I would like to update you on my goals this quarter. One of the things I wanted to implement this quarter was more student choice in my class (click here to see my goals). I had developed a modified 20% plan as part of this idea, but also wanted to give students the choice to of projects. I did two classes with extreme student choice, and one class as a control group (I'll talk about them tomorrow).
This project was concentrating on value. There are so many ways to introduce value to your students and all are good choices. Here are a couple of choices that my 8th grade decided on...
Draw sections of a small object from several angles.
Creating a 3-D Object
Finish the picture.
Shadow and Me
What I loved about using student choice for this concept was that students were very interested in what they were drawing. Where there some kids who still didn't care? Yep, but these are the same students that wouldn't care if I gave them a project. I also saw some students (such as the still life above) create something that I would have never expected. I have had this kiddo for many years and his work blew me away.
This was a different kind of teaching... When teaching so many different projects, I found that I was overwhelmed with questions. Many of the students in my two experimental groups were very confused and many were not as successful as my past classes have been. For example, the hands above are good, but I was able to push 8th graders a lot farther in the past with this project (see past post).
I guess it comes down to process or product. If I am searching for a great product, I think bringing them through step by step works best. 8th graders still have so much that they don't know and they have one project to show me value. I can see self choice for value with high school because they would go over many of the skills for the first part of the year and the second, allow them to use the skills they learned. In 8th grade, we are teaching two drawing projects, then moving onto painting, sculpture, and jewelry in 9 weeks. I love that the process of student choice where student have to think, and research to be successful. Overall, good experiment!