The Value of Year-Long Projects
We at Insights provide teachers with ideas for student projects, and some of them are for year-long projects. A school-year is a long time to be working on the same thing, and wouldn’t short-term projects just be easier? Maybe.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of doing year-long projects with your classes.
Less Work Later
Preparing a class for a year-long project might take a bit more work than preparing them for a short-term project (although I’m not sure that’s always true), but think of the long term investment. What if you did one year-long project in place of eight short-term projects? By the end of the year, you did less setup but still got a lot of output from your students.
Whenever you begin a new project, there’s a learning curve as the students get used to expectations and get the hang of their task. But if you return to it over and over again, students will adapt to it and gradually participate with more confidence.
When projects are ongoing, imagination isn’t limited to a student’s mood on that particular day or a recent memory; students can take the time to explore more possibilities and build off of what they and others have done earlier in the project (or not)!
Whenever you have a small gap of time you need to fill, instead of trying to come up with something new on the spot, have your students pick up where they left off on their year-long project.
Whether the project is done as a class or individually, the more your students work on it, the greater sense of pride they’ll have in it. That might increase their motivation to do the best job they can.
Some of the projects require different roles (like the Class Newspaper project, for instance). With each iteration, students can try something different.
As the project continues - or once it’s over - you’ll be able to see how your students have grown in their language skills since the beginning of the year.
By the end, students will have something cool to show others. With the Student Blogging project for instance, students should have several completed writings to add to their portfolio.