Title : The GATE Program at Napa Street Elementary
This document was well received by the fourth and fifth grade GATE students. They enjoyed exploring the resources attached to each section and had difficulty deciding which project to select. Students were not exposed previously to project-based learning and they had difficulty with the format and the scope of this project. Documents, such as The Planning and Design Procedure document (included in this artifact), provided necessary scaffolding for defining the goals, identifying the resources and dividing the work among team members. My plan was to let them perform their investigations and introduce production tools later. Not familiar with the tools, students could not channel their research to an expected outcome. It forced me to stop the ongoing project, offer a few “benchmark lessons” and let them tinker with the tools. This diversion helped them focus better on their project and for the first time visualize the outcome. The project turned out to be interesting, well done and the students were well prepared to support it.
I think that my document was successful in initiating and managing the investigation part of the project. I learned the importance of using tools that students know and can use. Helping students to Focus their attention towards the goal is as important as applying the right steps towards accomplishing it. In its nature, project-based production generates an atmosphere of “work chaos” that could improve by providing students with a Production and Evaluation Guideline to help them perform better on the last and most crucial part of the project. This type of document is challenging and hard to design because it requires anticipating the possible pitfalls that students might find themselves falling into. I intend to include such a document for next year’s program.