|Novices CAN make a change. [Image]|
That's why, as the King of Pop said, I'm starting with me.
The point of Project-Based Learning is learning, yes. But more than that, it's about doing. I outlined a few different possible novice-based units last year in an attempt to meld novice-appropriate skills with action. Because my sophomores were going to be working with Keep Gastonia Beautiful through Public Speaking that semester, I decided to go with Plan Verde.
|I know my lessons won't always work,|
but it still hurts! [Image]
I confess the commitment to the international school supply drive was not exactly life-changing for most students either. Maybe it's because brain chemistry makes teenagers inherently self-centered. Maybe it's because the effects of such projects are too removed from them and their lives to trigger motivation. Shoot, maybe I just didn't set it up right.
Whatever the reason for past inadequacies, it's my job to remove barriers to engagement and success.
So now students can choose whether they want to improve: their health or their organization. If they want to focus on their health, they can choose from three types of habits:
- space (room, locker, etc)
Based on the problem area they choose, they'll split up into groups--support groups, if you will. They'll analyze their habits, choose one thing to change each week, talk about their plans and results, and keep a record of their process.
I hope also to involve the community, perhaps enlisting a Spanish-speaking expert for each of the groups (like my amiga who's way into couponing for money) or maybe making some connections while I'm in Peru in a week to set up international buddy groups.
Here's how I envision the process:
- Diagnose the problem - Break out the dictionaries (or doodles) and list their habits--good and bad--in the designated area and then put a number on what is wrong--and right--with their habits. We'll get a little number practice as well as a little personally applicable vocabulary.
- Research recommendations - This is where starting with Genius Hour will come in handy. Each kiddo finds at least one infograph to express where they should be and/or what they should do. Of course they'll interpret it, maybe webmap some vocab and/or pertinent tips and info.
- Powwow - Use that newly harvested vocabulary (and essential verbs) to discuss what they do, what they need to do, and what they can do first. Since the groups are interest-based, they should have plenty of vocabulary in common, and plenty to talk about! They can also begin to outline potential plans of action together.
- Acquire target #1 - The focus is going to be first on short-term attainable goals: what can I do this week? when can I do it? where can I do it?
- Write it down - Like the previous healthy habits unit, I'll have students keep a log each day of whatever they are currently doing to further their progress and what they are going to do next.
- Reflect together - Then at the end of the week, they'll sit down with their amigos again, talk about what they are doing, what need to do (why they aren't doing it), how that is going for them, and what they are going to do now.
- Lather, rinse, repeat
Even if I can't secure community amigos, though, students will definitely be reading about a problem that personally affects them, writing about their habits, and talking about their goals and accomplishments with each other. I'm sure I could work in some listening with some sort of advice video for each group too--to say nothing of the TPRS story I have brewing at the back of my mind (Think: a girl who's got it all together--except all she eats is ice cream)!
So my novices will be communicating in a way that is appropriate for novices AND making a change that is appropriate for "wise fools."
What other changes can novices make and communicate in the target language about?