Prepping for John Hunter: Reflections on Aspirations of PBL at Hillside School

On January 21st Hillside is fortunate to welcome John Hunter, legendary educator and leader, to speak to our Faculty and extended community. I heard John speak at NAIS last March and then again at the Martin Institute over the summer and found him both inspiring and visionary. I am including here a note I just sent to Faculty in an effort to frame our Master Class with John and ensure we all get the most out of our time with him. I hope to update a few more blog posts inspired by our work with him in the near future. John’s evening talk at Hillside will also be open to educators who are interested to attend. If you live nearby, let me know if you want to visit and I’ll save you a seat!


Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to provide a few resources for our upcoming Master Class with John Hunter on January 21st. As you know, this day promises to be both engaging and enlightening. I hope you will review the included documents, some new and some review, surrounding PBL. Please reflect on the following questions as John will work with us to address them, and myriad others, during our time together. I hope these guiding questions and articles get you excited and thinking about our time with John, and our important work with PBL, both now and in the years ahead.



Guiding Questions


  • What is our understanding of the value of PBL at Hillside?
  • What roadblocks, real or perceived, stand in the way of PBL at Hillside?
  • Do we collaborate across subject areas in a way that produces authentic interdisciplinary study?
  • How are YOU using PBL in your classes? What has worked and what have you learned from your failures?
  • What more can we do to cultivate empathy in our students?

Articles and Videos for Review

If you have not yet seen it, please watch John Hunter’s TED Talk

Project Based Learning Resources: Some of these are review, and some are new. All are worth a close look!

Parameters of PBL

Article Outlining Differences Between Projects and PBL

What Project Based Learning Isn’t

What Project Based Learning IS


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