Monday, May 5, 2014

Senior Project Day!

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!!!  My students were very excited for "Mexican Independence Day".  I hated to be the one to break it to them they'd have to keep waiting until September.  But we had a such a great day of learning.  They now know that Cinco de Mayo celebrates a victory of a battle at Puebla.  They know that the French returned to conquer Mexico and installed their own Emperor (Maximilian, one my favs), and that, though Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican celebration, it is really only celebrated in Puebla and the United States.  We discussed why this might be so, they had their own fantastic ideas!, and talked about how we can celebrate here in West Texas. Boom.  Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities.  Though we did not use a lot of Spanish today, the kids learned a lot and I am really excited to be a part of that!!

Tonight is also Senior Project Grading day.  At our school, it is a requirement for all senior class members to complete a senior project.  During the first semester, they choose a project and theme, and write a research paper of the topic they got approved.  Second semester the kids pick mentors in the community and create a project which is then judged by a panel of teachers, community members, and professionals.  It really is such a great opportunity for them to complete a major project like this and have a professional portfolio to prove it before they go off into the world!  Today is presentation day.  The kids come in and present their final product, their research, and what they've taken away from this whole thing to a group of teachers and community members. 

Some of the kids have done some REALLY impressive things!  One student learned to rock climb and set routes, one made an anti-bullying website (a good looking one too), we had someone learn falconry, one student composed an original score for a woodwind quintet.  The most impressive one I've gotten to see is a complete redesign of a room in a house.  The student chose interior design for her product and designed/created and entire room.  They did a wood paneled accent wall, reupholstered salvaged chairs, upcycled some things like pallets for furniture, and created something you'd see on HGTV!  I am really impressed at the lengths these kids go to for some of their projects. 

Anyone else have a program like this?  At my high school it was optional for everyone but required for GT.  This is the only school I've heard of that does an whole project as a requirement for all students.  We even have a class for them to take so they have time to work on it and someone to help guide them.  For or against a project like this? 

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