Its the final countdown…

by Ruben R. Puentedura, Ph.D.

The final major project has been hanging over us for quite some time now. Since December I have thought about what I would like to do and visualized it in my head. This has been a good thing in someways as I have been preparing for it with my classes. In another way it made me closed off to entertaining new ideas. And here it is 1 day before the deadline and after corresponding with Jeff, discussions in class sessions and then collaborating with the It technician at school I have suddenly come to a new epiphany that I will create a project around an existing unit that I do but transform from being ‘doing old things in new ways’ to a very scary ‘new things in new ways’ and redefine this unit through the use of technology. I can hear you ask, just get to the point..well here we go.

Year 8 have been doing the same project for nearly 3 years. Its called ‘Fusion Pasta’ you may have heard me mention it in previous posts. As of last trimester it was a great unit that encourages students to collaborate, respect other cultures and show human ingenuity with creating a recipe from scratch. That was it! It was fantastic but it went nowhere. With our COETAIL training I realise that learning has changed, its flipped on its head in someways. ‘Tech allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable’.

Last time I taught this unit a month ago I encouraged students to upload their recipes to Epicurious in their final lesson. It was seriously exciting sharing their incredible recipes. The problem was that it was just an add on at the end and the real learning that came with creating an effective recipe plan was lost as it was their last class with me. It really made me think how important it is for the recipe plan to be communicated effectively when it is not just me and the students reading it but people on the other side of the world.

The first thing questions i got asked by my new cohort of students was ‘can we make 8Blue house and Orange houses recipes?’ How fantastic is that? The Task had transcended from ‘Augmentation’ to ‘Modification’ as above. I will be starting this unit again in a couple of weeks with the new houses and this time the tech will be more integrated from the start and I propose to take the technology use from ‘Modification’ to ‘Redefinition’ by picking up on Jeff’s hints of focusing on teaching one or two skills in depth rather than many things superficially. The students will still be creating their dishes but they will be creating a Video that will demonstrate how to make these unique dishes as well as a written plan. The real challenge will contradicting the format that is shown in websites such as Epicurious for members and for them to share their video with the wide but relevant audience.

MYP Criterion c Plan rubric

One of the areas I that I was mapped to cover was organisation and planning. Hopefully this should cover it nicely.

Before writing this post I have been in a ‘world of pain’ thinking about this project but all of a sudden I feel genuinely enthusiastic that my project will be working towards our goal of redefinition in the classroom but also it will be ‘integrated or embedded’ or whatever you want to call it rather than forced.

The NETS standards I intend to meet are below:

 2. Communication and Collaboration
Students use digital media and environments to
communicate and work collaboratively, including
at a distance, to support individual learning and
contribute to the learning of others.
a. Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers,
experts, or others employing a variety of digital
environments and media
b. Communicate information and ideas effectively
to multiple audiences using a variety of media
and formats
c. Develop cultural understanding and global
awareness by engaging with learners of
other cultures

4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving,
and Decision Making
Students use critical thinking skills to plan and
conduct research, manage projects, solve problems,
and make informed decisions using appropriate
digital tools and resources.
a. Identify and define authentic problems and
significant questions for investigation
b. Plan and manage activities to develop a solution
or complete a project
c. Collect and analyze data to identify solutions
and/or make informed decisions

The main skills that I hope the students will take away from this unit;

Collaboration in person but also online to help plan their dish and organise themselves. There is also the potential to collaborate outside of school with professional chefs for advice. Communicating will come in person during this unit as student work with a partner they do not usually work with from a different culture from their own. This also leads of to cultural understandings  and respect. Students will be identifying ways to communicate their ideas and recipe plan effectively.                                          Organisation is a one of the main skills students learn Food Tech lessons as it is. Organisation of time and resources. Time management also. Students will be creating their dish from scratch and will have to really identify their target audience and how they can solve the problem of fusing together two cuisines. Students will be creating a video to explain in detail the logical steps to create their dish this will require an undrstanding of visual literacy.

I hope you like my ideas for my final project and PLEASE, if you have any suggestions let me know, I am feel very open to ideas and want to make this as greater learning as possible for my students :)






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One Response to Its the final countdown…

  1. Avatar of Jeff Utecht Jeff Utecht says:

    This is awesome…I love how you continue to push yourself and your students “out there” and find new ways to get them connected around food. There are niche communities for everything on the web. You just have to find them and get the students connected. I love that they are sharing their recipes on a great website…talk about making it meaningful when you are creating recipes that others all over the world will use, rate, improve, and pass on. So, so cool!

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