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From Inspiration to Implementation: The Teacher's Guide to High-Quality PBL with Xochitl Garcia

From Inspiration to Implementation: The Teacher's Guide to High-Quality PBL with Xochitl Garcia

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In this podcast episode, Dave and educator Xochitl engage in a dynamic conversation about the challenges and rewards of project-based learning (PBL) in science classrooms. They discuss the importance of rethinking the nature of projects, emphasizing the difference between low and high-quality PBL. Xochitl emphasizes the need for authenticity in projects, encouraging teachers to provide diverse exemplars that showcase creativity and depth. The conversation delves into the complexities of resource curation for teachers and the challenge of balancing hands-on experiences with existing bodies of knowledge. They explore the role of science media in inspiring curiosity and framing phenomena, ultimately highlighting the inherently creative nature of teaching. The episode also touches on the significance of teacher creativity in maintaining the joy of learning in the classroom.

The duo shares insights into the ongoing efforts to support teachers in project design, discussing the need for curated materials, exemplars, and resources aligned with standards. They explore the role of feedback and adaptability in teaching, recognizing the importance of acknowledging students as individuals capable of figuring things out. The episode provides a rich exploration of the intricacies of project-based learning, emphasizing the creative and adaptive nature of effective teaching.



Xochitl Garcia is an experienced educator and instructional coach committed to working with schools and nonprofits to create more equitable learning environments for young people. She brings over 17 years of experience as an educator, curriculum developer, professional development leader, and program manager. Xochitl is an education consultant working with districts nationally on educator and leader professional development, selection and development of instructional materials, and the redesign of school systems and structures to create the best learning spaces for young people and those who work with them.

Most recently, Xochitl served as the K-12 education program manager at Science Friday, where she facilitated a community of teacher leaders that worked to develop science experiences based on current research, designed and led STEM professional development, and programming to increase justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion work in STEM. Before that, she was the Manager of Instruction and School Design at Springpoint: Partners in School Design, where she worked nationally to both design and redesign high school models with a focus on equitable design grounded in student and community voices. Xochitl was a teacher for seven years in the South Bronx in New York City, where she led work in special Education and STEM. Xochitl began her career working with GEAR-UP Project Higher Learning in LAUSD to develop peer mentoring programs to increase support and access to post-secondary opportunities.

Xochitl can be found pursuing curiosity about this strange and wonderful world we live in (can we talk about dark plastic, please!?!), tinkering around to figure out how to generate models and experiences that help explain the natural world, and playing board games with her family at home in NYC.


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