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Create a lasting impression: #myseniorfootprint

Major Update 4/11/14. I used to call this project the 1365 project, now it’s the My Senior Footprint Project (#myseniorfootprint) Other updates and added videos can be found below. 

If the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything is 42, than the answer to senior malaise and everything wrong with the last few weeks of school is #myseniorfootprint.

***

I avoided teaching seniors for the first eleven years of my teaching career. The thought of teaching students who were “one foot out the door” troubled me to say the least. Finally the inevitable occurred. One of our AP English senior teachers retired and they moved me from AP Lang to AP Lit along with a few classes of CP4.

My first few years of teaching seniors went well. They are mature and fun and it’s weird (in a good way) being in a high school setting, but dealing with students who are legally adults. After the AP test we would engage in project-based learning, perform presentations, and do other fun activities, but there was something missing.

When I taught juniors I would have them finish the year by creating a college portfolio. It would include a resume, a letter of recommendation written by themselves, a college entrance essay, and samples of evidence of everything they had accomplished in high school. They would present this professionally in a three-ring binder and even though they complained about the project, they always thanked me later for giving them the opportunity to gather, evaluate, and reflect.

I wanted something like this for my seniors, but I also wanted it to have the student choice element of the 150 point project.

I’ve been to other schools and watched exit interviews, they are fine, but rarely do I feel a sense of “Wow!” from them. I also saw senior projects and I love them, but each project is more important to the student who made it than the other students who are looking at it. I wanted something that would impact both the student who made it, and their peers and I mostly wanted them to create something that would keep their peers, and not me, as the target audience.

So I created the 1365 project My Senior Footprint project.  A project that highlights what they learned during their four years of high school.

Sometime in the fall I start showing them examples of past 1365 projects. I’ve changed the timeline for the share for two reasons:

1. Too many people, including Karl Lindgren-Streicher and Jon Corripo have talked about reducing the period of “The Suck.” The Suck is the time between the start of a project and when the students actually start working. So I think sharing this with them before Spring Break is better.

2. Whenever I watch these I see graduation props in the background which tells me that even though I assigned it before Thanksgiving, they weren’t starting it until two weeks before it’s due. It’s a less than five minute video/slideshow, they can start it in the Spring.

I also show them this handout projected on the overhead.

My Senior Footprint (#myseniorfootprint)

What did you learn from FVHS and outside of FVHS in the last 1365 days of your life?

You have 3-5 minutes to detail or show us what you learned during your four years of high school.

Presentations will happen during the first two weeks of June.

You may work with up to four other people, but each person will have to turn in a one page detailed typed sheet explaining exactly what you did for the group and how much time you spent on your own work.  If you work by yourself you do NOT need to write anything.

Possibilities include:

  • Video
  • YouTube
  • PowerPoint/Keynote/Flash slide show
  • Animated Movie
  • Audio file
  • ?

The presentation cannot be a speech. It must be something that I can save online or on my computer. Content must be appropriate (of course

Due dates: June 1st through the 9th (signups in class)

Points possible: 200

Here is an example:

I still watch this example every year. I brings these two young women back into my class and into my heart. They were just great students and I feel lucky every time I watch this.  The sample videos are crucial to the success of this project.

Here is another example done by one of my college-prep (non-AP) students.  It’s a clever spoof on the movie Zombie Land.

Here is another example done by a college-prep student. She was very quiet in class. That’s other great thing about these projects. Many of my quiet students do fantastic jobs on their 150 point project.

And here is my last example. This one I made me a little misty-eyed. There was a study done recently that shows that if a middle school or high school boy has just ONE good friend during school he is far less likely to do drugs or engage in other self-harming behavior and he will be able to better tolerate any bullying behavior. When I watch this video I pray my son will find a great friend like these two young men.

EVERYONE wants to see a non-video one. Here is a Senior Footprint project that was not originally a movie. This was a PPT and the student just used the song Trololo behind the PPT. This student was VERY quiet in class, hated doing presentations and yet everyone LOVED his senior presentation. I turned it into a YT video so I could embed it with some music in the background

FINAL NOTE: At Fountain Valley High School we recently (two years ago) started a B4L program (Barons 4 Life). All colleges and high schools benefit when people identify with their school, especially after graduation. What a great opportunity for the school to have student revisit their time there in a positive light by seeing and sharing their Senior Footprint Video. Additionally, can you image the effect of these videos on middle school students and parents when they search for content about your school on various social media sites and YouTube? I can.

***

It’s also powerful to show some examples that contain students who have just recently graduated. It helps my students realize “hey… I can do that too.”

This is a wonderful way to end the year with seniors and I firmly and passionately believe it is worth the risk of trying. Every student makes one. Some of the PPT ones are very good, but what I love about this project is there is a space for something magical to happen: a memorable moment, an epiphany, there is room for greatness in this project and they get to choose their path in the process. Feel free to use these videos to serve as examples for your first year and share any great ones with me later.

THIS is a new one. (4/11/14) My students love watching this:

Here is another new one (4/11/14)

Enjoy.

Update 10/25/13

I have a friend named Christine Reinholt. She is a teacher in Wisconsin. She tried the 1365 project with her seniors and LOVED it. Here are a few examples from her:

As a geek I LOVE the Lego angle

These always slay me when kids go “old-timer”

LASTLY- 

This is the ultimate Geek Video: A student’s life if they lived HS as a Pokemon Trainer. I make a few special appearances

19 comments

  1. We’re meeting as a team of staff/students RIGHT NOW to generate ideas for our Week One 2014/15 and set a theme for the year that centers us as a community. We’re using #DHSLaunch as our SM meet-up. I am pitching 1365 as a NECESSARY and CRITICAL thread to weave into our big picture work – our seniors are tired of just doing school and all of us are trying to find ways to make 12th grade feel like a way to contribute to the world, not just credits on a transcript!!

      1. We’ve chosen #DHSLaunch as the umbrella hashtag for all of our start of school orientation/community building/theme-setting work – what about something in the realm of “Senior Culmination” OR what if it’s like “1365 Days Later, Time To Give BACK.” Okay we’ll mess w/it but always attribute.

  2. I teach at a small poorer school. I don’t have iPads to check out or such. I saw the still shots ones, but kids still had to stream them together. My students have enough smartphones and access to PPT, do you think I can do this? I REALLY want to! And advice or info you can give me is greatly appreciated! Thanks! – Kari

    1. We don’t have iPads or any equipment to check out either. Some students just create a PPT and set it to music. Or make a slideshow on their phones. Perhaps they could even draw their senior footprint and you or one of the students could take pictures and upload them to a google drive folder and then work on them. Start early enough that you can use library computers. Manage your expectations. Not every one looked like the ones I shared.

  3. This sounds like a fantastic project! I think I’m going to try it with my AP kids after the AP exam. Do you have a rubric you’d be willing to share?

  4. This looks like such an amazing project and I am going to give it a whirl with my Seniors in Alaska. I’ve never done a video project before–do you spend much time talking about visual story telling? I’d also love to hear any of your pre-writing (or pre-project) brainstorming activities and would also absolutely love a rubric! Thanks for posting, awesome project!

  5. This is just wonderful! What do you use to assess this project? Would you be willing to share your rubric?

    1. Sorry for the late reply. I don’t use rubrics very often. Since this was an end of year project and more about the completion AND they aren’t going to have an opportunity to do a similar project, I hand out lots of B+s, and A+s.

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