Thursday, October 10, 2013

Planning, Learning, Creating - Our First Project!

This week we started our first project.  As you can tell from my last post (if you had a chance to read it), this week was kind of like our Genesis.  It was us starting over.  It was me starting again.  I feel like I'm hitting my groove, I feel like I'm in my element.....to put it bluntly, I'm back!

I don't know what was up the first 6 weeks, but it was a mess.  I was all over the place.

This week we started our first project!  We started our "Planning a Party" project.  You can see all the elements to the project HERE.

Last six weeks we covered Place Value, Decimals (ordering and adding and subtracting), multiplication, division, and rounding.  I wanted a project that would encompass all of that (and prime & composite since that's where we're moving now), so I created our Plan a Party project.  I did a variation of this last year, but this year I included many more elements.

First off I did NOT print out the expectations for the students.  I shared it with their Google accounts as to save paper and so no one could say they "lost" the paper!  Soooooo much drama avoided!

This week what was accomplished was a little less than I had hoped, but we're still learning good time management haha.  My class times are about an hour, BUT we spent the first 10-15 of each day this week with a challenge problem.  As I said in my last post, I noticed reading was a huge deficiency this year.  So to help that, I am starting every class with a VERY challenging word problem.  They work in pairs to solve and the first two groups to solve get lunch and a movie in my room that day!  It's been great!  They're working so hard and the kids I least expected are the ones figuring the problems out!

I also did not explain the project the students are doing AT ALL.  I gave them the expectations and told them they would have to read to figure out what to do.  Each group is also allowed 5 questions throughout the project to ask me (usually I do three, but hey it's our first project).  And yes, asking to go to the bathroom counts as a question :-)






The kids have done exceptionally well with figuring things out on their own, even if they are still struggling with following the directions exactly as they're written out.

While the kids are working on their projects, I've been very "hands-off" and pulling two or three kids at a time to work on skills they didn't seem to master from our first exam.  It's been great having that time to really discuss with them some mistakes I saw and ways they could improve!

I can't wait til next week when groups will start wrapping their projects up.  There hasn't been a "hard" deadline set, mainly because I'm not sure how long to give them just yet, but it will be at some point next week that they'll be expected to be finished!

It's so nice to have a week where I feel accomplished, hoping to keep the ball rolling!