Can I build community, and set a foundation for an interdisciplinary, reflective classroom using a large scale September project?
- How can I build community in my classroom in September and maintain it over the year?
- How can I use project based learning to influence community in my classroom?
We started Caine’s Arcade. I always start it the same way by showing the youTube videos. Students are excited and can not wait to get started. We have been bringing in boxes and trying to figure out what they want to build. The key here for me is how are they going to decide on the groups. who is going to work with who? I Think I will let them decide who they want to work with. I am not sure if this will work or if they will work with who they always work with. We will See what happens tomorrow.
Well I let them decide on the groups and most chose well but some did not. Some I will see how they work together and then change them if it is not working. Students are planning their games and drawing them out. I need to approve the game before they can move on. I am not sure how this will help them become independent, but it will keep them in check and slow them down a bit.
Students are very excited to get started. They have been bringing in boxes every morning and other people at the school have stared to bring in cardboard also.
Wow some students started to build today. It is nice outside so we have taken over the basketball courts outside. It seems a bit like chaos, but the students are very engaged. I did have an issue with a couple of students that with all this freedom they need some help with how to stay focused. I have asked them if they are in the best learning group they could be in. They decided to change groups.
Students Are continuing to build. I am helping students with their projects and assisting them with problems that are coming up. I would like to get to the point next week where students are coming to me for help rather than me coming around and offering to help. I had to remove a student from a group today as he could not work where he was. I worked with him one on one for awhile and he was very focused. I was impressed with how he responded to the help. I am modeling how he need to work independently as well as how he should work in a group. I will try this with some other students the next time we do Caine’s Arcade.
Most students are working hard at their arcade games. However I am still having some difficulty with a few to stay focused. A group dissolved to day they were just not working together. I guided one student to work on his own, and worked with him one on one to get caught up. Wow he was focused and had lots of ideas. I asked him why he thought the group he was in did not work. and he said it was because not everyone listened to all of the ideas that everyone had. I will ask this same question tomorrow of the other 3 members of the original group.
I noticed students were more focused today, and were able to work independently. I went to another member of the original group that I had dissolved and asked him why he left the group. He said that he was bored and the group he joined had a better game. I asked why he thought it was better? He replied that they game was more challenging then the game he was working on with his group. The student seemed to be working well with the group for now so I will leave him there. Students overall have been excited to work on their games. Only a few are having difficulty, but I think it is because they have never been allowed to and everything has been very structured up to this point in their school life. I will try to see if they can self regulate more next week, and if they need some time to regroup i hope they will remember to ask.
It was raining outside today so I cancelled the activity. Students were disappointed, but I could sense some were happy to have a break. They have been working hard andreally thinking about their games.
Monday 10/03/2016 – Thursday 10/07/2016
I have decided that trying to blog everyday is too much I think I will just write a reflection for the week.
This week was a bit scattered. I was able to keep most of my students that are having trouble staying focused on track with only a few incidents. The two that stood out this week were on where I had two students off track and playing with supplies (balloons). I caught them and had them com inside and tell me what they were doing. I was not getting a satisfactory answer, so I asked them to put it into writing about a page and when they were done that they needed to come and talk to me again. I received the writing in about 15 min. and it was very heart felt and they did apologize. I retold them if they are having difficulty focusing come and tell me something they would do to take a break so they can refocus. At the end of the day we debriefed about what happened and what was the expectation. This worked because the next day I had students coming up to me to ask to go for a run around the school and they went back to work. I am excited that the students are getting the idea of self regulating.
I also went around to some of the student games that the groups thought they were finishing and made some suggestions. Most students that I did this to made some changes and did even more of there own additions to the games. Next week I will make a few more suggestions and help a couple of students with their projects.
Monday 10/11/2016 – Thursday 10/14/2016
I started this week checking in with students to go over their arcade games. Most students were on task and could tell me what they are doing and why. I started to ask them if there was any part of their game they could change to make it better. Some students needed more help fixing or getting their ideas better thought out and a way to get it made. For example Student “a” built a pinball machine and was having trouble with the paddle part, and we worked on it together. I think I will try and get more info from the students. I would like to have students sign up for one on one time with me.
Monday 10/17/2016 – Thursday 10/21/2016
I tried something different with Caine’s arcade this week I had groups get up and students and myself asked them questions about their game. This worked really well they helped each other and answered some really tough thoughtful questions. We also started to make posters. This was interesting because yet again students had to think about their game and how could they make it interesting enough and exciting for other students to want to play their games. The groups worked together to come up with ideas. I did meet with some student groups to get them more focused. Some students I think are ready to move on.
Monday 10/24/2016 – Thursday 10/28/2016
We had our beta day we split the groups up into “A’s” and “B’s” “A’s” stayed at the games and “B’s” moved around and played the game until recess. then we switched. This worked well except for the students that had a group of 1 then they got to choose. I gave students post it notes to give feed back to the builders of the game. After they go all their feedback they had to choose one to implement into there game. They will have time next week to add these to their games in time for the little buddy class to play the new and improved games.
Monday 10/31/2016 – Thursday 11/04/2016
The feedback worked really well and the groups are all working well together. I am worried that something will go wrong as it is working very well. The students were getting a bit tired of this project, but over all it was working to answer my question. We had the final test this week and students did great with their little buddies. some younger students had trouble at first trying to teach the kindergartners how to play their games as they had made the games for older students, so this posed a problem at first. I went around and explained to my students they may need to adapt their games to work with these students, and they game up with great ways that were challenging for the kindders. I was impressed how patient my class was and and how excited they were to have other students play their games.
After the games we finished and the games were either destroyed or taken home we as a class reflected back over the weeks we built and played. Students were very insightful and had great suggestions on how I could improve this next year if I do it with another class. Overall it was a successful project. I would like to change a few things, like for example have the deadlines set when we start and have a few key milestones that students know about before. I liked how fluid it was but I think that was hard for some students to stay focused.