Project Collection Day, and an Introduction

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Objective

SWBAT reflect on and describe what they've learned over the last two weeks, working on the Number Line Project.

Big Idea

One of my goals this year is to cultivate in students an ability to explain what they've learned. Today's reflection serves as a baseline assessment in that work.

Cover Sheet and Finishing Touches

20 minutes

Check out my narrative video for an overview of my grading philosophy on this project, and how I introduce the Number Line Project Cover Sheet to students: Number Line Project Collection.

Here is the key information the cover sheet and what happens during today's class:

  • What each student writes for the reflections on the back of their cover sheet is what I will read most closely as I assess their work.  These documents serve as baseline data for the reflection work I'm trying to build with students, and I believe that if students can describe what they've learned over the last two weeks, then this project is a success.
  • The gathering of work and reflection time should take about 20 minutes, and I give students a little extra time to put finishing touches on everything.  I do not distribute new copies of any parts of the project to students today.  I really want to keep their focus on the reflection part, not on scrambling to throw together work that should have been done over the last two weeks.  Finishing touches are fine, however, on parts that they've already been working on.
  • I'm not going to grade anything with an incomplete reflection.  Indeed, in each class I end up returning work to about 1 in 4 students with incomplete reflections, and therefore no grade, in order to emphasize this.  I say that students have one day to complete these reflections and return the project to me before I enter zeros in my gradebook.  Of the work I return to students, I get all of it back within 24 hours, and this structure is built.  This is in line with Rick Wormelli's idea that "the consequence of not doing work...is doing work!"
  • If students are very engaged in finishing their work, I'll give them more than 20 minutes to do so.  I don't rush to the second half of class if they're using the time well.  I make this decision on a class-by-class basis.

Linear Equations

20 minutes

In some of my classes, there is some amazing work and learning happening as students finish up their projects.  Of course, I wouldn't prefer to have it this way, but there will always be a student or two who are finally working harder than they have all year.  It's exasperating, sure, but I'm also not going to stop work once it finally starts.

So what I'd like to do right now is collect projects, then move on to a few linear equations, which will give students a preview of what we're doing next week while providing me with some info about where my students are at.  But with some classes, I might not get to this today, because I'll give them the entire period to put finishing touches on their projects.

In high achieving classes...

If all students submit work and are ready to move on, I will, saying, "Let's jump right in to what's next!"  I'll keep it informal and light, because I believe in relaxing and celebrating (if only a little) after accomplishing something, and I want kids to see that.  So I simply write a linear equation on the board - I'll start with two simple steps - then take a seat at the back of the room and ask if anyone would like to show us how to solve it.

It's always funny how excited kids get to do this kind of work after submitting a project.  It's familiar, they've seen it before, and they're very excited to show off this knowledge, so I can always expect a few volunteers.  Someone will jump up, work to solve the equation, and other students will watch and naturally offer feedback. 

We'll repeat as many times as we can before the end of class.

With joy, I say that there's no new homework: "take the weekend off," I say, "but if you need extra time to finish up the project, take it."