Monday, November 1, 2010

One Step

As I read this post yesterday at the "What Ed Said" blog, and then thought about my own classes today, I realized that I was following in that same path. I do talk a great deal about allowing my students control of their own learning, but how often do I really do it? Yes, I use a layered curriculum format with some of my students, but the choices that they get to make as part of that layered curriculum are the choices that I have made for them. This certainly gives me something to think about as I plan my next unit for them.

The conversation that I had with one of my honors classes today about the projects that I assigned to them went in a somewhat different direction than I had expected. I understood when I assigned it to them that some of them might want to go in their own direction with the project (the assignment is to create a TV news report about one of the points of early westward expansion in the United States), but when they asked if they could create a video rather than a digital documentary, I was initially taken aback. I wasn't sure that I wanted them to do it this way. I am trying to build them up to creating their own digital documentaries, and I, initially, wondered if allowing them to go in their own direction would hurt that process. But, as they kept asking, I decided to relent and let them create their own documentaries, and the expressions on their faces was worth everything. They became genuinely excited about the prospect of creating their own documentaries. I am not sure what this is going to mean for the finished product, as some of them have already asked about "comedic" elements, but we'll see in a couple of weeks. They will still be creating an end-of-the-year documentary, but depending on how this goes, maybe they can have some more freedom in doing it.

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