An iLEAD PBL Story

Author: | Category: General, Making Magic

Meet the Makers

Angie Nastovska, Director of Humanities and Innovation

What is something interesting you learned recently?

I have always prepped meals over the weekend or worked on meal prep ingredients for the week. One of my “must-haves” has always been a good base for a soup or stew.

Subconsciously, I have always known that this is a must for healthy development but recently I learned that: Think of this healthful broth as a survival food (rather than just a recipe ingredient), and you will see that it has many benefits. For example, taking water from a surface source (like a creek) and boiling it to make a soup stock will actually disinfect that water and offer a safe form of hydration. In colder weather, this liquid can be sipped while hot to provide valuable warmth. It’s also a great source of nutrients. Vitamins and minerals abound, though the exact nutritional profile will vary wildly depending on the plant and animal foods that are used (as well as the length of cooking time and the heat). Whichever plants and critters you include, you should expect the broth to contain fat, protein, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, potassium, selenium, copper, zinc and much more. In the growing movement of health conscious consumers, bone broth is hailed as a mineral source that can help combat osteoporosis. It’s also reputed to support our adrenal glands, relieve arthritis and even fight tooth decay. This broth can also be a natural source for glucosamine, chondroitin, keratin and hyaluronic acid (substances which provide support for our joints, skin, and other useful organs). Let’s face it, most of the commercially available “survival foods” just don’t have a nutritional profile that comes close to bone broth.

Click here to read more.

What is your favorite fruit

I love all fruits, but my ultimate favorite is cherimoya. The very first time I tried it I thought “This must be nature’s best pudding or a dessert.” However, it has to be the right consistency and ripeness. 

This Week’s Why?

Recently, I was asked to reflect upon my “why” as an educator and a member of the iLEAD family. Interestingly enough, my thoughts brought me back to my third year at SCVi when I had a crazy idea.

I proposed that all grades in high school (9-12) eliminate classes and periods for this project. All facilitators will print and post “I can” statements and learners will engage in a four-day seminar, rotating between facilitators to explore their subject-matter passions and interests. At the end of the week, learners had to engage in a personal reflective activity — creating their interest or passion profile — where they explore what they want their project to be. They also identified which facilitators will act as the mentors, based on the disciplines needed to support the project process.

All facilitators acted as subject matter experts but interdisciplinary collaborators. We monitored the kids and supported their project developments. Learners had complete voice and choice on topic, while also developing the process and all project components. Facilitators needed to offer facilitation of the rigor, document the assessment and deliver workshops based on learner demand. 

After 10 weeks, we ended up with a 9-12 presentation of learning that we ended up calling the Big History Project. Based on the nature of the project, learners took a time period of a specific year and designed their presentation. The experience and the feeling were wonderful. It was project-based learning at its finest.

This Week’s Focus

Driving Question

What is your “why”?

What’s iLEAD’s Story?

An overview inspired by Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk Start With the Why

“…because in PBL we embrace definitely incomplete and possibly incorrect!”- HTH


The more narrow we define what math, science, history and ELA are, the more broadly we have defined what is not. This means that we make it so hard for educators to let learners explore, inquire, and go deeper if we place specific parameters around what these are and are not. Project-Based Learning provides a great lens for educators and learners. It’s an educational “playfield” that allows educators and learners to design/create and inquire about something that wasn’t there before or was not defined. We have to understand that resistance is part of the process. The natural tendency of every human being is to resist the new or challenging and resist the change/deviation from the norm or status quo. In contrast, the best experiences come out of a true struggle. 

By using the traditional method of teaching, we minimize our role as educators to providers of answers and examples, which results in a very passive role on the side of the learners. In turn, from experience, we have learned that with compliance, learners become rebellious, distressed, inattentive, wandering, chatty, disengaged and eventually become “educationally numb.” Also, by dominating the educational floor by just giving information, examples and models, we have created a non-functioning replica that promotes a static nature.

The Underlying Principles of PBL?

As children and adults, we are all united under the similar principles:

Investigation – We are inquisitive by nature.

Reflection – We all have a tendency to share “what happened?”

Documentation – When we like something or when something is so engaging, we get inspired and we tend to use any media to document the process and experience because we want to remember, use or “make something better.”

Observation – observation is necessary for modeling, exploring best practices and expanding horizons

Exhibition/Presentation We all have different tendencies for sharing ideas, encounters, experiences, processes, products in a personalized, authentic and meaningful way.

TOP 5 PBL Structural components:

  • Keep breathing
  • Ignore a few basic axioms
  • Have learners and adults work in teams
  • Have them be/become constructivists in every aspect
  • Make the place lighthearted even though the work is serious because the kids should be in an environment that honors them

The first step to effective PBL implementation is eliminating the facilitator’s work in timeless isolation. Provide structure and opportunity for interaction so that intersection (cross-disciplinary) can happen. 

The more breaks there are throughout the day, the bigger the likelihood of discipline disruption due to the passing periods, breaks, etc.

Why iLEAD?

AT iLEAD: We are a PEOPLE OF PURPOSE, establishing a NEW PARADIGM for education. We are a caring culture that VALUES COMMUNITY, which contributes to a better society.


More Magic

Being Makers

Being Makers

Being Makers is a team of change-making leaders from Maker Learning Network and iLEAD Schools focused on project-based learning and social-emotional growth.
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