Guest Post – Kevin Randolph’s Reflections on Start of 13 Days Project

From Kevin Randolph, who is currently not blogging, but hopefully will join the list soon:


Historically the Advanced Placement US History test is given during the first ten days of May and that leaves almost three full weeks of class before our school year ends. I think every AP teacher faces the same dilemma; what to do with the time?


For over fifteen years I have ended my classes with some sort of project. I have elected to do that for a variety of reasons. First, my students were tired of the grind and the information glut that is an AP US history class and wanted something different; second, the students at my school have a significant range of talents and the school has subscribed to using multiple modalities in teaching since its inception as a progressive school in 1919; finally, I needed an instrument that allowed me to evaluate the class and the skills my students had really learned. I wanted to know what they could do with the information they had learned.


The final project has taken many different forms over the years from found poetry, to multimedia art, but I have moved increasingly in the last ten years to technology based projects. I have opted for that approach because I have seen how technology projects allow for a balance between individual creativity and group collaboration while maintaining a level of accountability.


I have seen these projects demonstrate the critical skills of my discipline: inquiry, research, analysis and revision, all within a framework that emphasizes process as well as product. I have settled on these types of projects because it allows me to take the proper role in my classroom as a supporter and facilitator; not a director and controller of information.


Vinnie’s description of the list building exercise was exactly right. It was genuinely exciting to see students engaged in honest dialogue over the importance of historical events, creating criteria for measurement and thinking broadly about cause and effect.


I am delighted with the project and how it is shaping up and look forward to the next phase (the creation of individual films). I am happy to answer any questions that anyone has about this project or any of the others I have done including last year’s project which was a series of films about US History each set to a different John Mellencamp song.

One thought on “Guest Post – Kevin Randolph’s Reflections on Start of 13 Days Project

  1. Hi Kevin,
    Great idea. Our AP History teacher did the same thing this year, and he was pleased with the students’ work for this first-time effort. Here is a link to our wiki if you want to see the end results. Some put music as the background and others narrated. These actually served as a review for the exam!There are two pages…

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