Our project is officially done. 8 core teachers plus all of our support teachers (ELD, Special Ed and electives), finished student presentations and are mid-grading right now. Grades for 8th graders are due tomorrow. Joy.
This project was incredibly difficult to pull off. The hours of planning, the setup of the project, and the check-ins throughout were time-consuming and there exist questions of whether or not we gave them too much time, not enough time, examples, too many examples, etc.
Grading was difficult to figure out as well. Our two main options were: 1. We grade each role, and each person in the group gets that role's grade for their related class (so if the political consultant gets a C, everyone else gets a C grade for the project in history). 2. (the option we chose) We grade each role, then average the scores together and that is the grade they receive for the project in every class. The latter seemed more fair, as it reduces the effects of a low performer in a group (everyone doesn't receive a C, D or F based on one person), while still holding the group accountable for everyone's work.
One of our major reflections was that we should have increased the amount of scaffolding for students. Our kids this year were the last year of students who exclusively were taught under the old standards. The old standards didn't emphasize multiple approaches or open projects, and so there was a large question of what to do and how to do it (despite us giving them some supports). We had quite a few English learners and resource students unable to fully participate and so in the future, this is an area we will be focusing upon. Our big emphasis will be backwards design.