It's been fun working with students on these projects that are pretty atypical for the English classroom. I've been able to engage students in conversations about automotive classes, career-exploration opportunities, facility updates, schedule changes, and landscaping. (This also offered me the opportunity to bust out the WHS Drone to get aerial footage of the grounds for our garden groups!) Students are generating online surveys, conducting interviews with students, teachers, and administrators, and they're calling companies and businesses to compare pricing and ask about donations and discounts.
Both the students and I have had several powerful learning moments where individuals or groups of students realized that the original project idea they had isn't feasible and had to change what they were doing while still honoring the reason behind why they wanted to address the issue in the first place. We went back to their original "why statements" to help guide us into finding an alternative solution to the problem. This has caused students to dig deeper beyond merely complaining about something that could be better and realizing that improving that status quo isn't always as easy as it first seems.
Outlines are mostly done, and today we are diving into the wonderful world of budgets. (Which is yet another atypical topic for and English class.) This has pushed me outside my own comfort zone as an English teacher, because budgeting isn't something I'm trained in. (However, the students are getting it figured out despite my lack of expertise.)
As I showed each class how to fill out the spreadsheet, they were able to see how quickly money adds up when trying to fund a project. For the projects requiring funding, this is forcing the students to use some critical thinking to figure out if they actually need everything they are asking for, look for alternative solutions to meet the need, and also look into alternative means of getting everything they need, like asking for donations or pairing up with other clubs, groups, or businesses.
This week, students will finalize the logistical details of carrying out their project should they be "greenlit", finishing and practicing their presentations, and completing any visual aides or handouts that will help the panel make a final decision.