There have been several early indications that this year's project will be enthusiastically received. I introduced it to a Grade 2 class during a lesson last week and I could barely get a word in because they were bubbling with ideas and suggestions. I dismissed the class for recess and before lunch that day, I had students in the Grade 3 class approaching me to say they heard we'd be doing X and Y. One of the students in that Grade 2 class confessed that in the period after media class that day, all he could think about in response to any of his classroom teacher's questions was this one word describing our project. The final clincher was when I started to explain to my principal about my plans and he replied, "Oh, I already know. F [one of the girls in Grade 2] told me everything."
What's got them so pumped? What's the word that has them so distracted?
Initially, we will brainstorm as many restaurants as we can think of, and consider what the target audiences could be. We will investigate all the jobs associated with running a restaurant. Then, the plan is to walk to a couple of local restaurants and visit them as part of a field trip. We'll take a critical look at many aspects of the establishments, from colour schemes to seating arrangements to menu options. (We will probably do some eating there as well!) After examining some real-life models, we are going to create and open, for one-day only, our own in-school restaurants (one per class, on different days). We are going to serve real food, and charge real money, and any profit that we might make will go to charity.
I'm excited about this project but I'm also a little nervous. These are some of the questions that concern me a bit.
- Adult Assistance - How am I going to organize this with the students if I am the only grownup? Who can I get to help us with all the various chores that need adult assistance, like cooking and collecting money?
- Finances - How are we going to pay for all the items we'll need prior to our "grand opening"? How will we determine prices for our menu options in a way that is affordable and still helps us make back the money we spend beforehand?
- Assessment - How am I going to evaluate this project, especially considering that students are going to be involved in different tasks? How will I communicate the learning to parents and via the inevitable report card mark?
Thankfully, some of these questions have started to develop answers. The classroom teachers have already indicated that they would accompany me on a restaurant field trip. I've asked Neil Andersen, media teacher extraordinaire, for his suggestions on assessment and evaluation. I can ask parents for help in the kitchen. This project will probably take several months to plan and complete, but the results look like they might be delicious!