I use Calvin and Hobbes comics often to illustrate what I am talking about during presentations. I swear there is a strip suitable for everything. I recently used them to give some top tips for being a good Personal Project supervisor!
Although the Personal Project is an independent, student led project, and students should be in charge of reaching out to supervisors...sometimes we need to give them an extra nudge. A good way of making this still feel like the student is leading the way, is just sending them emails relating to their project instead of telling them what they need to do. For example 'I saw this great article, which reminded me of your topic, let me know what you think', instead of '...why haven't we had a meeting recently'.
If there is ever a time where you feel you need to reach out to parents, then I recommend sending a formal letter to the student, with the parents cc:ed in, instead of addressing it to the student.
During the very first meeting it is really important to have some essential agreements. These can include:
Some tips for further meetings:
This is one of the things students struggle with the most. It is likely their first long term project, and so they may put other work as their priority right up to the end. Sometimes it is very obvious when students are struggling with this, so you can easily support them. However, some super high-function students, who do extremely well in their classes, often struggle with time management too - the reason they do well in their other classes, is that there deadlines are always close and so they work towards those. A good way to mange this is to really make sure students are documenting all the work they are doing and that they are creating and sticking to their own mini deadlines.
I've shared these two videos before - but want to share them again - as they are so perfect for PP! The first one is a short advert (actually for a bank) and focusses on the 'Museum of Procrastination'. The second video is a very funny Ted Talk, 'Inside the Mind of the Procrastinator'.
Although the Personal Project is process focussed, and not product focussed....you still have students who either:
Students are asked to reflect on all five Approaches to Learning skills (ATLs) in their report. Many will find talking about some, like communication skills quite easy. However some challenges they have might be:
Make sure your student is documenting everything! This will make writing their reports so easy!
If a student turns up to a meeting without their process journal - reschedule!
Make sure your student is taking notes in your meetings too!
The most stressful time for the student! Make sure they turn in a high quality first draft. Then give them feedback, but instead of just writing on the report and adding comments - give them feedback strand by strand. You might read a report, which sounds fantastic, but if it is not linked to the assessment criteria, then it might not get a good grade.
The exhibition is a time to celebrate the success of the student. Although I am normally a super positive, happy person...I do get slightly miffed when supervisors don't come to the exhibition. Supervisors have been working with that student for the whole year, and they are possibly the only person who knows exactly what went into the project. Be your students champion. Show up and support them. (Bonus for giving them a nice card to say how proud you are!)
I recently had an idea to get supervisors to make their own mini comics, using Calvin and Hobbes comics with the words taken out. Some fantastic teachers at Pathways School Noida produced these excellent comics:
Here are the comic strips with the words taken out.
I can't wait to use these comics in my regular MYP classes too!
Comment and let me know if and how you use them. ALSO let me know your top PP tips for supervisors!