Last week, I posted about the project I had created for the book If the World Were a Village by David J. Smith. I was finally able to start the project this week and it is going amazing!
Here are the things that are going well:
1. A shocking amount of students, I mean almost every single student, seems to understand exactly how organized I want this project to be. I have a packet of all of the pages for each student, all held together with a paper clip, that the kids get at the beginning of class and return at the end of class. It is fabulous
2. With a few select exceptions, every single student is working nearly every moment of class! They are engaged, they are working, they are asking questions! It is so different from the “do these 10 proportion problems” and then half the class stares at their paper, a quarter finds some way to avoid doing anything, then a quarter actually does the work.
3. It is worth saying again- they are asking questions! I am exhausted from running around all class, but the fact that they actually care about their work rather than spit something out on the paper and turn it in and forget about it.
4. They are appropriately shocked and awed by the data in the book that is supposed to shock and awe them. It was amazing to see their guesses on how many people in the world speak English. I got a lot of, “well they speak another language, too, but almost everyone speaks English, right?” And after solving the proportion and figuring out how many people in the world are undernourished, a student who said, “WAIT. This is real data? There are really that many people who are starving right now?” Yes. What can we do about that?
Some things that I need to change:
1. Depending on the data set that they chose, some students have an insanely easy project and some have much more difficult projects. For example, choosing the money section had students only graphing numbers that were multiples of 10. So the pie graph was super easy since I had divided the sections into 10’s. Others have many more crazy numbers and have to figure out a lot more for the pie graph. Same goes for the proportions.
2. Hmm…. feel like I thought of more things today, but can’t remember them at the moment. I guess there is only one for now!
One thing that has shocked me:
1. How? HOW? HOW? have some students never learned how to put a paperclip on a pile of papers? I mean upside down, sideways, I never ever thought this could be a problem. Middle schoolers, always keeping you on your toes 🙂
Here are some of the pictures of what we are doing: