Eureka! | Inquiry Unlimited | USA historical timelines

Planning and Administering

a Travel Buddy Project

Criteria for accepting and rejecting participants

Your messages have been posted and you await the response from prospective participants. This is one of those times when you are not quite sure if anyone will bite or if you will become overwhelmed and have to decide from too many responders. Therefore, you need a criteria for selection of participants.

With my Looney project, I originally hoped for alternating weeks from January to June - - perhaps 12 schools. As the messages of interest came pouring in, I made the decision to increase from one Looney to two Looneys to accommodate 24 schools.

For my "Looney Lobster on the Loose" project, I wanted to stress geographic location, weather, regional history and places of interest, as well as the daily life and local culture of classroom hosts. I was looking for a range of states and preferred 4/5th graders who might be studying similar topics and have similar daily interests of my 9-10 year olds.

But, what if an individual not in your original criteria writes such an interesting or intriguing response that she/he "sells" herself/himself to you as a person/site who has much to offer? That happened with Mrs. Burns in Fremont, California who had a first grade class . . . not a 4/5th grade class. She was offering and asking for time on the schedule for the Chinese New Year and their Hundredth Day of School . . . both of interest to me for the project. There was no doubt in my mind. She was in! I would accommodate the travel schedule to get a Looney to her on February 21st.

What if there was interest from more than one person in a state? I was looking for active interest from participants as well as intriguing experiences from which all participants would benefit. When I received a message from Barbara H requesting a spring month because her class was to tour Savannah's historic district . . . . she was in! When a teacher with a Stone Mountain, Georgia class spoke of Atlanta and the area, she was in! So there were two schools chosen from Georgia for historical site reasons as well as being 4/5th grade oriented.

Which states to choose and which teachers was up to my subjective decision-making. If a message sounded bubbly, energetic, and eager, suggesting how that site might be an asset to the project, it was high on my list. Examples of people mentioning the fun Looney would have during Mardi Gras, or being in Pennsylvania Dutch country, or being introduced to the mayor in Cajun country, or being with hearing impaired students to learn signing, or going to visit Graceland, or touring Acadia National Park, or seeking out Looney's age to see if he/she was able to gamble in Las Vegas, or being warm and cuddly while visiting a local lobster or crawfish or shrimp boat, or flying in Pensacola - - showed me that people had already placed themselves into the spirit of the project. Cathy B. in Lexington, KY planned a field trip to downtown with her students for language enhancement. They guided Looney with their signing.

NOTE: In the future, I would add another criteria for selection of my participants. Many technology people in their respective buildings are charged with looking for projects for teachers in their buildings to do to get their teachers involved with telecommunications. I had an instance with one such individual who ended up doing the project instead of the original teacher in her building. Apparently the classroom teacher never really wanted to do it, but felt pressured to do it and in the end dropped the ball which left the computer person to complete the project requirements. I sensed this was happening during the project. After the project for that site was finished, I received a message of profuse apology from the computer teacher who spelled out the situation and how she learned from that experience. I then realized that I would deal directly with individuals in the future rather than with "a middleperson."

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Last modified: September 15, 2005
Copyright 1998 - Marjorie Duby. All rights reserved.