It's week four in term three already. Time is becoming an enemy.
We have decided that rather than risking having our students burn out by working all day on their 'big' project, they can also work on a second 'smaller' project - referred to affectionately as project 2 - on the topic of their choice. This means exhibiting two end products, one that answers our overarching question and another that represents personal learning and interest.
Our task during the last week has been to bump along while we waited for fifteen of our students and one of our teachers to return from Somer's camp. It is clear that regardless of academic ability, everyone requires a lot of work in order to research effectively and gain information that is relevant, substantial and easy for 9 year olds to understand. It is also becoming clear that a small number of our many students blessed with academic prowess are treating our PBL pilot as a cruisy ride downhill towards the conclusion of one's time at primary school and it is for them that I worry the most.
To be honest, I feel like they aren't getting it. I have spoken to parents who reflect on their children becoming overwhelmed, but I know that this is most likely going to turn out like any other opening night production; lots of work is going on behind the scenes. There are tiny glimpses of progress and it is difficult to envisage anything reaching fully finished by exhibition night in week nine, a week that I predict will have teachers turning prematurely grey and students having aha moments reminiscent of a lightning storm.
And so, as student's begin their Scrum's and allocate jobs and roles, I hope against hope that they push each other to be better than they have been for the previous three weeks. I wish for nothing but success for each and every student in our care and need them to show us that all of the lessons, tasks, discussions, workshops and time this term have imparted in them the desire to show us what they have learnt by producing a piece of work that fills them with pride like no other test score has before. The next four weeks will be a hard slog; time to put our preseason training to the test.