20% Time – Refining Research – Week 2

Brainstorming is one of my favorite stages of anything. So many possibilities, the sky is the limit, no editing. Then comes the reality check. For some of my students who are moving past brainstorming, Week 2 of their 20% Time Project has been both affirming and frustrating.

First the good news: our wonderful media specialist Dominic Fratantero provided lessons on research tools Evernote and Feedly for collecting and monitoring research. Then I shared Lisa Highfill’s wonderful YouTube videos on how to create Google Sites. My workaround for the fact that our district blocks Blogger and WordPress blogs is to have students use the “Announcements” page in their Google Sites as their blog. That way I can receive their updates directly with Feedly. These tools helped certain students move forward with optimism.

On the other hand, some students have become frustrated to discover with further research either how unoriginal their ideas are (many sites already exist addressing their issues) or how difficult it may be to pursue their ideas. I’m hoping to help them view these frustrations as opportunities to redirect and refine their quests. But this is a delicate area between necessary work ahead and seemingly impossible work ahead.

Also, students are discovering how messy real-life discovery can be. I adapted a blog planning worksheet from Kate Petty’s site to help them set up their blogs. But many students have yet to define the scope of their projects, so the planning sheet will have to wait.

Here’s hoping that my students learn to be okay with “two steps forward, one step back.”