Questions about the 6-step Project Citizen Proccess
1. Identifying Public Policy Problems in Your Community.
Q. How many problems should the class work on at one time?
A. We strongly recommend that your class choose one problem only. If you allow them to do more than one, it becomes very difficult for the teacher to manage all the groups and for students to get the attention and guidance they need..
Q. How long does it take to choose a problem?
A. It usually takes 2-3 weeks to narrow all of the student's ideas down to one problem the entire class can buy-in to.
2. Selecting A Problem for Class Study.
Q. How should the class decide on the problem to study?
A. Some teachers have their students vote on the problem. Some try to reach consensus. There are advantages to both. If students vote, the problem is decided on more quickly, but you may not have complete buy-in of every student. If you decide by consensus, you will have complete buy-in of your students but it will probably take longer to decide on the topic.
Q. Should the teacher ever choose the problem the class will study?
A. No. The students will spend a great deal of time and effort on their project. If they don't feel like they own it, they will lose interest and either quit or do a poor job.
3. Gathering Information on the Problem Your Class Will Study
Q. How long does this part of the project take?
A. Doing the research takes the greatest amount of time (4-8 weeks) so it should be started as soon as possible especially if students are sending away for information from different sources.
Q. How do I transport the students to interviews?
A. This is where supportive parents come in handy. They can take their kids to the interview or assist them with phone interviews. If transporting students is a problem, interviews can be conducted via e-mail or by phone.
Q. I don't have a phone in my room. How do I have my students make and receive phone calls?
A. If you don't have a phone in your classroom, students will need to do phone interviews from home. Perhaps arrangements can be made to allow the students to use a centrally located phone on campus.
Q. Do we have to have resources from every resource category listed in the book?
A. The Internet is a quick and easy way to do research for many public policy problems. However, care should be taken to include research from as many different sources as possible. Encourage students to go to the library and do research the old-fashioned way to improve their research skills.
4. Developing the Class Portfolio
Q. It says in the book to divide the class up in to four groups at the beginning of step IV. Won't the kids in groups three-four be sitting around waiting for group one to finish and so on?
A. This is a good observation. Click on classroom management for some suggestions that will help you with this problem.
5. Presenting Your Portfolio
Q. Can my students use overheads or PowerPoint for his step?
A. No, only materials included in the documentation binder of the portfolio can be used during the oral presentation. Do not include video tapes with the portfolios. They will not be seen by community members during the hearing.
Q. Can I organize a school competition?
A. Yes, we encourage you to do so. The winner of the school competition can then participate in the regional competition.
Q. If you students don't compete at the regional or state competition, can they still get certificate?
A. Yes, every student that participates in and completes the entire program not only receives a certificate but a Project Citizen pin. Just send a class roster to the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education after the hearing has been completed.
6. Reflecting on Your Learning Experience
Q. Should every student do this step or should it be a class activity?
A. This can be done several ways. Most teachers have each student do an individual reflection. Then they have a couple of students compile the individual reflections into a class reflection for the portfolio.