Building Outside the Blocks projects (BOBs) help students build curricular and learning skills to meet expectations inside the curriculum while also building autonomy, community, and connection for participants. BOBs are personalizing as opposed to personalized. Learners can bring to each BOB who they are and what they are interested in. BOBs are powerful high yielding projects.
A BOB is a personalizing project designed to meet a variety of curriculum expectations and presented in class over weeks or months.
You can incorporate multiple BOBs throughout a school year.
Interview your parent(s) about why they chose your name. Then research the etymology of your name and others who share it. Determine why your name does/doesn't suit you and what you would change it to if you could.
The What's in a Name BOB has been done from Grade 3-12.
Choose 1 thing to start or stop doing related to eating, exercise and/or wellness. Track experience for 21 days through a journal. After the allotted time, create a product to reflect the outcome. Student achievements have ranges from learning to exercise, eat healthy , sleep better, hydrate, use breathing or other well being strategies and more.
Locate a song lyric related to an historical person, object or event. Annotate the lyrics. Investigate the meaning of the song. Conclude to what degree the lyrics are congruent with other historical accounts of the same person, object or event. Present the annotated lyrics, analysis and song to the class.
Imagine you are emigrating from your home. Select one object you would have to bring with you. Bring that object to class and present the reasons for your choice.
This was a way to use Genius Hour/20% Time projects. TTalks for Impact begins as a PBL and culminates in a BOB. The essence is that students choose a topic under the umbrella of the Sustainable Development Goals. Students then complete a deep inquiry into the topic and produce a TED-like talk, podcast or video presentation.
Inspired by RJ Palacio's Wonder, students read a biography or autobiography. Then, they design, create and present a monument in the person's honour or one that reflects their contributions.
Students begin by selecting a storybook to read to the class. This is very user-friendly way to begin.
Students present a different picture book using visuals that they create. Any medium is acceptable and the products vary from all corners of the imagination.
After a year of explicit instruction in the writing process, students write and present their own original story with visuals. It may be a fictional or personal narrative, but they have had the time and space to become storytellers.
The PS Series begins with a Portrait of yourSelf. The presenter shares who they are, their family, interests and hobbies in whatever visual manner they choose. Students have made collages, videos, scrapbooks, games, puzzles and much more.
The second stage of the PS Series was originally called a Personal Soundtrack. Students share a nostalgic song, one related to their identity and one that is an anthem or theme song- to pick them up and inspire them. This was the inspiration for the Personal Playlist Podcast (P3). Now, this project is a P3 of its own- The Personal Playlist Project.
Students experience weekly Friday Photo. where they go through four stages to analysing a photograph. This culminating task is also the third part of this Tri-BOB. After several months of this teacher-led experience, students are ready to take their own photographs and lead the decoding of that meaningful text through
Snapshot- a Photo Synthesis.
This is an introduction into what makes something newsworthy, evolves into annotating and summarizing the article, with questions and a response and then the presenting of a visual to enhance the communication of the issue or event.
This was introduced in Grade 6.
What's Up begins with a visual and summary and then adds a critical analysis of the bias(es) in the article or related news coverage (video or image). This task culminates with comparing and contrasting 2 articles on the same subject for bias and presenting the different perspectives by leading a photograph analysis.
This was offered in Grade 7.
This begins with a small group deciding on a news story to investigate independently and schmooze about in front of the class, recorded on video for the purpose of reflection. Next, the same/different group of students select a new issue or event to investigate and collaborate to create a series of tableaus telling the beginning, middle and end of the news story titled News, Schmooze and Tableaux, Too. Finally, the same/different group investigates a news story that they film as a news broadcast called News, Schmooze and Produce.
This was a culminating middle school experience for the Grade 8's.
In any content area unit, you can extend the inquiry by giving students the freedom to choose, investigate and present on a topic. In less than 15 minutes of class time, with no more than 3 presenters on a given day, students can broaden and deepen their understanding of the topic at hand through a personalized lens.
Students lead a game of their choice. They have to be able to communicate the details to their class and prepare all the needed materials. From as young as Grade 1, it's a great way to teach procedural writing, organizational skills and leadership while having a ton of fun learning new games from each student. This was created for Physical Education/Gym class or Daily Physical Activities (DPA). For DPA, only Learning Skills are assessed.
Students choose and share an age-appropriate joke. It's a great way to start a unit on humour by having them unpack the elements one joke at a time. It also helps students prepare to present and develop the tools to include timing, presentation skills and organizational skills. Students can co-construct the aspects of humour after a few weeks of daily LOL's.
This BOB introduces a unit on Rocks and Minerals, allowing the students to build the foundation of the unit by sharing their research on the rocks and minerals to which they are most drawn. It breeds deep engagement in the unit because students have been a part of building it. This was the very first BOB where I worked directly from the content curriculum from Grade 4 Science (in Ontario) instead of beginning with learning skills and making curricular connections.
This TRI-BOB takes students from reading a poem and explaining its meaning, to reciting a poem and the literary tools, to presenting an original poem incorporating all of the elements taught and explaining its intended meaning.
Students create a new word and use the media and marketing tools taught to try to make it "stick".
Students can choose any platform for their BOB project products. As such, BOBs invite students to experiment with and utilize a variety of forms of edtech that they find for themselves, through their teacher or by learning from each other.
Watch the video on the right to learn more.