Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Counting Down

We are meeting twice this week to work out any small details to the project. Everyone is getting excited about the project. Today's meeting was focused on the food, lesson plan for Friday's launch and any last minute preparation items.

The first item on the agenda was discussing test questions. This is a new aspect to the project brought about by me. Many of our students are not performing at grade level. Even with different types of instruction (cooperative learning, lecture, hands-on activities) the students still do not retain knowledge. I think project-based learning may be the solution for these type of students. To prove my belief, I decided to make this a small research project. We will have the students complete a pre-test with two to three questions from each subject area. Some of the questions may be something they are familiar with and others may be something they will discover through the project based upon the standards we want them to learn. The students will also complete a post-test and a survey upon completion of the project. Small interviews will be conducted targeting specifically 10 of the lowest performing students and 10 of the highest throughout the project. All of this will help aid if project-based learning is the best strategy for lowest performing students.

Explaining my purpose in an email, the teachers were to email or hand me their questions. At the meeting, DeAnn (science) was the only one who had completed the questions. I was still debating on two questions. Everyone has to submit them by tomorrow's meeting. DeAnn always gets things done early and we love her for that quality. She inspired me to get my grades posted five days in advance.

The next item on the agenda was final details to the launch on Friday. The first detail was food to be served. Although, I thought the options was going to be one per culture, the conversation really took off. The aim of the tasting is for the food to be healthy items but relevant to the culture of the student population. By the end of the discussion, the list included fried tofu, edemme, guacamole with chips, brown rice, baby carrots and celery, bread and tabule. There might also be some crackers thrown in there thanks to Mary's purchase over the weekend. All of us are going to chip in on the purchase of items and preparation before the event.

Other last minute details for the launch included not having paper on the tables to conserve paper. I will be making the signs and strips letting each student know what team they are on. I will also get the projector and laptop from the instructional facilitators that morning and place in the library so that it can be easily accessed that afternoon. Permission had been granted for the use of the cafeteria for the entire timeblock by the principal. I am going to check to see if Ben can go down to the cafeteria after timeblock 3 on Thursday and make sure the doors will be open and the first few tables will be available.

The last part of the meeting was the review of the outline of the lesson plan. Only DeAnn got a chance to review it early. She didn't see any changes that needed to be made. During the meeting, everyone had a chance to view and everyone thought it was a great format. We confirmed that all of the rubrics will be given at the launch but only one per team. We agreed that contract among students will be started at the launch but completed the following week. Students will end the project by submitting their questions for the interview with the principal and cafeteria manager.

Tomorrow's meeting will focus on the details of combining classes and final formation of a time line. This project is getting more and more exciting by the minute!

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