Not very many students can say that their instructor allowed them to explore new knowledge on anything—and be graded on it. Having that choice, I was so excited to further my level of knowledge on something I wanted to do. In the beginning of the semester, I chose refurbishing and design. To break that down, I decided to find old treasures and bring them back to life. When it was time for me to choose something, I wanted to dedicate my time into something that I could benefit from in an everyday world. This past summer, I spent a lot of my free time in my Grandpa’s shop. I built pallet trays, a night stand, storage shelves, a spice rack, a coffee table, and other little projects. I refurbished an old hallway table my grandpa made for my parents’ wedding. In the fall when school started, I purchased a solid wood dresser on a Facebook page and put some elbow grease into it, and turned it into a finishing piece. The feeling of being productive and standing back to think “wow- I did that!” is truly worth all the hard work and time.
With the responsibility of choosing anything to teach ourselves, comes with an overwhelming duty of self-motivation. I underestimated the planning, thinking, and pacing part of this. I motivated myself by the feeling that I had when I finished a project. When I didn’t want to go out into the garage and getting sweaty and dirty, I thought of how hard I had worked last summer, and how I felt about the finished piece. The most difficult part for me was deciding! I can’t express how much time I’ve spent on Pinterest! Since choosing this for my ILP, I’ve definitely had my eyes and ears open. If I overhear someone talking about woodworking, staining, painting products, ideas, thrift stores, and more, I tune in on their conversation (purposely eavesdropping. Shhh!) If I’m browsing for channels on the TV, I typically go to HGTV to see if Flea Market Flip or Fixer Upper to see if I can scrape up any more ideas (especially from the pros Chip and Joanna.)
There are some great ways to incorporate an individual learning project into a classroom. Student interest is a major role in engaging kids. In a flipped classroom, this method could fit right in to the classroom groove. With students having the opportunity to do an ILP, it can teach self-motivation, self-assessment, and accountability.