Making Projects Meaningful

Student work so often dies on the teacher’s desk.  A project that took dozens of hours, and led to the creation of a beautiful artefact is handed in, given a mark, and discarded.  Every year hundreds of student hours, per teacher, create meaningful projects only to see them recycled or thrown out, never given a chance at life beyond the classroom walls.

Removing Work from the Classroom

Empowering students to consider the impact of their projects outside of the classroom adds a layer that taps into an intrinsic desire to strive for success.  By letting students know that their work has option of being seen by people outside of their peer group, their school, or even their city, province, or country, they put their best foot forward in a way that will help them succeed both inside and outside of the classroom.

And the best part for teachers, it’s hardly any extra work at all to take a project from the classroom and look towards placing it out into the world.

Placing an Object in the World


The first thing teachers and students need to do is consider how they might want to submit their piece into the world.  There are a number of different techniques, some more appropriate than others based on the nature of the assignment.  Some suggestions include:

  • Mailing (e-mail or snail mail) someone in a related position
  • Submitting something to a magazine or periodical
  • Submitting something to a publisher
  • Distributing the work through a guerilla art campaign
  • Adding something to an online store
  • Self-publication and distribution
  • Consignment through a local establishment
  • Requesting a gallery display something
  • Sending work to a local radio or television station
  • Submission to a well-known festival

While this is by no means a complete list, it should be more than enough to start students considering different ways that their creation can burst free from the confinement of classroom walls.

Whether all students are instructed to use the same method of placing their object in the world, or allowed choice through differentiated project based learning, there will be a marked increase in student effort as they are now responsible for how they present themselves to the larger world.

Next Steps

In the next part we’ll focus on the ten different ways suggested to place student work into the world.  Some basic information, links to specific resources, and appropriate projects suited for each type will be detailed.  The next article will focus on how students can SUBMIT WRITTEN WORK for publication.

First Steps

Type of Publication Projects

Creation and Publication Project

Creator Spotlights

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