One of the most powerful things we can have students do in a Christian school is to ask them to think deeply about how their faith connects with their life and the real world. It is also one of the most authentic and integrative experiences. I am encouraged by the number of schools who have developed culminating projects and require them as part of either /both the 8th and 12th grade years.
I previously wrote about culminating experiences in this blog back in December 2007. I believe that culminating experiences are one of the best practices to enhance and encourage faith development and that is why I list it as one of my 12 Faith Enhancing Practices. For those of you who may be interested in developing culminating experiences, let me share a source for more details in setting up this kind of assignment.
Teachers and administrators at the Christian Academy of Japan have been developing and refining their process and have posted their information on their website. http://community.caj.or.jp/info/index.php/Senior_Comprehensives They call this assignment “Senior Comprehensives” and list four assessment components of the work:
1. Research portfolio
2. Writing portfolio
3. Hands on project
4. Oral presentation
Examples of each of the elements are on the site, including video examples of student presentations. A timeline of expectations and assessment rubrics are also shown.
I encourage all schools to have these kind of learning experiences in place for students. They are engaging, demanding, and rewarding for students and teachers. Culminating experiences are the kind of teaching and learning that we need to do more of in order to effectively prepare our students and meet our missions.
If your school does this kind of experience, would you please consider sharing a link to your information in the comments below so that we can better learn from each other?