"Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan."- Norman Vincent Peale


Activity Design: PSI Student Planning
from AHSD25 PSI Cohort
Designer(s): Miller & Cioni
Subject / Course / Grade Level: 4
Materials Needed:
Activity Objective(s): Students will be able to use the plan sheet to create a researchable question and peer/teacher feedback to revise their question.
Professional Practice Time: Student Planning Jan - Feb
Targeted Elements of PSI (please check any portions of or complete elements that are explicitly targeted in this activity)
  • Students pose their own question, problem, or challenge of interest
  • Students self-plan, direct, and assess the learning process with the support of staff
  • Students publicly document and reflect on their learning process at multiple intervals of the experience
  • Students reflect on the unintended learning outcomes of their experience
  • Students receive, reflect, and act upon continuous teacher and peer formative feedback
  • Students engage in self-assessment throughout the experience for the purpose of reviewing and revising their learning process
  • Student documentation, reflection and project artifacts are used to assist in self-monitoring progress toward student-generated learning goal(s)
  • Students complete steps of process in different order and at different times, sometimes skipping or repeating steps while learning how to persist and overcome challenges
  • Students work flexibly within the roles of teacher and learner, throughout the process
Notes / Strategies for Differentiation:
  • Teacher conferencing needs to be available to students which can be challenging from a time perspective.
  • The majority of students need a lot of assistance in coming up with questions, this is not an independent skill yet.
Summary of Activity: please provide enough detail to allow another teacher to try this activity in their own learning community
  • Provide students with the Genius Time Plan Sheet and time.
  • Model the "A Lot, Some, Little" activity to teach them the importance of choosing a topic selecting a topic that they know a lot about, but finding the aspects of the topic that are still unknown.
  • Once topics are selected, brainstorm lower-level thinking questions based on what they know a little about. These questions should lead them to higher-level, researchable questions.
  • Students write a draft research question, and when they think they have a good question, they will meet with a "critical friend" for feedback. Critical friends will read their question to see if their draft question meets the criteria for a researchable question. If not, they will revise and repeat the critical friend process.

Pieces to consider:
  • With what assignments/lessons/units was this activity used?
    • Genius time

  • At what point(s) were students provided time to brainstorm and/or plan their main steps? How did this impact their process?
    • We've been doing brainstorming activities since the beginning of the year, which we refer to regularly. In this activity, students began brainstorming immediately. Th

  • What role did presearch play in the development of student plans?
    • The A lot, Some, Little activity and lower-level thinking questions were both forms of research.


  • What medium did students use to document or record their process?
    • Paper/pencil

  • At what point(s) in the process did students reflect on and or revise their plan?
    • Students revised at the end of the activity Students reflected verbally at the end of each component of the lesson.
Student Work Samples:
please share at least two student samples from this activity, with a brief explanation of why you selected each sample
  • Sample One:
  • Sample Two
  • Sample Three:
Tweaks, Modifications and Iterations:
please identify any adjustments you have or will make to this activity, based on teacher/student experience and/or feedback
  • .

"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."
- Benjamin Franklin