James Fleming Hosic.

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Sample Projects

Second Series

•> *

Copyright 1921 by James Fleming Hosic

506 West 69th Street

, Chicago


The second series of sample projects is issued in pursuance of the
])lan announced in the first nunil)er. i)ul)Hshed in September, 1920.
Since many are usins^- the material for studx' in courses in education,
a numl)er of contributions have been inckuled to provide the basis for
discussion of various moot questions. J^'or example, can projects be
classified? If so, how? Is it useful to attempt it? Can the teacher
plan in advance or nuist she depend entirely ui)on chance to determine
her course? Do projects always involve correlations? Do they always
proceed to some objective result.^

How can projects be most usefully described? What are the
advantages and disadvantages of indicating certain definite steps or
stages in the process? Should the writer take the point of view of the
teacher? Of the pupils? Or of both? Which feature of the account
is of greatest value to other teachers?

This series is introduced with a criticism and analysis of a piece

of project work done in a class in English conducted as a demonstra-

,t.ij:jn class for students in the summer session of Teachers College,

•,b.y. Miss Olive Ely Hart, head of the department of English in

*,ttfe South Philadelphia High School for Girls. An account of this

ri\yJ3rk by Miss Hart herself will be found in the English Journal for

, .November, 1920, under the title, "Friends by Mail." It was thought

fnat this criticism would serve as an outline for similar studies. A

' jnore formal outline, by the editor of the series, which appeared in the

%$'nglish Journal for November, 1918. has also been included to meet

"largent requests for it.

To those who have permitted the printing of their accounts in
.''t*his pamphlet thanks are due. Many of them are numbered among
' ,t,lie original subscribers to the enterprise. Others have both contributed
/■^afid subscribed. The task of developing the ideal embodied more or
i'fdss clearly in these accounts will now be taken up by the newly organ-
'.iaed National Conference on Educational Method and its monthly

''•^ James Fleming Hostc.

[':;[ Chicago, March, 1921.

;••• A Composition Project in the Junior High School

'''Rose A. Carrigan, Assistant Director of Probationary Teaching,

Boston, Mass.

The work chosen for discussion in this paper was a project of cor-
responding with the Szecho-Slovak cripple children of Dr. Bakule's
school in Prague.
CRitERiA FOR Judging the Work

V 1. Was there whole-hearted purpose on the part of the children
or was the work imposed upon them ?

2. Did the work involve a true life experience, which made it a
worth-while undertaking ?

3. Were the pupils permitted to do genuine thinking?


4. Were there resulting values from the standpoint of a school
curriculum huilt upon the needs of society and the abilities of the

5. Was the role played by the teacher in keei)insj^ with the phil-
osophy underlying learning through projects?

6. Does the character of this project and the method of working
it out promise a "leading on" to further activity?

Evidence and Discussion

Was there whole-hearted puri)ose on the part of the children or
was the work imposed upon them?

The approach to the work was made through a visit to the project
exhiliitr better known as the project study room, an accessory to
~Dr7Hosic's course in "Project Teaching Applied to Education." The
children went with a definite purpose in mind. They went to see what
a group of Czecho-Slovak children had sent to America by way of
introducing themselves and becoming accjuainted with American chil-
dren. There they saw the pictures of these children and read letters
from them in which they told much about their own lives. Accom-
panying the pictures and letters were beautiful w^ood cuts which the
foreign children had made to illustrate one of Kipling's "Just So
Stories." These the Horace Mann Children examined with interest.

At a later lesson these young people showed unmistakable evi-
dence of deep seated interest in the Czcho-Slovak cripples and eager-
ness to know them better. They discussed their impressions in class
w^th naturalness and freedom. They commented upon the afflicted
childr'enVperseverance in 'the face of great difficulty and endeavored
to work out a reason which might have occasioned such persistence.
They contrasted the conduct of these willing workers with the greater
indifference towards work of our American children, and tried to
decide the cause. In response to the teacher's question as to what they
might do about it, it was proposed by a member of the class that they
reply to the letters they had read. It was explained that the response
must be a group response and therefore all would need to participate
in the thing together. All agreed to the proposal and at once entered
into the planning with zest. Ted, the overgrown boy in the class, said
he had a picture of Niagara Falls, which he had taken himself and he
would send that. There was no doubt as to the purposeful activitv
with which the individuals of this class responded to the situation and
decided to get into correspondence with the crippled children of
Czecho-Slovakia. The start had all the earmarks of work purposed
within -and not imposed from without.


Did the work involve a true life experience which made it a worth-
while undertaking? Is corresponding with real human beings who
have impressed themselves upon our attention in some significant way
a true life experience? Is letting the heart go out in sympathy and
understanding to the oppressed and sorrowful of worth while value"
Is extending the hand of comradeship to the. heavily burdened a
worthy undertaking? Is getting into sympathetic relationship with

lives worked out in circumstances foreij^n to our own a characteristic
of worthy democratic Hving? If the answer to each of these questions
is "Yes," then it must he acknowledged that Miss Hart's children em-
barked on an enterprise which is a complete life experience, indeed,
exceedingly worth while.


