The Illinois Project

Today we launch our Chicago Project. This is a project that differentiates wonderfully in two ways:

  1. Students select their research topic.
  2. Students select their product.

The main requirements of this project are to:

  1. Meet the expectations detailed on the handout.
  2. Answer one of the “Essential Questions.”
  3. Follow the 3 tenets outlined on my handout.

I’m not giving out any handouts. I just want to see students work, and learn. We’ve done such a great amount of time researching and building to this point; it should be automatic for student to complete one of these projects more independently.

Please observe the due dates this project does have, too.


Chicago & Illinois Unit Plan

One of the perks of having Mr. K teach all 6 classes in April was implementing a great deal of the research I’ve done in the last year of Grad School, as well as other Professional Development I’ve done. It’s nice to have a late-year surge of energy with something new, this one being our unit plan format I’ll debut with this unit.

This unit plan is derived from a model of learning that Doug Buehl wrote about in his book “Classroom Strategies for Interactive Learning.”

The basis of this new unit plan is clarity. From the first day of study, I’d like students to know precisely what the objectives of the unit are. These are referred to as the “Essential Questions.” Supporting these essential questions are the Short Term Info. This info will likely not be mastered by most students, nor remembered in a year, but supports the Essential Learning and is considered very important to our unit of study. The “Background Details” are just that – background. They are the glue that binds all the essential learning and short term info together. I wouldn’t expect everyone to know these all, but they’re helpful to familiarize ourselves with during the unit, as they draw in the background knowledge of students and interesting points of study.

These unit plans will essentially replace study guides. All end-of-unit assessment will consist of answering the Essential Questions, and recalling, analyzing, and describing the short term info, with some of the background detail. For more info on my plan, you can read this: