My Year 7 class has just finished one of their projects. It’s semi project based learning. I usually do a quasi PBL at the start of the year to assess my students’ existing abilities to work independently and collaboratively on projects. Here’s an outline of the project.
Now that this project has finished. I’d like to reflect on what worked and what can be changed next time.
What worked and should be done again
- The theme and content of water ties Geography and Science together very well. For this project we focused on the water cycle (for both Science and Geography), the social impacts of water (Geography) and separation techniques to obtain clean water (Science).
- Using Science and Geography as the content for English. The end project of the speech is originally an English assessment for Year 7s (whether they did PBL or not). Using the water concepts from Science and Geography as the content for the speech was a very efficient way of using time.
- Using Google Docs as cycles of feedback. The students used Google Docs for the different formative assessment components. Using the Editing mode and Comments in Google Docs enabled an efficient way for feedback to be provided and acted on.
- Using Google Forms for students to give feedback on each others’ final speeches.
What needs to be changed next time
- The Driving Question. I was not a huge fan of this Driving Question. Next time I will have students create a persuasive product that convinced young people to donate to a charity that addressed water issues. I don’t know what the driving question will be for that but I think the end product is more meaningful that the current speech to their peers.
- Sharing the end product to a wider audience. For this project this time around, we didn’t upload the videos of the students’ speeches online as many of the students did not feel confident enough to so. I originally had the idea of TED talk style speeches given by students. However, their speeches given in front of the class was still top quality. Just because it isn’t on YouTube, it doesn’t mean the end product isn’t worthy.
- Feedback on giving speeches. For this project, we spent a lot of time on the language of persuasiveness. The speeches went through 3 cycles of feedback for each student. While we did look at some speech samples, we didn’t go through nearly enough feedback cycles for the actual act of speech giving. This is what I have to work on next time. I’m thinking of using a video annotation tool for students to annotate evidence of effective speech presentation for next time.