Were the children permitted to do genuine thinking?

When one is conscious of a need and seeks to satisfy that need by
testing out suggestions that come to mind, there is geinuine thinking.
As has already been stated, the children were tremendously impressed
by the persistency of the Slovak children in spite of their great handi-
caps. So impressed by this were they that they attempted to analyze
the situation to find out how it could happen that children so afllicted
should persevere in the face of grea^ difficulty until accomplishment
crowned their efforts. One suggested that, imlike themselves, there
was nothing else that the cripples could do. so they might as well work,
but another wiser child suggested that their great need of earning a
living was the true source of their strength. This led to the threshing
out of the subject of ideals of conduct, and here there was indication
of much genuine thinking.

Later the pupils faced the need of working out a practical plan
of procedure in their enterprise of correspondence. A plan to have
their pictures taken to send was settled upon and carried out before the
next lesson. Little by little other details were settled. It did not
take them long to find out that since it was a group undertaking there
ought not to be duplication in the individual letters. Consideration of
a point of contact between their own lives and the lives of their corre-
spondents also featured in their final plans. At last it was definitely
decided what line of attack would be made by each writer and in
general of what her letter would treat.

A difficulty which they had to face and solve was the fact that
the Red Cross authorities, who were responsible for the coming of the
exhibit, w^ould sanction correspondence of the Slovak children \vith a
school as a group only, and not with individuals. This was a little
disconcerting and disappointing as the fall would find the children
distributed in the different school buildings. They attacked this prob-
lem and suggested several tentative solutions.

These illustrations furnish, perhaps, sufficient evidence to prove
that the project was provocative of genuine thinking in real situations.


Were there resulting values from the standpoint of a school curri-
culum built upon the needs of society and the abilities of the children ?

One of the great needs that exist in our world at the present time
is that of getting individuals of different nations to become acquainted
in personal ways, that they may thereby know and understand each
other better. If the children of the pre'^ent generation cultivate such
acquaintance now, may we not hope that the effect will be a lessening
of the chances of having another great war in the future? We are
afraid of what we do not know ; we hate because we have not seen the
qualities which merit love. What social value can be greater than the
cultivation of the personal touch, the mutual understanding, wdiich

leads to the love of our neighbor whom we have begun to appreciate
and understand. A school curriculum which does not provide lavishly
for this development is not worthy of a place in our educational
scheme. 'I'his project takes account of this social need.

But the .school curriculum must also provide for certain skills and

abilities of which society has need. A few of these in the field of
Enghsh composition are ability to think clearly and speak convincingly;
to write a technically correct letter which holds the interest of the
correspondent, and provokes a response. It is the belief of the writer
that the project wdnich is under discussion in this paper contributed in
full measure to the development of these skills and abilities.

At first the children, with the exception of Pauline, admitted that
they did not know how to begin their letters. An hour's discussion,
however, apparently clarified their thoughts and in oral preliminary
planning the way was prepared for the inclusion of much interesting
material. One would predict fine success in the final letters.* The urge

is so strong that the best of workmanship on the mechanics, too, will
undoubtedly be forthcoming to match that of the letters received.

The first responding letter ready was written and read by Pauline.
It was remarkably well done and indicated that the enterprise was
wholly within her power. She defended her omission of the informa-
tion that she was born in Russia on the ground that she had decided
to reserve that for a second letter after an introductory acquaintance
had been established. Note that she hoped for and expected a con-
tinuance of the correspondence. A wealth of social values was pro-
vided by this project. The work was within the ability of the children.


Were the roles played by the teacher in keeping with the phil-
osophy underlying learning through projects?

The role of the teacher, as the writer understands it, is in every
case to further in any way she can the purposeful activities of the
children throughout the stages of the development of a project, i. e.,
from the launching to the final issue of success or defeat ; also, she
must see to it that the social and other educational values already dis-
cussed are not missing. Later she will check the products. Was Miss
Hart true to these trusts? It seems to the writer that she was. She
began by so setting the stage that interest in these foreign children
would result ; she placed her class under the magic influence of their
pictures and work. The following day she brought to her pupils' con-
sciousness anew the appreciation of these little sufferers when she
asked. "What was your impression? Did you get anything mightier
than the physical defects?" Next she played the role of leader when
she opened the way to decisive action by her question. "What do you
think we ought to do about it?" She gave the needed help when she
threw into high light their tendency to duplicate what another had
said, and when, little by little, she stimulated them to realize that every

*The letters were up to expectation and were taken to Europe by Dr. Hosic
to be shown to educators and finally placed in the hands of the children in
Dr. Bakule's School.

letter must contain the vital factor of a contact of interest between the
writer and the reader. A^ain, she c()-o])erated when, in give and take
discussion, her olTering set an ideal in taste, or suggested that the
writer use imagination and put herself in the reader's place. "Is he
likely to be interested in that?" "Why?'" "Why not?"


