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How to prosper with MYP personal projects: documenting the project

By Lenny Dutton

In the fifth post in the series How to prosper with MYP personal projects, we look at the process journal—one of the keys to a successful process and outcome in the personal project. In addition to documenting the progress that a student makes, and providing a foundation for the final report, the process journal is an avenue for supporting students as they demonstrate and extend the approaches to learning (ATL) skills, learner profile attributes and the knowledge that they have gained throughout the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP). Here are my tips for helping students use their process journal effectively.

How do your students get a sense of what to include in their process journal?

Once students have had about two months to work on their personal projects, they gather for a session about using the process journal. We started off by watching the music video for “That One Moment” by OKGO, and the ‘making of’ video. In the presentation, they imagine that the video for “That One Moment” was a personal project. They reflect on the approaches to learning that the band would have demonstrated, and what evidence they would expect to appear in the process journal.

How do students make the connection between the process journal and the final report?

After watching both the music video and the ‘making of video’ we go through strand by strand. Hopefully, throughout this process they will think of the similarities with their own projects.

Students brainstormed all the things they would expect to see in the band’s process journal. We then looked at Criterion A and B from the MYP document Further guidance for Projects, strand by strand, to see if they had put down process journal entries that would support them. Because students had already been working on their process journals, many found that they already had a collection of valuable material. Other students found that they needed to add different types of entries in order to demonstrate that they had met the assessment criteria.

How do students evaluate and improve their process journal?

For the rest of the afternoon, students were able to work on their process journals and ask for advice from me and other teachers in the room. I was so impressed with the work they have done already! Lots of thoughtful and detailed process journals!

How does the process journal support the final report?

We advise students to write at least a paragraph for each strand of the assessment criteria, using the PEEL structure: point, evidence, explanation, link. For every point they make, they cite evidence that is drawn from their process journal and included in the appendix. Because students went through the process of brainstorming possible process journal entries that would align with the assessment criteria, they have evidence to include in each paragraph.

An updated version of Further guidance for projects was posted on the programme resource centre in December 2017. The update includes a list of sample process journal entries that provide evidence in support of the assessment criteria. Lenny has shared several resources on her blog, Excited Educator. Here are the links to the resources that have been described here:

Lenny Dutton, is the personal project coordinator at Atlanta International School (AIS)