Blank White Page Project Description

Project Overview: If you’re not familiar with Cheryl Morris’ post on the Blank White Page idea, read that before continuing (the actual BWP idea is near the bottom, in between the asterisks).

Procedure: On the first day of the new school year, all students receive a blank white piece of paper. On one side, students give the teacher information about themselves - whatever they think is relevant for the teacher to know: about who they are as well as some subject-specific information (What is English/history/math/science? What is your experience in [insert subject here]? What does a [insert subject here] class look like? How do you like to learn?).

On the back side of the sheet, students record questions they are interested in knowing the answer to. Any question is fair game (so long as it is within reasonable bounds of academia, age-appropriateness and school culture), with the only stipulation being that the students must be genuinely interested in finding the answer to this question. Other subject teachers can change this requirement as needed.

Recording questions: Students will be required to record their questions at the Google form found here and turn in their BWP the following day in class. Teachers will take the submitted questions from the Google form and post them to the BWP website here.  Questions will be posted publicly on the website, with the teacher’s name as well as the student’s first name and last initial.

Questions from the BWP: Students work throughout the year to answer the questions they generated and entered into the BWP question form - either their own questions, or a question that they are interested in answering from another classmate or even another teacher’s class. On the website, teachers will record their names, as well as the names of students (first name, last initial) who are working on answering a particular question.  In that way, students would have an opportunity to collaborate across classrooms, as well to answer BWP questions. Students submit their answers to their teacher, and the teachers post the students’ answers (Prezis, Google presentations, videos, etc) below the question on the BWP website. The blog posts of reflectors (more below) are posted below answer as well.

As an option, students can connect via Twitter, using the hashtag #BWP12 for first semester, and #BWP13 for second semester.  This would primarily be for students to connect with other students, outside of their own class period, in order to find collaborative projects. As a second option, students could use the hashtag to announce when their answers had been posted to the BWP website in order to get feedback about their project.

Role of students: Students can opt to be either content creators (creating answers to questions that they or other students have asked) or reflectors (reflect on completed answers in blog posts that are linked to the question). Possibly, a student may eventually curate the BWP site.

Expectations of use of classtime on this project: This is entirely dependent on the situation that you are in with your class. We want teachers that are going to have students creating content and sharing it regularly.  The minimum expectation is that students will create one project/answer/blog post/reflection on another project per semester.

The question you should ask yourself before signing up is, “Where might the BWP project fit in my classroom?”  Although we don’t see any “wrong” answers to that question, here are some ways we envision it working:

By agreeing to be part of the BWP project, you are agreeing to have each student answer a minimum of two questions per year.

Grading/Tracking Projects: teachers can choose how to give grades for this (if ever)

Let us know if you’d like to make the commitment on Twitter: @guster4lovers and @kls4711. Please notify us by August 10th so we can get everything set up before the start of school.

Update:

Due to more interest than we originally expected, we will be running two cohorts of the project.  We do not feel it is helpful to have more than five teachers in one cohort due to class sizes.  We are happy to share the planning information with ANYONE, and if you would like to form a new cohort or add to one of the existing ones, we’d be happy to help figure that out.  Both cohorts will link through the existing Google site, but we will have each cohort administer their own separate page.  Don’t worry about the technology side - we can help you get it up and running if needed.

Right now, here are the cohorts:

1. Cheryl Morris/Karl Lindgren-Streicher/Andrew Thomasson/Kate Baker (9th-12th grade)