/ Does the character of this project and the method of working it
/ i>ut give promise of "leading on"?

Already Miss Hart's children have been at no small pains to cir-
cumvent the conditions laid down by the Red Cross, which provide that
correspontlence shall be with a school group only. Each member of
the class wishes to continue to get news from Dr. Bakule's children
during the coming year. The class problem in this connection, as has
already been stated, is, "How can we manage this since, in the fall,
our class will be scattered in many schools?" They expect to find a
way. This indicates their desire to continue the enterprise started at
the summer session.

There can be little doubt other "carrying on" as well will result.
Improvement in the quality of their letters is bound to result from
their zeal to write as well and as interestingly as did the Czecho-Slovak


It seems to the writer that no more impelling group project than
the one wdiich is the subject of this paper could be desired in a school.
The outcomes from the standpoint of educational criteria and social
usefulness are bound to be highly satisfactory. The situation which
made this project possible happens to be unique, it is true, but the
ingenious teacher can find other and various means for engaging the
interest of the children in enterprises which will furnish real life expe-
riences as fraught with excellent results as was this composition

The Project Method of Teaching

What the Project is :

A. Organization of school life in accordance with life in the
home and community — a "project" is a single complete unit
of purposeful experience.

B. Not to be exactly identified with motivation, interest, self-
activity, socialization, correlation, recapitulation, develop-
mental method, incidental teaching, self-government, natural-
ism, though indebted more or less to all these concepts.

C. A principle of education, not a rule of procedure, a forma!
"general" method, panacea or new discovery.

D. Makes no claim to embrace the whole of learning nor every
type of useful experience.

Why the name?

A. "Method of experience" is too broad and too vague.

B. "Problem" suggests a purely intellectual process.

C. "Project" emphasizes both thinking and doing.


III. The need and value of the Project Method:

A. School studies tend to become exceedingly forniai— rheit
social origins and uses are too often lost sight of.

B. Hence they fail to provide children with real and fruitful
experiences leading to actual control of social values.

C. A true project provides a complete "life unit"; the elements
are as follows: situation, problem, purpose (end in view),
plan, criticism of i)lan. execution, organization and judgment
of results, appreciation (of values).

D. It enables the learner to obtain for the control of experience
major parts of the social inheritance (solutions of life prob-
lems) which the school is supposed to hand on.

E. It utilizes the principles of modern educational psychology
and gives due emphasis to attitudes (interests and ideals)
both as conditioning the acquisition of skills and knowledges
and as sharing with them the place of honor among the re-
sults aimed at.

F. It is economical in that it provides for a wealth of related
and concomitant ideas centering about the core of experi-
ence which constitutes a given "lesson."

G. It adds to the units of organization now available for class
work or individual study, namely, the question, the topic, the
chapter, the lesson, etc., a new type of unit with large possi-

IV. The Project Method in relation to present school practice:

A. Serious difficulties lie in the way of an attempt to introduce
in a thorough-going way the Project Method into our schools
as now organized and conducted.

1. A different tradition prevails.

2. More knowledge of learning processes, more technical
skill, and more scholarship are required than for the use

\^ of "logical" or "formal" method — the teacher must play
various roles.

V^ It is difificult to organize a system of projects so as to
provide for the entire body of attitudes, skills, and knowl-
edges which we wish children to gain in school.

4. Time is easily wasted by over-emphasis on some phase of
the process — even on "teaching children to think."

5. The course of study must be largely reorganized and re-

6. School equipment must be adapted.

7. New measures of results must be applied.

Chickens — and Some Other Things

Beth P. Barton, Everett Sehool, Lincoln, Neh.

The following project was carried on in the fourth grade of the
Everett School, Lincoln, Neb. With the exception of one or two im-
provements this is a true report of the project.


Project — To try to find out how to raise poultry in town where
space is Hmited and yet make it profitable.

Our discussion in j^eoj^raphy one day last spring brought us to
consider the dififercnt industries that were being followed by people
of our own city and its sul)ur])s. I'oultry raising was mentioned. One
little boy in the class had just been given <wo little chicks and he was
anxious to tell the class about them. He said that he was going to
buy a few more and start a little ])()ultry farm in his own back yard.

The next morning he brought his two little chicks to school. The
other children in the class were very enthusiastic about his plan to buy
more chicks and raise them. The children asked him such questions
as: "Where will you buy the other chicks?" "What will you have to
pay for them ?" Several of the boys and girls expressed the wish that
they could buy some, too.

