Today was LAUNCH DAY! I was heavily influenced by A.J. Juliana and John Spencer’s work, hence the term Launch. For the past few days, the students have been wrapping up their initial inquires and finally got to “launch” them today. It’s been a process. At the start of the year, I was intentionally vague
Over the past few weeks, I fielded a lot of
The one question that caused me to pause, and I was asked this question by a lot of students was, What should I research? I’m not sure I would have been able to answer this question as a high school student. It’s a harder question to answer than I thought. I thought every student would have jumped at the opportunity to use class time to explore things they were interested in. But, I was wrong.
In this whole process, I found that students are programmed to do what we say. The students I have this year are very compliant, to a fault. They aren’t sure what they are interested in or what they want to pursue. They almost want worksheets because there is a “work” to complete and the thinking is usually linear. This launch cycle has helped erode a piece of compliance, but I’m not naive enough to believe that
On launch day, students displayed their learning and questions through drawings, PowerPoint presentations, two formal speeches, a video, essays, and
The students moved to another’s presentation. They read through the presentation and came up with as many probing questions as they possibly could. Then, they explained another’s project to a group of four. The group then asked more questions. They jotted all of the questions on a sheet of paper for the person to review.
The students were not commenting on each other’s projects, but rather asking questions. From these questions, the students were gaining a diverse perspective outside their own narrative. They had different people look at their project who could ask questions from their perspective.
I walked around the room and wrote as much of the conversations that took place. Dominica stated,
I don’t feel pressured.
Historically, AP World History is a tough class. For her to say this validates what I have been trying to do. I feel I am honoring them as human beings and creating conditions that people learn best in. At least for this project.
Another highlight was that they got to pick what they researched and learn about without restrictions on how they would share their learning. With that, another student said,
I actually have to think about I am doing.
This comment goes back to what I highlighted earlier. I’m not telling them what to think or exactly how to format every detail.
Some of the students suggested that there should be a partner they check-in with more frequently, almost daily, to ensure they are moving towards a finished project. All most like a buddy system to help them along the way.
When the students were reviewing the project, they commented they needed a way to categorize each presentation. The students sat down and reviewed a project that they weren’t interested in or wanted to know. They wished that for future launch days, they would know what each project was about.
Overall, I’m happy with the time I gave to it and I hope I continue to do that. Thanks for reading.