My students have been finished with their 20% Projects now for about two months and I've really had an opportunity to reflect about it. Click here for to access all of the 20% material I have so far.
Would I Do It Again?
Absolutely. It was an incredible experience for both me and my students. However, there are things I will change:
It gave my students a unique opportunity to learn 21st Century research, organization, writing, and thinking about a topic they were fully engaged in. We want our students to be autonomous learners who can think and do for themselves, right? How can we expect them to learn this when we give them specific reading assignments with specific writing prompts about topics that are not connected to them in any, possible way? My students were able to take a vested interest in their own learning and then step-back and really look at what they were doing with their 20% Project. I was able to use it to show them how to find answers to their own questions-my role changed from teacher to guide. They respected me for giving them this opportunity and I respected their ideas. Some students were able to connect with their families and/or heritage in ways they never had before through their projects. Others took the opportunity to learn about themselves both psychologically and mentally. It was an amazing semester with an amazing ending in which tears of joy and encouragement were shed throughout the classroom.