Needless to say, I have not "powered up" this machine the last two weeks. No, it works fine. I have just committed myself to more project based learning with my students. During the last two weeks, I have had students throwing a Frisbee to calculate their experimental probability, a group shooting baskets with a Nerf ball for their Probability Project and another group with markers on their hands from making their game!
That is right, I have tried to create more of a Maker Space in my room the last two weeks. After spending some time reflecting, I have created a list of tips or suggestions for anyone attempting this:
1. You can not worry about noise: They will laugh, talk, giggle. But, as long as they are productive, I am okay with it.
2. Do not try and clean up until the end of the day: Early on, I tried to clean up my room throughout the day. I quickly realized I was missing interacting with the students. That's my job, right?
3. Apologize to the custodian. Repeatedly: Things will not be as neat as they were earlier in the year. Wear it like a badge of honor.
4. Know where you want them to go upon completion: Be prepared for the group that finishes in half the time. Know how they can extend the project. Or better yet, let them figure that out for themselves. For example, I asking a couple of 8th Graders today about the Science Fair, they began researching the idea of creating a school app!
5. Be a good swimmer: It is tougher to swim with your students than stand and serve as a lifeguard!
6. Provide them with steps (dates) to complete parts of the project by: This will help the student(s) that struggle(s) with time management.
7. Be flexible: Know what you want them to demonstrate to show understanding. Do not care so much what medium they choose to do so.
8. Be able to juggle well: You may need to be working with a group reinforcing a skill while listening to another group work out some struggles while finding your stapler that a group needs to use!
9. Be prepared. For most things: Understand that somethings will arise that you did not expect. Regardless of how well you planned.
10. Be well rested: Planning for a day where I am at the front of the room does not even come close to how tiring it is after "swimming" with your students for the day.
11. Still allow redoes/retakes: I have had several students take my feedback and alter their presentations to show a higher understanding of the concepts. I loved it!
Now, I still plan on using my Smart Board. I am not going to have it removed from my room. Come to think of it, I will be powering it up next week...for my students to give their presentations on a Recreational Center they are pitching! May have to dust it off before the students get in that morning.
Did I leave anything off my list? I am really excited about the changes taking place in my room. My students are working and creating this late in the year. I am learning (slowly) how to scaffold from the lessons to extend the learning experience further. Would love your feedback/suggestions on this.