Tips and examples of projects
Before we look at specific projects, let's describe two parts of projects: Where and What.
Where can we see the project?
What is in the project?
The teacher has power to decide where the students' projects will go:
Posters on a wall
notice board (bulletin board)
in a box
on a CD or DVD
on a door
above the urinals
next to the toilet roll
near the water fountain
wherever people stand in line
in a discussion
on a shelf
on the whiteboard
on a TV screen
on a computer monitor
in a binder
in a Facebook group
on a blog
on a website
the “I want to remember this” (IWTRT) journal, diary or log
the “This is important” issues book
The content is important, too. What will appear in the spaces (the “Where”)? The teacher transforms the classroom into a newspaper office. Students are the reporters and editors, finding words, videos and photos and cutting them, piecing them together in new ways.
The teacher can encourage students to post many types of content:
job assignments in the class?
The students can learn to edit videos, create websites, YouTube channels, Facebook groups and page, and blogs, and gain new skills while using projects to explore the curriculum.
Special note about the “I want to remember this” (IWTRT) journal and the “This is important” issues book: Perhaps they are the same binder. When the teacher/facilitator finds an article that is important to her, she puts it in the binder marked “IWTRT” – the “Tunafish are overfished” articles are in my IWTRT binder. Why not encourage students to find issues that matter to them and THEN build the curriculum (math, science, literature, writing, languages, history) around those issues?
Note: To keep the interest of the students, quotations and other posted materials can be moved around the room once a week (or placed in storage for two weeks and then returned to be displayed in another location). The teacher can assign or request students to do the moving of the materials – and this task of moving turns into a learning moments, since the students can look at each item and decide, “Marsha's poster would look good over there – most people couldn't see it when it was on the back of the door.”
The purpose of this book now becomes clear: Most teachers focus on WHAT happens in the classroom (the content of the class). This book (especially the quotes, the excerpts from Neil Postman's book and the quotes from Littky) asks you to focus on procedures and theWHERE of the class. Where can students perform their understanding? Where can they express themselves? What locations will you release to the control of students? Please: let students take over walls, websites and more.
Draft chapter about Projects in GUIDE ON THE SIDE