After a failed beginning as an Advisory project we have returned to the construction of a portable 9 hole mini-golf course. Sad to say the teacher (me) misjudged the students a few weeks ago by only giving them the concept of the project, a stack of supplies, equipment and a general assignment. I did not anticipate the inability of the students to visualize the mini-golf course while looking at a roll of carpet and some strips of particle board. Then to make matters worse, my instructions were too vague and I allowed the students too much independence.
We took about a two week break from the project. I had planned to stop using the assembly line concept and individualize the project, but after observing my students over the last two weeks I realized they performed well in organized, assembly line set ups. I have concluded that my earlier failure was that the assembly line set up was not tight enough (or, not structured enough). It did not have simple and specific directions. Adjustments have been made and the project was reintroduced.
Yesterday my normal class of 13 met in the hallway in front of the shop. We talked briefly about whatever they wanted to for a few minutes then I explained quickly what I had set up in the shop. I let them choose which job they wanted and then assigned a job to those who didn't want to do anything. You can watch the video below that shows a few minutes of yesterday's 25 minute Advisory class.
Today a couple of teachers were absent during Advisory, which meant that when I went out in the hall to meet my class I had an extra six students. I panicked (but, only on the inside where the students could not see). I now had a larger group to quickly sell the project too and find something for them to do. Fortunately my regular students returned to their assignments from the day before and I added another step in the assembly line. With the students gracious participation everyone engaged and we made more progress in our 25 minutes before we returned to regular classes.
Now with careful classroom management and the promise to play a few rounds of golf once the first 6 or 7 holes are done, I think we will be able to complete the portable mini-golf course in the next few weeks.
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