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We are excited to announce the launch of a new innovative learning experience at SSIS: “Project X.”  The questions and answers below may help you understand more about why we are so excited to launch Project X at our school.

Q: What is Project X?

During the last week of January, students in grades 2-8 will be involved in a week-long challenge involving innovative approaches to learning.  In small groups, students will be selecting a topic of their choice, investigating it, identifying a question, and creating a project to answer that question.  Using the process of ‘Design Thinking,’ students will have exactly one week to take their project from start to finish.  

Q: When will Project X take place?

A: During a few hours on January 25 and 26, students will get a formal introduction to Project X so that they can begin the next week.  Project X occurs full-time during the week of January 29 to February 2, 2018.  

Q: Which grade levels will be involved in Project X?

A: All students in grades 4-8 will be involved in the full Project X experience.  Students in grades 2 and 3 will experience a modified Project X, called “Project X Mini.”  The information below describes Project X for grades 4-8.  (For grades 2 and 3, Project X Mini is more for younger learners and will be self-contained within their own classrooms.)

Q: Is Project X required?

A: Yes, Project X is a required part of the SSIS curriculum for all students in grades 2-8.  Because it is a required part of the curriculum, many things remain the same:

  • Attendance: Attendance is required and will be taken regularly.  All regular attendance procedures apply.
  • Assessment: Students will be involved in daily self-assessment, as well as formal summative reflection at the end of the Project X week.  No, the results of Project X do not appear directly on student progress reports.  However, the skills they develop during Project X will help your child succeed throughout the school year.

 

Q: Will parents be able to see Project X in action?

A: Yes!  Parents have two unique opportunities to see Project X in action: a guided tour and a world expo.

    • Guided Tour: Thursday, February 1 (8:15 – 9:30), the Principal’s Coffee Workshop will allow time for parents to take a guided walking tour to see Project X in action.  
    • World Expo: On Friday, February 3 (12:00 – 1:30), parents will have the opportunity to see students present their finished projects at the Project X “World Expo.”

 

  • Video: A general video of Project X will be produced and shared on the SSIS social media sites.  If parents are not able to attend the live guided tour or world expo, they will be able to see the video after the fact.  You may also share this video with family and friends from around the world.

 

Q: From where did the idea of Project X come?

A: Now that SSIS is recognized as an Apple Distinguished School, we are part of a global network of innovative schools around the world.  During the 2016-2017 school year, our contacts at Apple connected us with Garden International School (Malaysia), who have been conducting a “Large Scale Inquiry Project” for many years.  We liked the idea so much, we sent some faculty members to observe and participate so we could implement it at our school.  When implementing at SSIS, we decided to name it Project X.  We have now been planning this event for over ten months.

Q: What makes Project X so unique?

A:  During Project X, traditional structures of school, such as ages, grades, divisions, departments, schedules, rooms, and courses are temporarily adjusted to create an exciting incubator of educational innovation.  In other words…

  • Teams: Students will be working in multi-age/multi-grade/multi-division groups, with teachers across multiple grades, departments, and divisions.  
  • Schedules: Instead of following their normal schedule and assigned classrooms, students will have a more open choices for where and when they do different parts of their project.  The normal school schedule for the week will be altered to maximize time for students to work on Project X.  
  • Rooms: Students will not be in their regularly assigned classrooms, but will be working in various rooms, depending on the needs of their project teams.
  • Roles: Rather than students taking separate course subjects, students will be challenged to apply their knowledge from all subjects to solve their self-designed problem.  Project X is a week where the roles of teachers and students are transformed: teachers coaching student-directed learning becomes the norm.

Q: Why are we doing Project X?

There are many reasons for our school to do Project X.

  • Thinking: Project X is a week-long intensive focus on a variety of skills, including design thinking, inquiry, research, problem solving, critical thinking, and collaboration.  Students are challenged to take all of these skills and apply them to a self-directed project in a small team.
  • Innovation: Project X is a week-long intensive incubator of innovation in education.  By challenging the traditional structures of schooling (ages, grades, divisions, departments, schedules, rooms, and courses) that may reduce collaboration and creativity.  By challenging these structures, the roles of teachers and learners may be transformed into an exciting and inspiring environment for learning.

Q: How is Project X organized?

A: Each year, Project X will have a different theme.  This year, our theme “Movement.”  Students may inquire into the theme of “Movement” through four different worlds: the digital world, the human world, the constructed world, the natural world.  Students identify their preferences for which worlds they are interested in exploring the theme of movement.  Within each world, students are organized into multi-grade teams of approximately three to five students.  Teams are assigned a room to serve as their ‘home base’ for the week.  Teachers are assigned to each room to help facilitate the student project work.

Q: What else do we need to know?

A: There are a few other questions some parents may have:

  • Curriculum: The typical curriculum for the week is altered; there is nothing that students will need to ‘make up.’  Rather, curricular skills like design thinking, inquiry, research, problem solving, critical thinking, and collaboration are sometimes best learned during experiences similar to Project X.
  • Assessment: Students will be involved in daily self-assessment, as well as formal summative reflection at the end of the Project X week.  No, the results of Project X do not appear directly on student progress reports.  However, the skills they develop during Project X will help your child succeed throughout the school year.
  • Choice: Project X gives more choice to students than they might often experience during the school year.  However, due to logistical reasons, students will not be able to choose on their own what group, world, or project they will work on.  Rather, they will give input to their preferences.  We will make every effort to try to help students get their top preferences for what world they are assigned.
  • Outside of school: Working beyond the hours of school is not a requirement of Project X.  However, we do expect many students will be highly motivated to continue work beyond regular school hours, and may even want to bring materials from home, or purchase materials at stores.  We are providing many materials and supplies to students, but they are certainly welcome to bring in additional materials as they choose.
  • Projects: At the end of Project X, the students will need to decide what will happen to their finished project.  In some cases, SSIS will need to collect small pieces of technology that may have been used in some projects.
  • Innovate SSIS: Project X is different than Innovate SSIS.  Innovate SSIS (scheduled for 20 March 2017) is a short event lasting only a few hours.  It celebrates a variety of innovations in our curriculum, mostly related to our MakerSpace and Design Labs.

 

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