Spring Design Your Own Learning Projects

The end of a school year is always somewhat tumultuous. While everyone is ready to be done, many seem unmoored and it can be difficult to facilitate closure. A high point last week was when my 12th graders submitted their Design Your Own Learning Projects. (Katrina Schwartz wrote a wonderful article about DYOL in the Fall Semester for Mind/Shift.)

This work began at the end of March when we read The Price of Nice Nails and I asked the question, “Can stories change reality?” Guest speakers visited class from Action United and The Philly Block project as students developed proposals. The goals for the project, resources, and model work was available on this doc. During April and May roughly half of our class time was devoted to this work and I regularly conferenced with students for productivity checkpoints.

Below you can see the results, including a music video and multiple investigations about the PES refinery and its impact on the community, stories of immigrants and first generation Americans, interviews and writing about natural hair, and so much more.


The Mysterious Neighbor

A Mexican Immigrant’s Story

Learning Differences at SLA

Infographic on Philadelphia’s Air Pollution

How Did I Get Here?

Made it to America

Respect Your Space SLA

People and the PES Refinery

Transgender Youth in America

Embrace Your Curls

For the Love of Natural Hair

Save Our Air

First Generation Americans

What’s Your Story?

Black Men in America

Neighborhoods R Us

Untold Stories of My Roots

What Does Home Mean to You?

Oil Refinery Radio Piece

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