By Tara Hebbar and Diya Barmecha
The Personal Project is an IB requirement for all 10th graders to participate in, that through a project, encourages the students to present and showcase the skills that they have picked up through their years in the MYP (Middle Years Program). Over the course of a few months, students will brainstorm, plan and execute a product that aligns with their interests, in addition to a 3500 word report that summarizes their process of creation and ideation. It is a great opportunity for students to be able to express themselves, while exploring areas of their interest and pursuing a project that they have been passionate about.
During the course of the personal project we have to do two components, a report that goes to the IB and a product which you develop over the course of the project. The report consists of 3 criterias which aim to work on the development of your own project, the use of various ATL (Approaches to Learning) skills and then the reflection of the project. This report is done by the student over the course of the project and consists of 3500 words.This report is what the IB assesses the student on. In addition to this report, the student is also required to create a product which can be anything like a book, report, documentary, etc. These products have to work towards a learning goal that the student has and also adhere to a success criteria and a product goal that they have designed.
For all of this, they are assigned a personal project mentor who helps them throughout this process and clears any doubts. This mentor is the sounding board for any ideas and concerns that a student might have for the project. During the course of the first semester and the first few months of the second semester, the student is expected to write a report and create a product that adheres to their learning goal and product goal. To make this easier, by the end of ninth grade, we had started brainstorms for our ideas and started to think of things that we liked that we could convert into a long term project.
In our 10th grade class, this year, there have been a wide range of projects. Some of which include a blog, books of various genres, documentaries and videos, podcasts, business proposals, websites and pieces of artwork. This not only shows the range of interest within the classroom, but the fact that they all would have had a different and unique journey while working on this project. One student, Ishaan Shetty, worked on a documentary on the journey of filmmaking. This is what he thinks about their journey with the project. “I interviewed a lot of people, I went on film sets and bought products for the equipment I needed and met a lot of different people – all these activities gave me a lot of real life skills. Another student Jaana Sinha, who made a candle stand using the shape of a woman’s body to inform and raise awareness about the objectification and exploitation of women in certain industries thinks that, “It was difficult and was frustrating at times, but producing the product was a fun experience that taught me a lot.”
All in all, for us, the personal project has been a way to get an idea into what real projects looked like. It has presented us with the opportunity of trying new things that we are curious about and also building skills. We encourage the coming tenth graders to be excited about this opportunity and choose their projects wisely. Although, coming all at once the tenth grade could be a little stressful. On the whole, it is a holistic and wholesome experience.