Try Something New

Since Fall VirtCon, some of you have been asking for more details about the Something New Project I used with my students this year. I wanted to take a few minutes to share some of the specifics of the project.

This was a take home project. The only class time I spent was introducing it on the first day, having them lock down their ideas and create action plans on day four or five, and then letting them present their projects as they completed them or were ready. They were given about one month to bring in evidence of what they learned or progress they were making toward a goal. When they presented, students could choose how to share, but they had to discuss the math, literacy, and problem solving skills they used while learning. They also talked about their next steps. Students chose everything from baking (we ate lots of yummy snacks that month) to counting in a foreign language to a new song on the guitar to how to kick a football off of a tee. We had presentations that ranged from sweets to eat to performances on the music teacher’s piano to a talk about what it was like to prepare dinner for his whole family.

Here are the directions I posted on our class blog and sent home for parents. Please feel free to use and adapt for your own needs. I hope you will share what you are learning and doing with your classes. Go make something!

Each student has selected “Something New” that they want to learn how to do. These things range from playing a song on the guitar to learning how to count in a different language to how to bake cookies from scratch.
Students have until ___ to bring in evidence of their learning and strategies for success. Their evidence will depend on their project. They can perform for the class. They can bring us cookies. They can bring in a video of them doing something at home. Students do not have to master the project. Instead, it is truly about making progress toward a goal.
How is this “homework?” This particular assignment works on the following skills…
Goal setting: pacing, choosing appropriate goals, coming up with a strategy for learning, perseverance, understanding that learning is a life-long skill
Real world math: most things we do in real life require a skill set of math, including facts, measurement, and problem solving skills
Real world literacy: research for how to do things, exposure to books/internet/interviews, deciding on credible sources, speaking and listening to the class about what is learned
Please help your child come up with an “Action Plan” for learning and sharing. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.