One of our big 4th grade projects was our MADE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE PROJECT. As part of this integrated project, each student created an Ignite presentation on a topic/cause they cared about.
I wrote a bit about this during the process but we wanted to capture the process and some samples as a reflective piece as teachers. I used Kevin Hodgson as a mentor for the Wikispaces we ended up with. I had learned so much from his Video Game Design site and I loved how he captured so much for us to see. Often, especially with new technologies, the learning that leads to the final product is often not easily visible. When I visited Kevin's site and learned all that went into the gaming unit he did with his 6th graders, the learning was so much easier to see.
Using his site as a type of mentor text, we worked to create a site that captured the 4th grade project. You can visit it here. It is not quite finished but close enough that I felt that it was worth sharing.
I think as teachers, the messages we are getting from the standardized testing environment seem very different from the messages we are getting from the 21st Century Learning things out there. But if we can capture all that we do and the way that it relates to standards, if we can make the learning of the process more visible for students, community and ourselves, I think we can teach well and students will learn what is needed, no matter what standards we are responsible for.
One of the important things I learned is that putting a wiki or site together after the project is over is nearly impossible. We were not able to collect and share all that we wanted to because we waited until the end to post and the task was overwhelming. I think it would be a far better idea to involve kids not only in the project but also in creating a space like this where they can capture their own learning. So much happened on a day to day basis, that it would be smarter next time, to post daily or every few days and then reorganize as needed. This site is not exactly as we imagined but it is our first attempt at capturing some of the learning that led up to a final project. For us, this is a site for us to reflect on the process and to revisit when we plan for future learning.
It is my hope that Kevin Hodgson started something--gave us, as teachers a way to capture the learning that our students do in long-term projects. If we can all make it a point to share these projects--the learning rather than only the final products, we can help each other and ourselves to teach better. I know Kevin's gaming site helped me incredibly and I am hoping that sharing our Ignite project helps someone else.