I gave the students four class days (there was also a three-day weekend in between) to work on whatever they wanted. I told them that some of them would want to use this time for their final project, but most of them would probably want to work mostly out of class. So, I didn't feel too bad giving a few "free days." Several did work on their art project and several went to serve a teacher during these four days. Others relaxed and played math games and worked entirely on the project on their own time.
This idea stemmed from an interview I listened to with Glennon Doyle Melton (here). In the interview, she was asked how she deals with all the hardships she sees and reads about on a daily basis. How do we get ourselves out of our own misery? She said she always comes back to two things: art and service.
I couldn't agree more with Melton's advice. I had never realized that art and service were two ways I dealt with change and loss, too. Thus, this interview was a catalyst to a project I've been mulling over for quite some time...
UHS AP Calculus AB Final Project
You’re almost done! I recognize this can be a stressful and bittersweet time for both juniors and seniors alike. While I hope you’ve learned lots of calculus throughout the year, there are things that are more important than mathematics: one of those being—How do you cope with change? There are two ingredients I want you to practice before you leave our class—service and art. When life gets chaotic, one of the best things you can do is remember that there are others in this world who are suffering, and do something to help them. Furthermore, creating something through an art medium is a great way to express yourself, especially in the moments when you’re feeling overwhelmed. As a way to encourage you to practice both the art of service and creativity, I've made this our final project for the year (worth 25 points in the test category).
SERVE: Think of something you can do that would positively impact someone else’s life in a significant way. Spend no more than $20/person. You may work in groups or as individuals.
CREATE: Create a piece of art that you’re proud of. This is not limited to drawing or painting: think outside the box! Express yourself in a way that is unique to you. Please work individually on this.
On Thursday, May 28, you will be asked to share both your projects with the class. I do not want to stifle you in any way, so grading will be based on completion: do the project and you’ll get full credit.
I'm so proud of all your work this year. It’s been an honor to be your teacher!