I went home disappointed with myself because one challenge for me as a teacher is overreaching--expecting students to be able to take in and do much more than is typically expected. Yet, I know from past projects, that when I reach high, students more often than not meet the reach in time and that the first days of the reach are often uncomfortable as students settle into the project parameters. In a sense, I'm stretching their brains with the BIG introduction, then moving back later into more explicit instruction and detailed approaches.
So after trying the introduction in three different ways to three different classes in hopes of improving it each time, I went home and scaffolded the introduction even more by providing the students with a template to follow. I'll quickly introduce the template to students, tell them to rely on the samples in the first packet, and then let them loose to create on their own and together. Teachers will be helping along the way. I also extended the time for this project adding a few extra days. Further, I'll set up a project table with colored paper and some other supplies that they may use to complete the project.
If we don't risk and try new learning, learning that's been proven to be effective by timely cognitive research, we won't grow as educators and our students won't grow either. Our students take numerous assessments, and so far those assessments overall demonstrate good growth--now it's time to coach the students forward with this exploration, observing and bettering all the time. Let's see what happens.