Well I know I said I was going to document my progress of my student driven projects weekly, but the weeks have flown past and I haven’t documented anything!!!
We are now in our third week of the projects. The students had the choice of who they worked with chose a project topic from OKGO inspired Junk instruments, Cartoon Soundtrack, Writing a parody and Learning an Instrument (keyboard or guitar). We spent a week (2 x 50 minute periods) working on a brainstorming web with a focus of what they already know about their chosen topic and what they think they will need to learn to complete their project. I also talked to them about the design process (research, generation of ideas, development, refinement, final product), each group was required to complete a plan (I provided a template) and accompany it with research. I am also trying to encourage them to become comfortable using our classroom wikispace. So they had to upload their research (predominantly links to youtube clips) to their groups wiki page within our classroom site.
The last two weeks has been when the organised chaos started!! I provided each group with a ‘desktop checklist’ that outlined steps they should be working on. But have tried to step back and let them create!
The students have responded so positively to this shift in curriculum. For the my post part they are all using their class time effectively. What I have really enjoyed is how students have taken the topic and suggested ways to tweak it to more suite their groups interests. I had one student who had trouble fitting in with any of the groups and claimed that none of the topics interested him. I knew that he learned an instrument outside of school and when I suggested that we ‘tweak’ the learn an instrument project so that he could record himself playing a song that I know he has performed before and use garage band to ‘change’ it he was thoroughly engaged!!
We have 3 more 50min lessons left before the final presentation class. I have my doubts about some groups finishing in time and I am already trying to think of ways to better scaffold tasks for the learn an instrument project groups and the cartoon soundtrack ones. But overall I am feeling excited because I think this is working!!