Lots of creativity. Lots of energy. Lots of fast moving, free flowing learning. It's been a fantastically positive experience for all of us, most of the time. It's loud but if you were there, you see that they pretty much all talking about their projects and the things they're building.
A few tears along the way. Groups couldn't come to an agreement and harsh things were said to each other. No one would compromise, so I had to broker a treaty. Honestly one group had a couple fo members that wouldn't budge...both parties felt like their position was the "right" one. It was a different kind of teaching victory...because I didn't let them go on until it was resolved. The next day people had better attitudes...still not happy and certainly not forgotten.
They're learning to listening to each other...trying to listen more than they talk. It's hard. Boy I can understand that.
I think this will be a journey not only for students but for me. I need to continue to grow in my ability to lead students thru this kind of conflict resolution. Asking those questions and being quiet enough...not rushing in to be Bob the Builder/Fixer.....because they won't learn if I do it for them. Yet I have to make sure that everyone feels like I'm not watching the fireworks take place....it's my presence and proximity that has to lend the mantle of civility on the words and actions that they deploy in trying to solve their problems.
Some students really haven't had to learn to compromise and find that third solution out there...adults have solved it for them or they've been allowed to work by themselves. I'm not saying that neither of those solutions are possibilities at other times, but this was a group project and that means learning different social skills than you will in other situations.
Other students have had to learn about craftsmanship. Pride in product. Doing the best on your project because it's yours.
Did I forget to mention this....this is an un-graded project!!!! No grades. It's all about the learning. I tried to free myself and them. That hasn't gone well either. Parents have emailed to say that their student has worked so hard and isn't getting any credit. "Well no", I say but " they've learned a lot. They knew going into it they weren't getting a grade so this isn't a surprise." That doesn't sit too well with some parents. Other parents couldn't be happier. I just have to keep on moving forward believing what I see before my eyes.
Students have worked on this way more than I required. Mostly because they were so interested and wanted to do all these creative, performance based things. It's a good thing and I'm glad for the bumps in the road. It's where I learn the most and I think I'm building up my PBL muscles.
Boxing match photo was from Flickr. Licensed under a Creative Commons attribution license. http://www.flickr.com/photos/pedrovezini/6156189348/sizes/s/in/photostream/. Listening ear was licensed under the CC Attribution License http://www.flickr.com/photos/hansvanrijnberk/2598234846/sizes/s/in/photostream/