Sep 3, 2013

Right Shift Learning in the Project Based History Classroom... An Introduction


I've been using iterations of Scrum, Agile and am now honing in on Right Shift Learning since the 2011-2012 school year. I love what iterations offer, the opportunity for me to fess up to how poorly I utilized theses processes early on, and continue to learn how to be better. I get to say that was an earlier iteration.

I started a project with my students today with the broad goal:
Teach others a fun way to remember how to cite sources.
Be sure to include: Plaigarism, Quotes, Others ideas, Works Cited.

Here's the time breakdown:
Day 1: 20 minutes to discuss project idea (lots of students are going to make videos) and create tasks see the picture below for the work completed after day 1.

Day 2 & 3 I hawk over the Project Canvas. I'll read the tasks over and check with each group on their progress. The key is that I haven't told them what they have to make and have helped them develop their own ideas into projects that meet my needs as educator.

Day 2: 70 minutes to work on project. I'll have a stand-up meeting with each group and ask: "What have you done? What are you going to get done today? What's in your way?" With the extra time I join each group and get involved in each project. Sometimes I hold the camera, provide advice on filming techniques, help color projects, scrounge materials or anything else that seems helpful to each group. To wrap up the day I'll ask the students to plan what they are going to do before the next and final class.

Day 3: 45 minutes. I will probably have a stand-up meeting with groups that need it, otherwise I will just continue working with each group. Today is their last class day.

I wanted to jot down the process, I used today, for implementing the Project Canvas piece of Right Shift Learning.
Over the past few classes I introduced the Project Canvas and the work of creating tasks. I encourage the students to break down the work they need to do for a project into bite size tasks. They write the tasks on stickey notes and place them in the appropriate column on the Project Canvas.
Project Canvas
Since the students have a working understanding of tasks, we started a project. I purposefully don't over-scaffold the projects for the students, I believe the students need autonomy to encourage self-directed learning. Truth be told, I probably offer more autonomy than most teachers are comfortable with. Student autonomy in my class works because I am a part of each group, in some small way I'm involved in each project. To read the brief description I offered my students you can go to my student blog here:
The students know the drill. I introduce a topic, usually show a quick video, talk about project expectations, then get out of their way. This frees me to join each group to learn of their progress and their plans. I'll ask questions and provide ideas if they seem stuck. I guide each group as they discover the information and organize it to share with others.

I'll share more on how the project is going and my reflections in the next couple days.

-Chris Scott