Friday, February 27, 2015

Projects with Rigor

DQ: Where might Little Free Libraries do the most good in our community?

I was asked the other day how to evaluate the quality of projects. There are so many things to consider!
I've seen too-long projects that result in learning that could have been achieved in a day through direct teaching. I've seen projects that flop because objectives weren't clear and kids investigations were stabs in the dark. Maybe the biggest problem I've seen is the 'read and report' style of project, where kids study a state, or produce one biography, and so on.
Projects that pass my sniff test draw on critical thinking. Any project can be made better if some of these aspects of critical thinking are involved:
  • Compare and contrast
  • Predict
  • Make a well-founded judgment, informed decision
  • Understand causal relationships (cause and effect)
  • Determine how parts relate to the whole (systems)
  • Identify patterns or trends
  • Examine perspectives, alternate points of view
  • Extrapolate to create something new
I was in India a while ago and shared this list with a school staff. The headmaster came over later, very excited, and said, "We can use this list to design or remodel projects so they have rigor! That's the best thing that's come out of this day!"

I love remodeling projects. If you have any you'd like help with any, let me know.