Hearing about other students’ project examples was helpful in several ways. Firs, they presented a good variety of projects, which allowed me to focus my own ideas. I could compare my own goals and topics and see how broad or narrow they are, what direction I am heading towards, and what I want my students to accomplish by the end of the unit. Erin Bush’s realization of student may not know how to read trials made me rethink, what is it that I will assume my students understand, but in reality, they do not have the practical knowledge. Also, it was iterated in nearly all project interviews how important it is for teachers to star with something they are interested in or know a lot about. It helps pass on the excitement and does communicate the importance of the project to students, which will hopefully transfer during the course. Nate Sleeter pointed out the importance of modeling the process of research and historical thinking, which in turn will result in students approaching their project as historians. I think that the greatest revelation for me came from Celeste and Jeri’s interview because they reminded me of writing. I am planning on combining AP English Language and Composition and AP US History objectives and what better way to do it then expecting students to write and think historically.
Finally, in one way or another all interviews emphasized what Maura Seale expressed “Making it cohesive and coherent and doable is the biggest challenge and the most important thing because if you try to be too broad you end up saying nothing of substance.” I need to narrow the focus of the historical questions I want students to be able to consider and the learning outcomes. Thus the questions I need to be able to answer are: What do I want students to read, view or listen to? How are they going to respond to them? What sort of writing will take place? What will be the final project they will accomplish?