Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Letter to Pitch Day Guests

One of the crucial components of Pitch Day is having students present to an authentic audience. A variety of individuals both within and without the GA community have agreed to act as this objective audience. Below is the overview letter I sent to our Pitch Day Guests:

Good morning-

Thank you again for your willingness to provide an audience to my 7th grade students for their Pitch Day tomorrow, Thursday 2/6.

Students have been working for the past several weeks to develop a long term research project on a topic of their own choosing. They have been responsible for devising a goal towards which to work, finding basic background information to inform their study, and thinking about how their final product will benefit the greater community of the Middle School, GA, or beyond. They have started building a blog to curate the information they collect and to share and publicize their work for a larger audience.

However, students have yet to do any “real” research and work on this assignment- at this stage, they are merely pitching you their idea. This is because they do not have official permission to continue their research… yet. While all the students have convinced me over the past few weeks that they have worthwhile ideas to explore more completely in the coming months, I want them to hear from a more objective audience. And that is where you all come in.

Your role will be to provide qualitative feedback to the students based on the information they have collected and chosen to share with you. I will provide you with specific feedback forms that ask you to describe the individual projects as presented by the students (aka “Are students speaking with authority about their project/Are they confident in expression?”), to describe any complications you as an outsider might foresee (aka “Have students thought critically about pitfalls and challenges based upon the background information they have collected?”), and to describe ways you might consider approaching and rectifying those complications (aka “Are students realistic in recognizing and grappling with challenges both seen and unforeseen?”).

Tomorrow’s event will be set up as a gallery presentation- at a minimum, students will have a coversheet with basic information about themselves, as well as a QR code you can scan to access their initial blog posting explaining the basics of their projects. Feel free to bring your web-enabled iDevice (with a QR Reader installed) to scan this code! Additionally, students may bring models, examples, visuals, or other presentation material to paint a more complete picture of what they plan to accomplish, though these additional pieces are not required at this point.

I have included as an attachment my example coversheet for this project, as well as the link to my example blog below:

 Thank you again for offering your time, your objectivity, and your perspective to my students. I greatly appreciate your help, and look forward to seeing what the students bring tomorrow.

Here’s hoping the uncooperative weather has not dampened the kids too much!

David J. Baroody

I am excited (and nervous, and proud, and...) to invite these individuals into my classroom tomorrow. I can't wait to see how Pitch Day turns out!

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