Implementing projects can be a challenge - here are some tips my colleagues and I have compiled over the years.
1. Highlight excellence in your room at all times. This goes as number one because if your room is filled with excellent work, students know the expectation they want to aspire too. Introducing a project by being able to point at excellence on the wall makes kids think "I want to be on that wall", and it gets kids excited.
2. Lots of due dates before the due date. Students need feedback - lots of lots of feedback, and giving them this feedback is a critical opportunity to help them develop key craftsmanship and reflection skills. It also ensures that they are staying up on the project - and feel the sense of urgency to get their work done. Especially when working with students with low homework completion rates, its essential develop clear check in times to help keep them on top of their work.
With such a packed curriculum - state tests, field trips, days off, it seems like it's hard to fit everything in. However, projects play an essential role in a rich curriculum, and they make a math class richer. Here are three reasons why
1) Projects deepen, illuminate, and solidify the understanding of key concepts
2) Projects help make math relevant, interesting, and fun
3) Projects provide an opportunity for craftsmanship and excellence to be developed.