On May 3rd, 10th grade students presented their Personal Projects to an audience of 7th, 8th and 9th graders. The Personal Project was a yearlong assignment that revolved around topics that interested the students and that they chose themselves. Using information they gathered, they were to create a final project that demonstrated their knowledge of their topic. Students were expected to follow a process that included a presentation at the close of the project. Presentations lasted 10-15 minutes and varied greatly depending on the topic. Students in the audience were given packets to complete based on the presentations to help them learn about the experience.
The 10th graders were assigned to develop a presentation since the start of the school year. They focused on a variety of Area of Interactions to guide them throughout the project process, as well as Guiding Questions (GQ). 10th graders began brainstorming ideas/topics for their projects as early as the summer of their ninth grade year. After formulating their topics, students were to identify two Area of Interaction concepts for their work. The whole process was broken down into 4 distinct stages: the planning phase, the research phase, the creation phase and finally, the reflection phase. The tenth graders worked on the project primarily at home, but were given some time in school to complete the project – during their respective advisory classes. Additionally students were required to log their progress using a project journal. Presentations consisted of a demonstration of the final project.
When asked upon how the projects progressed, Ms. Matani, a tenth grade advisor, commented: “On some days it was very rewarding, especially when working with students who were engaged in the project and were coming to some realizations about themselves. Other days, it was overwhelming because there were so many different Guiding Questions – each student had a unique GQ. It was difficult to keep track of all the struggles and accomplishments.”
The Personal Project is a mandatory assignment for all tenth graders. The annual presentations allow students to start thinking about upcoming topics they wish to research, as well as to provide inspiration for future tenth graders.