The third grade team at the school where I teach implemented an inquiry based learning project. We started drafting ideas in October of 2013 in hopes of the project being completed and ready for our students within two weeks. We each had between 26-28 students in our classes, with a variety of learning levels. One of our main objectives was to provide learning opportunities through differentiation. We met with our technology resource instructor, a team of special education teachers and our gifted resource teacher. The first meeting was extremely chaotic as none of us thought to draft a project plan. We were basically looking for feedback and ideas for different types of learners on different levels. The lack of a project plan was our first mistake and resulted in a lot of wasted time for everyone involved. “Plans should always be in writing. A written plan helps the project manager clarify details and reduce the changes of forgetting something” (Portny et al, 2008).
The team members were very excited about the proposed project idea and felt that it was something that would provide an excellent learning opportunity for the third grade students but after the first failed meeting, the third grade team felt the need to draft a plan to explain detailed goals and objectives, a time frame as well as resources that would be needed. We were relying heavily on our technology resource facilitator to create the technology tools needed for the project so we felt that we also needed to meet with her one on one.
It took us about three weeks to get the project in order and set up for our students and we learned a lot about project management along the way. Looking back I realize we left out the start phase and jumped right in to planning and structuring the project. “Time pressure often leads project managers to assume the start phase is a waste of time. However, a project team needs to take time to define its procedures and relationships before jumping in to the actual project work” (Portny et al, 2008).
Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.