Jenny with crafted and today I just want to take a few minutes to talk with you about how to launch your project.
So, when you are getting ready to kind of roll out your project on day one with your students, there’s five things that I would encourage you to think about and I know that the project launch is like the last thing you think about after you put all this time and energy into planning your project but it really is the way that we get our students excited about what they’re going to be learning and it’s also the way that we can initially spark some inquiry and some curiosity.
So, if you have it in you to spend your time thinking about this before you roll it out, I really encourage you to start first with the hook, so your hook is just like the old school anticipatory set right when we’re lesson planning, your hook is how are you going to spark their interest and you can go about a hook and a variety of ways probably the most demanding but also rewarding would be fieldwork, so to take your students out into the field and have them collect some data, make some observations, interact with some experts
If you don’t have any need to do that, you can bring an expert into your classroom, you can also have them virtually visit, so you can just do like a video conference or a FaceTime up on your projector and have students interact in that way with either an expert or an end user.
You could show an engaging video clip, a really moving song a piece of poetry or some sort of a really powerful image and do a visible thinking routine, I used to use what does this look like, sound like, feel like or what does this it make you wonder and kind of generate some conversation to get students engaging with what they’re looking at.
So, something that’s related to the project that’s going to kind of make them go wow, you know what is this, what are we about to learn? That will really help as you move into the second phase of your project launch, I like to use the question formulation technique and down below I’ll include a post that I wrote for the right question Institute on how to actually use the QFT with a project launch but it’s a really great way to share some sort of a related focus to the project and get students seeing their own questions and you can use those questions to segue into the third part of your project launch which is the know and need-to-know process.
So, this is just a chance for you to capture what students already know about what they’re going to be learning and more importantly what they need to know, these need to knows are really powerful as a way to guide student inquiry and also create some student ownership and agency as you move throughout the project
I encourage you to think about how you can use your Knows and Need to Knows throughout the entire process of your project, come back to those daily, come back to them every time you do a workshop as you close out a class period at the end of the day you know what did we learn more the more that we know what do we need to know more of and just kind of keep that nose and knee to nose chart alive and I’ll link some resources for you below too on kind of how to just a variety of ways that you can do the knows and need to knows. So, that’s step three of your projects launched.
Step four is; if you’re an elementary school teacher, you may spend some time creating a really cool project board that has all kinds of related information to what they’re going to be doing in the project and you can kind of do like a reveal where you cover it with butcher paper and take it down and talk through the different aspects of what’s on your project board, when I taught secondary, I did a digital hub for our project so you could kind of have a scavenger hunt where they go through and see what resources are in there and available for them and I’ll link a sample of one of those below actually from when I taught fifth grade … But also a great way to kind of get their agency going right get them kind of seeing what resources are out there and what they’re going to be doing in the project you may or may not decide to share the assessment tool that you’re going to use for the project at this time that’s kind of dependent on your grade level as well, that’s a little bit more for secondary, I think than elementary.
And finally, if you’re going to jump into group work right out the gate it’s really important to take some time to move through the team contract process, there’s a variety out there of existing team contracts and hope to create your own, I’ll link a few of my favorites down at the bottom for you of this blog post but and they’re called different things too, like projects I don’t know group role cards or I used to call it a team huddle group contract, whatever you decide to use just something that gets teams to kind of norm around how they want to work together, how they’re going to hold each other accountable, what they’re going to do if someone doesn’t hold up their weight in the project so that you can shift that ownership over to your students.
So, hopefully you can build in some time for those five steps to launch your project, if you put in the time to do those things, I assure you that you’re going to be setting yourself up to do a project that runs really smoothly both for you and for your students.