The two days before the launch was a little hectic. The team meet the Wednesday before the launch but the meeting was derailed by a discussion of a student. I had to opt to try and complete the planning via email. This is not the best way since one of the team members still struggle with using technology. The good news the person is really wanting to learn and get better. I made a mental note to make sure we have a formal business meeting for student issues and designated meetings for the project planning next year.
Via email we ironed out the small details of managing the project. In the middle of the night on Wednesday, April 23rd, I realized the best way to have the students work on the project is to not have normal classes during the last two periods of the day on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This will allow the students some time during the day to work but also an ability to keep working after school without breaking stride. Since there were 20 teams, there could also be five teams in each room. Everyone on the team agreed with the plan and we were ready to launch.
The launch on Friday, April 25th had very few bumps in the road. I filmed the launch so I will be able to edit and post it soon. Each teacher had a particular part to say and everyone had their script to follow (see the video at the end or PDF on the wiki). The majority of the students really were interested in the project and the flow of the presentation was flawless. The bumps included many of the students not trying a lot of the healthy foods, many of them still did not have a picture of what exactly they were to do in the project and some of the slacker students were still not interested in the project even though they complain about the cafeteria. In reflection, one of the team mates suggested we do a poll of the students interest before the next project.
Some of the main management problems that have occurred since the project is students complained about their teams. We had to emphasize they could not change teams but they could boot people off the team via the statements in their team contract. Many of the students still did not get that they had the opportunity to change the cafeteria. They also didn't understand what products we wanted. This opened us up to discovering we all did not have a proper perspective on each other's expectations. At our next team meeting, we discussed what each other was expecting the students to produce and decided to create a dummy example for the students to follow.
Many of the confusion started to clear once we got on the same page and created more expectations of what needs to be taught formally in our classrooms. I also realized before the launch that there needs to be a place for the students to get information and so I updated teamcproject.wikispaces.com to include a student info tab. Once we actually were clear on expectations, this site became a great resource for the students.
The greatest event occurred yesterday during the interview session with the cafeteria manager and the principal. The students truly started to see the realness of the project and to see what is possible in the school. As instructor's we became even better aid today to show how the students should not do certain things in their recommendations because it would not be approved by the principal. We also discovered how much power the student and their parent have on the food supplier for the school.
Upon reflection of our launch and the first week following the launch, I have discovered the following items will keep our project on the road to success:
- Each teacher needs to be informed of what will be taught in regard to the project for that week
- Have a PowerPoint slide every Tuesday and Thursday of the due dates to be displayed while students are working
- A harsher punishment for students who do not work in their teams. Currently, it is just receiving a zero
- Have each team explain back to the instructor what their goals are for that day so that we know they understand what they are doing