After I have assigned the project, I give the students a total of 7 days to complete it, which starts the Friday I assign the project and ends on the following Friday. During this time, I give the students at least 4 full class periods to complete the project, usually 5 when I am able to.
To start each class period, I do a brief check-in with the students together. I ask each student to write down a plan for the day. I have the kids set it up like a checklist that they can use to monitor their own individual progress as it relates to the goals established using the Literature Circle Culminating Project Guidelines. Before letting the students get to work, I also remind them each day that they should complete any undone portions of their daily plan as homework in order to remain on track.
Procrastination is the enemy of progress!
The remainder of each of the 4-5 given class periods is dedicated to the students working with their groups to complete all of the necessary components in preparation for the Day 5 due date, when the students will compile all of their documents into one folder. I remind the students daily that each document they are creating should directly connect with the other activities in some way. In order to do so, they should be peer-reviewing documents throughout the process, not just at the end. While one student may be the person accountable for completing a document, the entire group is accountable for the overall quality of the project as a whole.
To help facilitate peer review is taking place continuously, I provide each group with their own page on our classroom Edmodo.com page. This allows students to share documents and discuss without the worry that other students are stealing or judging the work. When I first started this project 3 years ago, I did not do this and have since found it to be invaluable. The students have shared with me that it helped them feel safer to share ideas and thus helped them to improve the quality of their work and build confidence. For more info about using this feature to enact this lesson, please check out my Edmodo Small Groups Mini-Tutorial document.
As students are working, I spend the first 20 minutes or so doing group conferencing, where I am able to see how well groups are progressing, address any collaboration-related issues they may be having, and provide feedback to help them continue improving each day. The final 25 minutes or so of each of these five class periods is spent doing one-on-one conferences with students based on needs I have determined in my group conferences. I start with the students I believe need to conference, and then I provide the opportunity for all other students if they want or feel they need to meet with me.
At the conclusion of Day 5, students put together their folder with all materials in the following order: