Three Weeks After 20% Launch

Here we are. Three weeks after the launch. So far things are going really well. Students are totally engaged and excitedly planning their implementation plans for their projects. We have some great projects that are being worked on. A fair number of students are going to learn how to cook (they’re off to college next year and would like to eat something other than Top Ramen). Other ideas are:

  • Community Beach Clean-up Day
  • Learning how to play the piano, guitar, ukulele
  • Interviewing family members for a family history
  • Preparing to run a marathon
  • Candle making
  • T-shirt design
  • Creating a stock portfolio
  • Photography
  • Creating a rap album
  • Pay it Forward experiment
  • Inspiration Art Collage
  • Stop-Motion Movie/Clip
  • Examining how eye contact affects conversation
  • Documentaries on Wilderness Survival, Things to Do For Teens Around Orange County, Best Longboarding Sites in Orange County

Wow. It has been really interesting to watch the gears in their heads roll while watching them get really excited about fulfilling their own goals. At this point all but two or three have finalized their ideas and are working on an implementation plan (scheduling out their project over the semester). I’m trying my hardest to help those who still can’t think of a project. They’ll come around soon enough.

They are also getting ready for the Pitch Day. I’ve reserved our school’s MPR and will pull students out of classes for one morning so they can pitch their 20% Project idea to parents, teachers, and administrators. The pitch will be a poster session. They will have had five weeks to think about, plan, and begin implementing their projects before Pitch Day. I’ve just sent the Save the Dates out to parents. Official invitations will be sent this week.

There have been many points where I’ve redirected ideas, i.e. a “charity” golf tournament in which only family friends would be invited with a BBQ afterward. I asked the student what besides a trip to the golf course and COSTCO would be involved? Not much. Rethink.

There are also a lot of “How will this idea sustain you for four months?” This question will put the student back at the idea board to figure out how to expand the project or find a new one.

Many students have chosen to blog about their projects every week. This was not a requirement of mine but it is definitely a testament to how excited they are to share their new knowledge and accomplishments with others.

One thing that has been really helpful: another teacher employing the 20% Project to bounce ideas off. My sanity has really been secure because I can email or G+ Hangout Troy Cockrum about questions, issues, ideas. It is really nice to have a like-mind going through the process with me. Isn’t it funny how blog post ideas come from simple emails?

Stay tuned. I’ll post an update after the Pitch Day.