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Give the Chance

Change Package
Give the Chance

12th grade Design and Mixed Media at High Tech High Media Arts
By Dan Allen

In order to give equitable opportunity for students to complete longer format projects, I will co-create benchmarks and timelines by discussing the intricacies of the project with them and then ask what (time and materials) they feel that they will need to complete the project. With the hope that this will empower students with a fore- knowledge of teacher expectations and create “buy in” through honoring student voice. To support students with their Linocut Book projects, materials and instructions will be provided during “after school” hours.  I will create detailed instructions on my Digital Portfolio  about the methods needed to trace and transfer images for students book project. Materials and computers will be provided for students to use at home.

Impact on Teaching

This idea springs from a need to empower high school seniors by honoring their experience with project based work and realizing that their senior year comes with feelings of burnout (senioritis) and fears of real world change (college bound and non college bound alike). This comes directly from empathy interviews conducted with students regarding equitable group work. And close study of To Committee and Spectrum Voting teaching strategies.

Impact on Students

  1. Students, in the interest of moving on to other projects, have decided to complete the Linocut book project during non class hours; which will include office hours, lunch time, x block, and homework.
  2. More progress was made by the majority of students who took materials home.
  3. Some students realized that they could focus more intently outside of the classroom setting.
  4. Now I’m thinking that my open class time is maybe a bit of a distraction for some students and their concerns should inform my Class Norms in the future.
  5. I’m still left with the fear that most students will lose out on the proximity learning that occurs in the classroom setting.
  6. To date, very few students report feeling good about where their Linocut print projects are at presently.
  7. Since the majority of students have decided to work on their books at home, in class critique is almost impossible.

Begin with an outline of the project. Give examples, student and teacher models, then describe the process and learning goals in detail.

When all the students’ questions are answered and everyone has a good idea of the parameters and scope of the project, then use  a combination of strategies: To Committee and Spectrum Voting to determine due dates and benchmarks.

I’ve learned that students need structure to estimate benchmarks and deadlines effectively. I expected students to want to finish their projects as quickly as possible with benchmark supports along the way. What I found was that years of experiencing these types of check ins has made students wary of the process. By that I mean that they seem to feel that it is more in the interests of their teachers than it is to them.  But also, I’ve learned that motivation and “buy in” can be encouraged through giving students more agency in their projects. I still feel that these “proofs of learning” can be collectively negotiated between students and teachers, but first a dialogue must be had, in which the teacher explains the purpose of each benchmark and presents a real world goal for the completion on the project.

Empathy Interview

Before Co-created benchmarks  Storyboard

After Co-created benchmarks  Block Plan