The first unit of the year was based on high school physics website of building a bridge out of toothpicks.  Kids felt skeptical about the stablility of any bridge especially if you are planning to place a 5 lbs. brick on top of it.  Before all of this took place, the kids needed to do a little research of what makes a bridge strong and stable.  A variety of videos and trial were used.  There were a lot of frustrations because toothpicks were being taken from students cubbies.  At this point, you may have known that our room was renovated.  Even though the cubbies were roomy they were exposed and open to the public which made my reflect on what is going to keep my student’s project supplies safe.  For the next project, I brought shoes boxes and they worked really well.

Working in teams is a struggle for many of my student because you have some students who don’t want to work, you have some students who get frustrated and eventually disengaged because others don’t want to work,  and you have students who will do the projects themselves and not involved others.  It’s a struggle to model what effective teamwork looks like and it made me reflect on how do I scaffold effect teamwork for the next project.   At the end of the day, I had to postpone the deadline of the project because of stolen items but even with that there were some groups who finished their bridges on time, some group own tested their bridges out late, and some groups who never finished their bridges.

I feel that projects and authentic work are high stakes than worksheet in a traditional classroom and for those students who “failed” to complete the project took a lesson away even though thru this process, I’ve supported the student through the following:

  • Modeling what a stable bridge looks like.
  • Modeling how to work in teams.
  • Modeling planning.
  • Setting manageable deadlines.
  • Supporting struggling groups and students who are struggling to get back on task.

Supporting struggling students is tiring when they don’t want to grab on to the support.  At the end of the day or the unit,  there needs to be more work on some on the habits of minds that students need more practice on.

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