Over the past two weeks I have had some time to rethink how my classes are approaching their 20 Time Projects. I have been allowing a lot of looseness in how the students used their 20% class time and not being as hands-on with their progress. I have been feeling that this might be a disservice to some of my students who need more structure. I wonder too, how much work students can actually get done with just a short 20% of their class time each day rather than a larger chunk. I also think the weekly blogs have not been effective reflection tools. So I have decided it is time for a slight overhaul. Below is what I sent to my students and I will go over it with them in class tomorrow. Hopefully this change will facilitate better progress for the teams that seem to be lagging and allow for others to have a more stable work period they can count on.
20 Time Updated Model:
Up until this point all students have had blogs due each Monday by 3:30 to document their progress on their 20 Time Projects. Each time has also been provided some loose class time to work on their 20 Time Projects. In looking at various group’s progress and evaluating the effectiveness of the weekly blogs, I have decided to make some changes. They are outlined below. Projects are still due to present in April, after Spring Break.
Blogs: Each team or individual student will post two blogs per month for the project for a total of eight more blogs. These blogs should not be content for your project. They should be what I originally intended, check-ins to let me know how things are progressing. The due dates are below. They are hard dates regardless of weather, vacations, field trips, etc.
- January 15
- January 31
- February 15
- February 28
- March 15
- March 31
- April 15
- April 30 (This will be a final reflective blog about your presentation and the culmination of your project)
20 Time: Each Friday will be a 20 time class. You will have the entire class period to work on your projects. This can include interviews, videotaping, writing, reading or whatever makes sense for your project. That means on the block schedule you will receive this time every other week. I will be requiring you to only work on your 20 time project during this time and will monitor to ensure this is occurring. I feel that the short bursts of time I have been giving you are not effective for you to accomplish anything of substance towards your project. I think having a dedicated class every other week will help this issue. I will be assigning participation grades for the work being done in class. You should come prepared to work on your projects- not Math, Science, Government or other work for this class or any other class. The school has acquired a technology and art supply cart to help with project-based learning and you are welcome to use items on the cart. I have also been awarded a mini-grant for some of the supplies and costs associated with some of your projects. As I receive those funds, I will help you solidify your websites, arrange for book editing and publication and whatever else is needed for finalization of your projects. I hope this change in format will aid your efforts and fuel you on the second half of your journey with these projects.