SPBI: Week 2 (When the goin' gets tough)



8th grade students transitioned into the creation phase of their four “Big Picture” products including supply lists, peer critique, and discussion of presentation skills.


Ms. Osborn-Swift set the stage for the construction of the first two products using a PowerPoint to guide the discussion. Students were well prepared with organized folders, printed standards, and a clear plan of action.  Ms. Osborn-Swift supervised the products and encouraged respectful collaboration.


Mr. Welch and I facilitated a discussion about effective presentation skills. Students evaluated the body language and audience rapport of two different presentations from TED Talks online (Bill Gates: Mosquitos, malaria and education and Jamie Oliver: Teach every child about food).  This was a really great way for students to see habits in others so that they are aware of their personal tendencies. Most students have “finished” two products so far, so encouraging quality work became paramount. Mr. Welch mentioned letting students’ passion come through in the presentations, so this was a good reminder to increase depth of understanding instead of just going through a checklist of tasks.


After assessing student engagement level, I was able to modify the activity and boost morale with some “stretching” and clarification of goals. Students had the majority of the class period to create products, discuss concerns with me, and get on the “same page” with their partner. A few teams were still splitting the work and each doing two products until it was addressed that the products must be the result of a truly collaborative effort.


Students planning their projects


It’s peer review time! This is a great skill that students sometimes shy away from to prevent hurt feelings or just feel like they can submit any work on the first try.  Critiquing work and reevaluating progress shows flexibility. Mr. Welch used a PowerPoint to guide this lesson. Mr. Welch visited every team, eased some stressful questions, and started the peer review session with a clear form for students to complete.


 Ms. Osborn-Swift, Mr. Welch, and I  presented a cohesive list of goals with enthusiasm! Students have a much clearer picture of the end result. They were asked to work on the projects over the weekend, so they can finish strong and be ready to respectfully engage in a meaningful learning experience next week.