Granting students the freedom to create can be both liberating and paralyzing for them. To fight this effect, it is often useful to provide students with a planning tool to help them think through all phases of the project.
Use this graphic organizer as a project organizer and proposal -- something for students to complete in advance of starting their project. This organizer requires students to plan all the thinking, habits of mind, and content standards they will be demonstrating over the project's duration. The form also incorporates the RAFT strategy, demanding that students think creatively about their project, and includes a 3-week project calendar for students to map out their benchmarks and goals.
This document really helps give the teacher a full sense of a student's vision. It also allows teachers to track how the project evolves over time and requires student to reflect on their efforts in some way. There's always more to a project than meets the eye -- gaining insight into ALL of the learning that took place in the creation of project can help teachers fully evaluate students' learning.