This post is dedicated to taking a deeper look at Personal Projects. When I tell my friends about PCCS and what the current theme is, they always look amazed and excited about what we do at Prairie Creek. When I begin to describe 20 K/1 students doing a research project, with 20 different topics, well, they look at me in disbelief.
It can seem daunting at first as the class delves into this project. This year I tried a few different things at the beginning of the process to hopefully bring more clarity to the children, especially the K's. I had the first graders get with their cubby buddy to share everything in their own words of what they could remember about Personal Projects from last year. From there we gathered as a whole group to go through the steps and order of the process.
Collaboration is key in making the research portion manageable. The children went through their books and placed Post-Its on pages they thought would have information to answer their "Wonder" questions. To give our research a jump start, I invited a 4/5 math class down to help with reading and recording information for the Nuthatches. Although many of the books the children have are appropriate for the type of research they are trying to collect, the reading and writing can be very time consuming and difficult for some.
The 4/5s did very well helping the children. You can see in the pictures below how skilled these 4/5 are working with young children. This is not something that occurs without numerous opportunities to practice. The 4/5's have undergone countless opportunities during their time at PCCS being mentored by older students. Now it is their turn to be leaders through opportunities like Bird Buddies, Guided Recess those First 6 Weeks of School, and the meaningful discussions the 4/5 teachers have with their students about being positive role models. The collaboration with the 4/5 students accomplished what would take me weeks to do one-on-one! I am so appreciative to have the opportunities to collaborate and work with other students in the school.
Last week the children were also invited to see a few 4th grade presentations as well as the 5th grade Honor Projects. The children were very engaged traveling to the different projects and seeing their work. The 4/5 projects that were seen follow the same process your young Nuthatches are undergoing in their projects. It is the work the children do during Personal Projects in Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade that prepares them for the impressive work we saw last week.
After attending the presentations, we gathered again to check-in on our place in the process and make comparisons. We discussed how we want to share our knowledge and the making piece of our project. The students have all told me how they will present their project. These next two weeks will be very productive. If you were to step in during a work session you would be bound to see the following:
-writer's working on facts
-children making decisions where to place their facts and illustrations on their project
-sharing facts with one another
-encouragement and kind compliments being given
We (the K/1 teachers) hope you will be able to attend the K/1 Personal Project Fair on April 29th to see all of the hard work the children have done.