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Staying Organized

Staying Organized

The teachers use their regular methods to help students stay organized, including step-by-step task descriptions, review and reporting at the start of the period, and journaling during the extended group work. A last-minute plan to develop a booklet for the final group design task was especially valuable. These small Red Books were given to every student, during roller coaster split days (see calendar), and contained all sub-tasks for each role.  They also provided places to keep track of individual progress.

"The Red Book idea did not occur to us until several weeks into the unit. We really felt like the students needed an organizing system that was set apart from what they normally do for classes. It emphasizes the 'integrated' idea behind the learning."                                                                                 —Jill Whitesell

The first page in the Red Book is the group planning sheet, which gets students focused and aligned with their task.

During the roller coaster “split” days, teachers track student progress throughout the five block periods. Split days are the final two work days when each group member takes on their assigned role as Architect, Engineer, Public Relations Manager, or Researcher to complete the culminating project.  Students do not attend separate academic class periods and remain in one classroom based on their role. Each teacher on the team serves as a mentor for one particular role.  In lieu of attending regular classes, students report to their mentor teacher’s classroom for extended work time. The math teacher becomes the Architect mentor, the science teacher becomes the Engineer mentor, the language arts teacher becomes the Public Relations Manager mentor, and the social studies teacher becomes the Researcher mentor. 

Staying Organized