Share a topic/idea from class this week. What's one thing you will/will not do again? Why?
For the past couple of years, two teachers in my building, Pam McComas (my mentor from my student teaching days) who teaches Pre-AP 9 English and Marty Moreno who teaches drawing and studio art, have continued to build what they have called the "You are There" project. The inspiration behind the project is the old Walter Cronkite show. (If you don't remember it, check out a clip here). Students originally tackled subjects such as the Tulsa Race Riots and the Scopes Monkey Trial, the Holocaust, Genocide, and several other heavy-hitting topics in a collaborative manner. If you are interested in seeing last year's products you can check out what has been uploaded to iTunes.
I have been too busy to participate in the past and I would constantly deny Pam and Marty's requests, but as Pam is retiring this year, I figured I would help out. The premise of the project is simple, this year they are covering the Harlem Renaissance. Students have been show some of the products from past years, and have been asked to create a product incorporating a medium of their choosing to be shown to a large audience. The problem this year, has been students wanting a firm XYZ outline to be told EXACTLY what to do, which brings me to the topic from class this week (when I presented to them).
I do believe that some assignments need to have firm expectations, however in other instances, I am a big fan of student's really choosing their own destiny, so I implored to them the necessity of creating their own educational adventure, that the goal is to show us what they are made of, and if they need help, we can fill in some gaps. But the lack of some creative critical thinking skills in some members of this generation is scary.
To help them, I demo-ed some various technologies, and showed them resources that are given to teachers to learn how to use technology, and told them it is important to arm themselves with whatever they need to do, and the goal is for them to teach ME how to use some of the nifty technologies they find.
I hope lightbulbs shoot on for many of these students, and when I stopped by today they seemed to be racking their brains......this will be one of the things that I will post about in the future to check their progress, and hopefully share their awesome products with everyone!
Here is the first set of resources I shared with the students on both working with primary source documents, and playing with technology.