Sunday, June 16, 2013

Green Session (7): Capstone Project

Capstone Projects

A capstone project is a major event in a student's life.  Here is how a middle school describes the capstone:

The goal of this project is for each eighth grade student to find a subject that they are interested or passionate about. These topics have been as diverse as the Ballet, the 9/11 Commission findings, the 1918 Flu Epidemic and its relation to the Bird Flu Crisis, parity in the NFL since the formation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Turkish Folk Tales, among many others.

Each student works during their hour and a half Capstone period on Wednesday afternoon under the guidance of both their Mentor teacher. In the course of completing the project, each student must write a research paper in the fall, develop a technology piece in the winter, and then do something of their own choosing in the spring. Some of the personal choice pieces might involve the performance of something that they have developed (such as a dance or playing or performing a piece), writing something, making something, or conducting some kind of independent research.

after reading the excerpt from Big Picture, please answer the questions.

The reading from Big Picture:    

Celebrations, ceremonies, and rituals strengthen a school’s culture because they stand for and show what the school thinks is important. The fact that, at The Met, we sing “Happy Birthday” to each kid and often give him or her a card says something about how we respect and honor each individual. Kids don’t forget that stuff. When people are singing “Happy Birthday” to them, they can say to themselves, “Hey, this school acknowledges me.” At The Met, we also celebrate individual accomplishments. We celebrate every college acceptance. Because we see students’ transition from 10th grade to 11th grade as a big growth point, we celebrate it with a “Gateway Ceremony.” And seniors at The Met participate in two graduations: one for their families (which most underclassmen don’t go to) and another where the whole school gets together to celebrate their accomplishments. It’s also a way for the younger kids to say good-bye to the seniors and take in what graduation really means.
For Discussion
1.  What advantages would there be to you if your students could have a project that serves as a gateway to the next level?
2.  What procedures would you have in your classroom to support a student who wants to work toward a Gateway Project?

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