Our last unit of the year with the new curriculum is about data – collecting, visualizing, and analyzing. We were caught a little off guard by all the testing days and different things taking out class time, so by the time we got to this last unit we had 12 days to cover what was supposed to take 23. In discussions with one of my colleagues, we realized we could not spend days on quizzes and unit tests (are those really going to help them this late in the year anyway???) and we remembered loving the project that goes with this unit. Kids had to find five characteristics of the “typical” sixth grader at our school. So, we planned an independent study unit based on this project.

We made 20 worksheets and a checklist for every student. They had to get 18 out of 20 done to get an A on their project. Answer keys are in there so they check their own work or have a friend check. As the teacher, I am just walking around the room monitoring. They keep all of their work in a folder that I keep in class – so no homework and the folder never leaves the room, so *hopefully* no lost papers either.

The first day, we went through what makes a good question and the types of data we could get. The second day, we were typing questions into a survey format so that the next day the teachers could print out 50 surveys for each kid (sorry trees but we couldn’t figure out how Google Forms would work with making sure 50 people took your survey). On that third day, all the sixth graders who were in that period of math gathered outside and had to take and collect surveys. Day four is coming up and this is where it gets real – kids will need to collect data and learn about how to visualize and analyze it so that they could present at the end what the “typical” sixth grader would say to their questions. We’re not sure they are going to get every worksheet done. They might not learn every single goal that CMP wanted them to learn, but we also know that they get pretty much a repeat of this in 7th grade so we’re not all that worried about it.

We’ll see if things go how we planned. The kids are seeming to really enjoy the format. So far only one student is really behind because she could not work productively during class. I expected way more to have a hard time with this format. I think the fact that they are really the owners of all of their work is helping them so far.

Quand on possède son travail, on aime son travail.