If you don't want to read the whole thing, here are the basics:
- Kids can do ANYTHING they want as long as it satisfies 3 essential questions that tie what their doing into our class goals. Kids are encouraged to build and create rather than complete.
- Kids have to find an adult to mentor other than the teacher who will help them during their project.
- The projects will last almost 3 months and culminate in a public presentation day.
- I pledge to give approximately 20% of class time to this project for the rest of the year.
- I'm doing a project with the kids - this blog. I am going to blog about the kids work on this blog each day. That's an extra 12-13 blog posts for me!
The projects are coming along great so far. What's happening once a week in my classroom is essentially guided chaos. If you are still looking for a quiet room with perfectly behaved students, you probably should stray away from this particular strand of project. I have, in any given class, around 25 students. That means that I have, in any given class, around 25 different projects going on! It's chaotic, but it's beautiful.
Remember when you try something like this to not get discouraged or expect perfection! We had a Skype session with the author of Teach Like a Pirate, Dave Burgess a few weeks ago and he made a very similar point. Lots of teachers have the tendency to take what was a great lesson or activity or project and focus solely on what didn't work. Not that self-reflection and having a critical eye are bad things, but if 24 of 25 students are on task and engaged and one is not, then you probably have something good going! Keep trying to figure out that 25th students, but don't stop whatever it was that got the other 24 on fire.
This project has lit some fires. There are some that are lagging behind a bit, but I'm trying to follow my own advise and let the passion of the project take over a little bit. It is, after all, called a Passion Project!
In the next blog, I'm going to talk about what kind of structures I'm using to create the guided portion of the guided chaos. This is a big change from when I first started to teach when I didn't realize that I still needed to establish quite a bit of structure before letting the students run free with their imaginations. I think this is probably more true of older students; the reasons for this are really interesting and could probably be a book in and of itself.
For today, however, I want to share the trailers that we made in class. The purpose of these are to build some excitement and anticipation for the project ideas that students have created. I hope that they'll share the trailers with their friends and family, which will involve some more outsiders into the project. Lastly, I'm hoping that these provide a bit of accountability. Students have staked a claim to what they are going to create. Now they have to actually go and create it! This will be exciting to see unfold!
*I'll also note that at the beginning of the year, I get permission slips from students and parents in regards to publicly using their image and likeness in videos like these. Students don't appear in the video unless they gave me a signed permission form.
3rd Hour Trailer
4th Hour Trailer
5th Hour Trailer
7th Hour Trailer
Thanks for reading this blog! I hope you'll consider taking a moment to comment below and turn this into a conversation. Whether you are an educator or not, we have all had common experiences with education both good and bad. I want to hear what you think!
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