake Accept failure graciously Get frustrated or angry



 Program (PBL)

Professional Development (PD)
Class Handouts

Distributed at the end of the class

What did we cover; What's next

Day1 Day2 Day3
Day4 Day5 Day6
Overall review document File
Thinking skills & Emotional skills File
 Good review of PBL elements File

          Detail project Plans 

The basic project for the students:

The learning can be broken into five major parts

1.0  Ice Breaker ...   Marshmallow project (Begin our thoughts on the problem to be solved)

Brain Plasticity (Mindset)

2.0 Forming teams and setting community values, norms


Flip learning page

3.0 a) Picking a project ...  b)  Requirements & Measurements


Flip Problem framing, Design

4.0 Problem solving process...  another design process  Circular design


Flip:  Problem-Solving

5.0 Public reporting and feedback

·   ``

  • During each of the sections, Life-Skills are cognitively infused while the students are doing their tasks 
  • Life-skills versus learning project elements


Project data:

 Overview slides File (PDF)
Schedule overview

Approximately 10 one hour sessions

Role of the facilitator


Emphasis on building learning skills by facilitating meta-cognitive questions during the process

The definition of facilitate is "to make easy" or "ease a process." What a facilitator does is plan, guide, provide feedback and manage a group event to ensure that the group's objectives are met effectively, with clear thinking, good participation and full buy-in from everyone who is involved.

Tenets of the organization File
Outcomes & Uniqueness's File
Day plans

Daily feedback sheets


General feedback sheet

Day1 Day 2

T,  IS,


P, F, S,

B, T

Day 4


Day 5

S,   D

Day 6 Day 7  
 Feedback from Questionnaire 6282017.pdf Feedback Questionnaire 07122017     
Simple projects that can be accomplished as a group while learning skills



Tools/Quick notes:

Web site for links to Life-Skills descriptions Link
People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.

   Vince Lombardi

Team members questions to themselves What do I bring to the team? 2. What are our commitments to one another? 3. What differences exist between us? 4. How will we operate? 5. How will we know we are succeeding?
Improv File
Assessment/Rubrics File
Questions & learning File
Project framing File
Picking the problem File
Planning & schedule File  Getting set-up to do the project
Elevator pitch File    Short presentation of key items that you did
Mapping File   Information gathering plus how they are connected
Learning Process File

Brain Plasticity


Thinking skills

Creative thinking

Critical thinking
Meta-cognitive thinking
Reflection (feedback)


File  Maintain the state of doubt and to carry on systematic and protracted inquiry --- these are the essentials of thinking



Learning targets File Learning targets are short term goals or statements
Self-Reflection of the project File
Benefits of the process File
Preparing for the presentation check-sheet File
Scamper File   Coming up with ways to find new ideas
Links from home page of Project Academy


the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual


Interesting web sites;

Did you know? Today's learners will have 10-14 jobs by the age of 38
TED talk Ken Robinson
TED talk Benefits of self-directed learning ... Motivation
TED talk Carol Dweck     ...Your Mindset
New Tech Network At New Tech Network, our partnerships with schools drive everything we do. Together we are transforming teaching and learning around the country. Our shared vision for student success – college and career readiness for all students – has a very specific meaning in the Network. 

21st Century Learning


TED talk Tony Robins .. What shapes you; You define who you are; Need rituals to make things happen.
MIT- Solving World Problems

Solve at MIT:

An annual flagship two-day meeting on MIT’s campus. A small number of challenges are explored in small-group interactive sessions focused on a single challenge, moderated by experts who can facilitate the problem-solving process. 

Next Solve at MIT: Spring 2017 


Ghana think tank Ghana ThinkTank’s innovative approach to public art reveals blind spots between otherwise disconnected cultures, challenges assumptions about who is “needy,” and turns the idea of expertise on its head by asking people in the “third world” to solve problems of people in the “first world.” This process helps people overcome their own stereotypes while being exposed to the stereotypes that other cultures have about them.
Service learning To create a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world with young people, their schools, and their communities through service-learning

Establishing a Respectful Environment from Faculty Innovation Center on Vimeo.


Coaching Students How to Study from Faculty Innovation Center on Vimeo.


Creating contemporary learning environments from EDtalks on Vimeo.

Problems as opportunity  

It is the policy of Project Academy not to discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religion, national origin, color, homelessness, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its education programs, services, activities, or employment practices.