Monday, February 20, 2012

Mission Impossible

I'm currently in the middle of a project with my 8th graders called "Mission Impossible."  It feels like mission impossible and it also feels like a bit of a failure, but really, that's because I have five 8th graders (one group of three and one set of partners) that absolutely WILL NOT do the work.  I know when I'm thinking logically that this is only a few of my kids and the rest of them are really enjoying the project and are pushing their limits and doing some phenomenal learning and working.  Unfortunately, I'm not very good at remembering one of my co-workers' mottos: Q-TIP!  This stands for quit taking it personally.  It's a great motto, but I take it personally.  I always have, and I probably always will.

To introduce our Mission Impossible project, I had told the kids in advance that we were going to be doing a big astronomy project, but hadn't really given them much more than that.  We had made pull-out file folders ( I color coded and wrote each kid's name on the front) and the kids were allowed to write "Astronomy" and decorate in any space-related way they felt appropriate.  Now, this isn't rocket science astronomy, just a bit of the study of outer space.  Everything that we've done for this unit is put into this folder and they're supposed to have a table of contents for it.  As in, I modeled one and we drafted them together in class.  Whether they kept up with it or not is their responsibility. 

As they came in the day that I was introducing the project, I had the mission impossible theme song playing.  Note-- the majority of my kids had absolutely no idea what this was/ had never seen the movie, etc.  Once it was explained, though, they seemed to get it and appreciate the connection.  They liked the idea of achieving the "impossible."  I reminded them that I really DO want them to do well in my class, but that they have to help me out-- they can't learn if they aren't willing to try.  So, I gave them "mission impossible" with all the tools and resources they needed to get an A.  I modeled, gave them a detailed instruction sheet, and a rubric.  They had three project choice options, each with a separate requirements list and separate rubric.  In the end, all the students but one chose to do a visual presentation with poster, but at least they had the option to choose to cater to their learning/ personality styles.  We've been working on this project on and off for about three weeks (I don't want to do it constantly, and it's easier for them as we progress through the unit).  I hope the end results are good.  So far, I've been pleased with them.  And, one of the groups that isn't willing to do much work labeled the planet Uranus and was clever enough to draw two smiley faces underneath the label.  They look something like this    : )( :  Inappropriate, but also pretty clever, since I can't "prove" it's a rear end.

No comments:

Post a Comment