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.