“It was a struggle because we didn’t really know where we were going, but I always find those are the best ones.”
Students like to know why they’re learning something and they want to access that information through a lens that interests them. “If teachers give broad guidelines for the project and then have students do something they’re interested in it will bring students along the whole time,” said Gramann. “Treat students like adults. If the students feel like they’re worth it they’ll act more like adults.”
Projects can often last for several weeks, so students need motivation to stay engaged and committed to deeply engaging a topic. Authentic choice is one aspect of allowing that to happen.
“If you really let them know, and use real life problems, it will help them understand it and they will feel like it’s worth doing,”
He was adamant that learning how to connect a topic to oneself is the key to learning. “Throughout middle school you have to develop skills of how things connect to yourself,”
“If you get hands-on and they’re really interacting with what they’re doing, it’s really helpful,” said Trey Lewis, a junior at North County.
“Collaborating productively is a leadership skill at this school,”
Other students talked about difficult collaborations too, emphasizing that it runs more smoothly if one group member agrees to keep everyone on track.
They also said it gets easier over time as students begin to understand one another’s needs and motivations and can begin to operate as a cohesive group.
Every student on the panel had a story of big failure on an important class project. But because the culture of their schools encourage them to learn from mistakes, they can clearly articulate what they’d do differently next time and even laugh about it.
Differentiation is a long word that sounds complicated but it just means teachers plan for the children who are actually in their class, instead of designing lessons for their idea of the “average” child.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.