How It's Made: Project Week

Lauren Zimmerman The Latin school year has been historically marked by two periods of exciting activity. Most recently, in early November, more than 30 in and out of town projects were posted on RomanNet. Project week is an essential part of Latin. It is a time when students have the opportunity to experience new cultures, visit different countries, and understand more about cultural aspects in Chicago. For days after the long awaited release, students discussed where they wanted to travel and what projects seemed most interesting. However, many students do not know how teachers are able to plan such long and often demanding trips. A potential P-week idea begins as a proposal. Mr. Mahoney and Mr. O’Toole, the project week coordinators, pass on submitted proposals to the committee. When asked to explain project week proposals in greater detail, Mr. Mahoney said, “We usually look at the proposals and we decide how it fits into the rubric that we follow, and then go back to the faculty leaders for feedback”. The rubric is very important for each aspiring Project Week sponsor to follow. Proposals that are not adequate the first time around are sent back from the committee to teachers with suggestions on how to improve the project. Mr. Mahoney described the rubric as being “broad enough” that it covers everything necessary for a week of educational experience. He further explained the initial approach to projects as seeing if there are “financial restrictions, whether it follows the pedagogy of project week, whether it’s rigorous enough, there are a number of different things…most projects get feedback”. For that one November rush, weeks of anticipation, and excitement before project week in March, teachers spend a significant amount of time outside of their classes to coordinate and plan. Although different for every project, Mr. Mahoney mentions that “it can be a lot of work, even for the in town projects; you have to contact people outside of school and make connections. It’s not an easy process to have to coordinate everything. The out of town ones are difficult as well”. With added travel times, fifteen or so teenagers, and the pressures of keeping everyone organized and on task, it’s impressive that teachers are able to remain focused on having fun and creating a great learning experience for students. What students and teachers are able to learn about themselves and the people and places around them may make it all worth the trip. ]]>