Final Stages of our 20% Projects

As this semester comes to an end I can happily say that some of my students are on their final stages of their 20% projects. Getting them to this point was anything but easy. Needless to say, it was a journey that I would not change for anything. I learned so much about myself as a teacher and about the things my students are capable of. I learned that as second graders my students can do anything they put their mind to.

My last 20% post talked about how my students were in the blogging stage of their 20% projects. To recap, students used Seesaw to blog about their projects. They had criteria to follow such as: what are you researching, why are you researching this, what did you learn, how will you teach the class, and what materials do you need in order to do this. Most of my students were able to do this and were very successful at it. This made their work “concrete” in a sense as they were committing to what they had learned and putting it out there for the world to read.

The next phase of the 20% project was for students to complete their “presentation plan”. This was another way for them to commit to how they were going to teach the class. It really got them thinking about how they will share all the information they learned. Before they could start working on their presentation they had to show me the plan. The worksheet consisted of questions such as: What materials do I need?, How will I teach the class?, What work do I need to do in school?, What materials do I need to bring from home?.  As students were showing me their presentation plans I was humbly surprised at the choices my students had made in how they wanted to teach the class. Some interesting ones were: One student is creating a picture book about the Civil War. One student is creating a google slide presentation about different types of rocks. One student is creating a video about algebra. One student is creating a collage about piranhas. One student is making a poster about gymnastics and doing a demonstration. And the list could go on and on and on…

I was so anxious to see where my students were going to take this as we entered the “creation” stage. Students that were on this stage could now use 20% class time to create their presentations and they were so EXCITED. Some of them needed guidance to get started (teaching google slides, etc.) but many jumped right in. I was especially proud of my student who created a google slide presentation because he was working on it over track out!

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As I saw some of my students finishing up their presentations I decided to create a classroom sign up sheet in which students could schedule a time to present to the class. None of my students were quite ready but some were close. I wanted these students to be able to see a date that they could aim for. I explained to students that once you put your name there you have made a promise to present at that time, on that day. All your materials should be ready at that point.

I am excited to see what happens when students present to the class. I can already see the excitement in their eyes and the enjoyment they have had from this project. As I see some of my students finishing and some still on the beginning stages I have to learn to “let go”. Learning does not happen all at once and students work at different paces. I have decided to continue to dedicate Friday afternoons to 20% project time. With that being said, the students that have presented will start a new project and the students still working on their first project will continue to do so.

I have learned many lessons throughout this project and I challenge you to bring this to your classroom. It has changed mine forever. After all it is only 20 % of your time…

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