Sunday, May 20, 2012

Take a day off! 20% time

As I wrap up this year and begin to reflect on some of the things I've tried in my classroom.  My ultimate goal was to reach 100% of students scoring proficient on our common assessments.

I didn't reach my goal.  I was able to increase student performance to reach 84% however I still have work to do.

Throughout the year I was also able to utilize 20% time to increase student engagement.  I was motivated by Greg Miller to reflect on my students work on their 20% projects and share some of them.

I've been working on this concept all year thanks to the efforts of not only Dan Pink but also Josh Stumpenhorst.  Dan's book Drive gave me tremendous starting points when thinking about giving kids autonomy.

I started the year showing students his TED talk:

I followed up the TED talk with creating class rules.  Any time we got into a difficult situation in the class or with a group of students working on a project I always came back to this video:

My classroom had two rules:
1.  Accept any offer (for help, advice, constructive critisim, anything)
2.  Always make your partner look good.  (by partner I explained that could be me, your classmate, your parents, etc.)

This video and these rules were the backbone of our class.  Sure, every once and a while a group or individual was off-task, it was an easy conversation that they were not making me look good.  When they were behind on due dates, they were not making me look good, so when I adjusted their project, I encouraged them once again to accept any offer.

Student made some EPIC projects and below are some of my favorites.  I asked students to not only share their work but also explain why they chose to dive into that project.  It was very eye opening.

Below is the topic students chose, a link or picture of their project, and why they chose their project.   Here they are:

"6th Grade for Dummies"
Search 6th Grade for Dummies on Google and click the first link or click this link
I chose my project because I wanted to make it easier for 5th graders coming into 6th grade.  I have made a site that talks about all the key elements of 6th grade at our school.

"The Binder"
i chose this because i wanted to do something to do with a website and to also tell about our fair school, and henceforth, the binder was born.

GarageBand Tutorial
"I chose to make a website about GarageBand to teach people how to use the differing versions for iPad and Computer.  Some people don't know how to use it so I show them how."

Why the world won't end in 2012
I'm tired of everyone saying the world will end on December 21, 2012, so I proved it wrong with some facts and some of my opinions

Written in Red movie
(Have to ask the girls permission to post the video)
i chose this movie because I wanted to try and see what being a director was like. I thought it would be cool to find out what goes on behind the scenes of a movie by making one myself with my friends.
Hannah, Hanna, Bridget, and I chose this because we really wanted to "produce" our own movie. We had some awesome ideas for the movie. It took a lot of time but it was really cool!

Because I really like chess and I wanted other people to like chess too.

I choose this project because I love chess and I like it when other people start to play chess. This website can teach you a lot about chess

because i like hockey

(Student memorized and played a song on his piccolo, THIS WAS AMAZING!)
I am interested in music and pianos are heavy.  That's why played a nice march on the piccolo

Because my dad got the new iPad when it came out in March, and at the time he had the two so I decided to make a presentation on the differences and similarities between them.

I chose this project because I speed my free time playing basketball, but I didn't know how it started or who created it or practically anything about its history.


Because i wanted to get better @ drawing!! :)

I like to draw anything and everything

Just some things that can be led to because of bullying. Though It's not complete.

I hose this prodject because I love candy and I thought that it would be an intresting project to other people!

LOL CaTz Game

I liked lolcats over the summer and started creating a card game that was just right; not too hard or to easy. That was postponed due to school, but when Dr.Mcgee told us about 20%, i restarted the project and finished 2 decks and a playing mat, and i am working on decks ""ancient meowmix"" and ""popular pistachio"" and i will continue to work on them over the summer.

NOTE:  This product is Patent Pending thanks to amazing parents that see the excitement in students that love playing this game.  We are also hoping that a game company will take the idea and actually create the game.

Homemade LOL CaTz
I was thinking about Beckets project and i wanted to sort of do the same but not in card format.

Players on Steroids
I was curious about baseball players who took steroids and wondered who was caught and who was thought.

Duct Tape Flowers
I like making duct tape items so I decided to learn how to make duct tape flowers for my 20%, instead of purses or wallets

because I am interested in the baritone, I play it.

10000 Jakes
because I like typing my name and I was bored

Cat Video Game
i like video games.

Fish Game
This is a game created on the scratch software and I wanted to create it my self.

Best Baseball Moments
Because baseball is my favorite sport and I wanted to learn more about the greatest plays ever.

Because I play the trumpet and I like it.

Statutes at Night Book

I love to write so I made a story on a website from a previous story I had wrote.  I basically made a remix or new version of it.

Bar Mitzvah
Because my family is mostly Jewish, and I thought it would be interesting 2 make a collage for preparation for my Batmitzvah a year bfore my actual ceremony.


Motto of our class and of every project we had:

It's About Error Recovery 
Failure Avoidance.

I used the following scoring guide to assess and give feedback to students.