After 11 weeks, 15 class periods, 3 software updates, and 5 topic changes, the 20% Projects were finally presented to an audience on November 15th. In attendance were Ms. Fay, the Principal; Ms. Garcia, the Assistant Principal; Ms. Smith, the science teacher; Ms. Zipper, the instructional aide; and Mr. Cumbow, the network administrator for the district. Add to that a couple dozen parents, and you have all the makings of a large–yet respectful–audience.

This project started here, with the help of several other teachers across the country that are doing this same project.

My favorite moments:

  • The crowd’s “whoa” when Andrew showed his own drawing.
  • Dylan’s encouragement to “Be grateful for the little things”
  • Two female students changed their topic the day before, and still nailed it.
  • Jerel chose to research Dodge because “the car represents muscle and speed… like me”.
  • Victor, Herson, and Ramiro using carbon-fiber cleats “because they’re cheaper”
  • Malea looked up what a Popshield was, so she could explain how it’s used in the studio.

Next time:

  • Have more formal declarations of topic and guiding question. Many questions changed during the course of the research, and they would be closer tied to the topic if they had tattooed it somewhere.
  • Put a sign on my door that says “Please wait for applause before you enter” or just prop the door open.
  • Turn down the brightness on the projector so it shows up on video.

~Matt “It was actually more like 27.3%” Vaudrey

P.S. This is the first post in which I use students’ actual names. In the past, I have used (and will use, in the future) pseudonyms, and confirmed with Ms. Fay that it’s legal for me to use their names here. Parents, please call if you’d like your student’s name removed.