Sunday, March 31, 2013

Commitment

Even though it's Easter morning, I must commit to my blogging.  I assume, as a writer (and basically everything else), if one doesn't commit time come hell or high water, there is every reason in the book NOT to write.

So, here I am. Thinking. Relaxing. Writing.

Mostly, I'm remembering the week before spring break with fond memories.  Opportunities for my students to share with real audiences came up and my students stepped up.  Last week was further affirmation that the direction in which I'm heading as a teacher is the right direction for me.

It all starts with authentic, real audiences.  Here's how we reached them.

  • My Advanced Composition class has been working on descriptive essays and, last Thursday, we invited parents in to be our audience.  Of course, they stepped up.  We had twenty parents show up (some of them bringing coffee cakes and juice) for the twenty-eight students. (A quick thank you to The Village Baker for providing coffee.) My students were amazing.  They read their unique essays, they challenged the adults to take them more seriously, and they felt pride when it was all said and done.
  • My Survey of American Literature class finished up its early American history project.  They were asked to use primary sources to help them re-create early history for younger students within our district.  When this project started, the students didn't quite know how to approach this. What is our target audience's prior knowledge? How do I create something they actually care about?  How do I make my project different and engaging?  Those thought processes, alone, show greater knowledge than I have ever asked of them before.
Here's a link to just one of the projects:  Early America Pop-Up Book
  • Finally, my Drama class performed self-written plays from children's books and performed them for the local elementary schools.  It's a great mix.  Elementary teachers get to see their former students now performing for their current students.  Plus, my students (many of whom take the class for its ease) realize they will actually be performing.  They need to write, cast, memorize, perform.  It's a phenomenal process of learning.

So, that's it.  I reflect on my week before spring break and am energized by the work.  I'm proud of my students and I'm proud of myself for the year this has become.

More next week!
David--educational transformer