Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Are Your Students' Projects POINTLESS?

As most of you know, I teach gifted students (3rd-5th) through a pull-out program by grade level while also teaching whole-group enrichment classes grades K-4.  I also have small groups of high achievers (not identified as gifted--yet) whom I meet with as well.  I love what I do even though my time with each group is so limited.  This limited time makes it difficult to get everything done, which I'm sure is a problem for EVERY teacher, no matter what they teach.  Because of this limited time, many of our projects are completed outside of class.  So projects are assigned, usually by a choice board, deadlines are given, we discuss ideas, and the students return with their projects ready to present.  Yippee, right?

Wrong.  Or at least sometimes wrong.  Sometimes my students create these projects, and I can't figure out the point.  Like, what are you trying to say?  For example, my 3rd grade gifted students read an amazing book this fall, The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester. Incredible book.  The students loved it.  It is filled with jaw-dropping twists and turns, good versus evil, etc.  But when my kiddos presented their projects, some of them were just.... meh.  Now some of them were really good, but others... not so much.  So this year when it came time to begin our projects, I had a plan.  Well, I had a plannER.  Let me show you.

What I created is a graphic organizer to help students gather their thoughts and plan their project.  Many times I think that students just want to create something pretty, but they don't think about the actual learning that they are supposed to be demonstrating.  Although this organizer is detailed and there are lots of spaces to fill, I think this can be a valuable tool to help students achieve.  I used this with my 3rd grade gifted students, and they didn't like it.  I laughed!  Of course they didn't; it meant they had to think more! But for the ones who actually thought about their plans and filled out the organizer, this planner really helped them to produce better work.  I was so proud of them!

You can click on the link below to download your own copy for free!  Please leave feedback if you like it!

I would love to hear your comments, suggestions, and any ideas you have for helping students create amazing projects!  Thanks for stopping by!

1 comment:

  1. I work in a building with a gifted program and a general education program. Both groups need to know what learning they are supposed to be demonstrating. Thank you for this post.
    Artistry of Education