I asked a few of the children why they wanted to raise chickens.
Some said. "To earn money." Others said, "To eat," and one little
girl said, "Because I think they are cute and would make nice pets."
Then I asked them if it would pay to raise chickens in town? From
the discussion that followed I found that most of them knew very little
about poultry raising. Finally one little boy said, "I think we had
better find out something about poultry raising before we buy our
chicks." The rest of the class thought that was a good idea and it was
decided to study poultry raising and find out if it would pay us to keep
a few chicks in our own back yards.

Our next step was to organize some plan for this study. I asked
the class to suggest ways of finding out the things we would need to
know. The following suggestions were given : "Send for poultry
magazines," "Visit the poultry farm at the State Farm," "Read library
books on poultry."

Two or three of the children who had chickens at home decided
to keep a record of the cost of chicken feed for one month and a rec-
ord of the number of eggs produced in one month. At the end of the
month they were to make a report for the class. The members of the
class divided into groups. One group got library books on poultry
raising. Some of these books were read during the reading period,
others were read by individuals, who gave a report during the geog-
raphy period. Another group collected pictures and illustrative maga-
zines showing equipment for poultry raising. From this collection they
selected what in their judgment seemed most helpful, and made a
large poster for use in the room.

I told the class that they could get interesting bulletins by sending
to the Department of Agriculture at Washington, D. C. This they
decided to do, and during the language period each member of the
cla^s wrote a letter to Congressman Reavis, asking for these bulletms.
These letters were read during a following language period, criticized
by the members of the class and the one which the class thought best
was sent.

In answer to this letter we received six very interesting and help-
ful bulletins, giving valuable information on practically every phase of
poultry raising. As these bulletins were read in class or reported upon
by individuals, the class as a whole formulated a summary of the infor-
mation which they considered most valuable to them.

One little girl suggested making booklets in which they could keep
this summary. The rest of the class agreed to this, so the booklets
were made and decorated during the art periods. Each individual
designed his own book cover. The writing in these booklets was done
during the penmanship lesson. Everyone took a i)ride in this booklet
because he realized that it was something of real worth to him.

This project carried over into the arithmetic work also. When
the three children, brought in their reports on the cost of feed for
their chickens in one month and the number of eggs produced in one
month, then the class worked out the profit or loss as the case might
be. They also worked out problems showing what they had gained by
not having to buy this supply of eggs at the store.

One little girl had suggested that we visit the poultry department
at the State Farm. One afternoon was takeiii for this trip. Here the
children saw the model types of poultry buildings, self-feeders and
so on. After this visit the children wanted to build a poultry farm on
a table in the room. Plans were made for this. Each member of the
class chose what part he wanted to make. They decided to use card-
board for the buildings.

This building of the farm also led into the arithmetic. They
learned how to find the perimeter in finding how much fence they
needed to make. They also had many occasions to use measurements.

When our project was nearing completion, the class summed up
orally what they had learned about poultry raising and reached the
conclusion that it would pay them to have a back yard poultry farm.

The working out of this project developed in the children the
qualities of responsibility, judgment, initiative, better power to organ-
ize material. It also developed the library habit and gave them better
ideas of thrift. Some of the children were planning to join the poultry
club, which is managed in much the same way as the school garden


Hawaii in the Fourth Grade

Louise N. Borchers, State Normal School, Bridgewater, Mass.

A lesson in music appreciation had been given on classical pieces
such as "Humoresque," "The Narcissis" and the like. One day two
Hawaiian pieces had been chosen for discussion and study. They
then were played. The children noted the peculiarity in rhymth and
tones, also the many repetitions of the same theme. The student
teacher in charge had brought a ukelele, that being one of the instru-
ments used in both pieces. She played and sang a familiar Hawaiian
tune. The children became very. much interested. They marveled at
the simplicity of the instrument. They wanted to know how to play
it and all about its mechanism. One boy said he had one and would
learn how to play it. Noticing a peculiarity in this instrument and a
peculiarity in the music, as compared with previous pieces, the children
began to feel there must be a difference in the life of these people, as
compared to other people already studied. "I should like to know
more about these people," said one boy. "I should like to know if they

only had this oiu' kind of inslniiiRul to play on or whether they have
as many difTerent kinds as we Americans have?" The class needed no
further iirjjjini;. The project was launched.

Roth desk ^eo^jraphies canic to the tops of their desks. Each of
the tine reference l)ooks on music ("r.ooks on Music and Musicians")
were taken from tlu' library shelf in the corner of the room. When
the question, "What are you ^.^oing to look for?" was asked by the
teacher, most of the children wished to continue on the thought of
music; they wanted to fmd out what the Ilawaiians did during their
spare moments, their vacations, and what kind of anuisements they

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Online LibraryJames Fleming HosicSample projects, second series .. → online text (page 1 of 4)