Monday, September 24, 2012

     Today, my Honors US History students finished their 2nd true #PBL project.  Their task was to design a museum exhibit around the idea of the "Great American Road Trip."  In other words, they were to look at times that Americans had taken to the road.  I gave them 15 topics to choose from and they spent about a week researching these topics, taking notes, writing quiz questions, and putting together museum exhibits about the topics of their choosing.  They set up their exhibits today and I had people from the community, district office, parents, and other students come by and look at the exhibits and rate them with a rubric.  Tomorrow the students will take student generated quizzes on the information that they deemed the most important about their projects.
     My takeaways from my 2nd #PBL project:

  • Involvement of "outsiders" is a must.  Students have to know that it isn't just me looking at their projects.  This makes the project more real.
  • Allowing others a chance to "grade" the project is also important.  Students have to know that there is a level of work that most people expect.  When I bust on them for doing work that isn't their best, they just think it's me giving them a hard time.  When other people point out that the students didn't perform up to the level of their ability, students reconsider.
  • Giving the students voice and choice over their products was a good idea.  They were able to be creative and got to focus on subjects that mattered to them.
  • I needed to give the students more time with the rubric.  They didn't have enough time to adjust their exhibits to the demands of the rubric.
  • I need to communicate my thoughts about the project better.  I realized at some point today that what I think an exhibit should look like is different than what they may think it should look like.  No one was at fault and it didn't harm their grade, but I need to do a better job of having them visualize what the end product looks like.
  • Students really need help to think through the process.  Some of them didn't manage their time very well and so were doing some last minute tweaks.  Projects should be ready to go when the deadline is reached.
  • My students are very creative and did an awesome job!
Pics and other comments to follow as soon as I get them uploaded.

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