Big Picture Learning is based in part on the idea that students learn about the world around them by becoming a part of that world by experiencing internships where they learn in an area where they have an interest. Internships often last for three months and require the student to work on a project that benefits the organization for whom they are interning. Students are expected to memorialize the experience by keeping a reflection journal.
- The student helps brainstorm ideas for projects with the advisor and mentor.
- The student is expected to pursue what s/he is interested in, but also to be open to including other ideas and Learning Goals into the project.
- S/he plans an in-depth investigation around the project.
- The student creates a proposal and timeline for the project and incorporates the project into his or her Learning Plan.
- Students help decide how their work will be evaluated at their exhibition, who they will use as resources, and which Learning Goals will be worked on through the project.
- The student checks in with the advisor (and mentor) each week around project work and documents his or her ongoing progress.
- As the student and others critique the work, many drafts of the project are created (this may include revised papers, artwork, computer work, etc.). At the end of each quarter, the student presents the product, investigation, and reflection to the exhibition panel.
- The advisor helps the student to plan an exciting, challenging and realistic project.
- The advisor facilitates the project set-up meeting with the mentor and makes sure that the project will be useful to the LTI site.
- S/he helps the student plan a meaningful investigation within the project.
- The advisor serves as the project manager, meeting with the mentor and student, reviewing the proposal and timeline, checking in with the student each week, helping the student plan his or her SuperCalendar, helping to set up resources and reviewing drafts of work.
- The advisor strives to make the work challenging without being overwhelming.
- The advisor stays in contact with the parent/guardian about the student’s project work.
- The advisor helps the student find ways to document the project along the way and to exhibit the work at the end of the quarter. S/he also helps to coordinate feedback for the student, and facilitates the feedback and reflection process.
- The mentor plays an integral role in the LTI project.
- First, the mentor suggests project ideas that will help the organization and are interesting to the student. Then the mentor reviews the proposal and timeline.
- The mentor helps set expectations for the level of project work that the organization needs to meet professional standards and to ensure authenticity.
- S/he gives feedback on the project work, and evaluates it on established standards.
- The mentor checks in with the student each week, serves as a resource for the student, and attends the student’s exhibition.
- The parent sees the student’s revised Learning Plan and reads the student’s proposal and timeline.
- The parent helps by checking in with the student and finding out what project work can be done at home.
- The parent stays in touch with the advisor as well as the mentor and attends the student’s exhibition.
- The principal should know what projects students are working on, support students and advisors by asking how things are going, make suggestions, look at student work, and show how the Learning Goals connect.
- The principal helps the whole school by showcasing examples of strong and innovative projects.
- The principal may also talk about student projects in the community and scout out ways for students to present the projects through public venues.
- Principals coordinate professional development for advisors to support rigorous and meaningful project work and assessment.