Monday, October 19, 2015

Day 47 - Talk about a risk paying off!

Sometimes I wonder if the risks I take in class are worth it.  For example, today I changed an assignment for my US History students to make it a little more challenging and giving them more responsibility. It is an assignment that has been tried and true for my US History team but I decided to change it today.  Usually there is a packet of 10 primary sources around the topic of Immigration (1850-1920) and students in groups cut up the evidence, glue it to a poster, create a thesis and write in reasonings next to each evidence which backs up their thesis of Whether America was the land of opportunity for immigrants during this time.  But  I decided I wanted them to find the evidence in all of the assignments we have been doing in this unit, since it is an assignment which is to prepare them for writing an in class essay.  It should be evidence we have seen before and they should find it and print it out- they should do the work.   Well, let me tell you, it would have been a lot easier to hand them that packet of documents!  But what about the learning?  I will know more on Wednesday and Thursday when they write their essays, but after school today students were still printing out evidence, finishing posters and talking about evidence and their thesis.  Yes it was messier and I had to repeat directions and re direct students to the evidence in their Google Classroom  a few many times; but my observations tell me the learning was more meaningful and lasting, if for no other reason than the amount of communication that was needed for each team to produce a finished product.

I also took a risk with my yearbook students by sending them out into the neighborhood to sell yearbook ads. The school hasn't really sold any of these to businesses int he last years, but I just wanted my students to  have some real world practice and experience.  Honestly, I didn't feel they were prepared enough but I think I might feel that way everyday- so we did not put it off.   They were walking a little taller on the way back - they sold $600 worth of business ads already!  Talk about a risk paying off!

The neighborhood wants to support our school and will when asked.

Taking risks often does mean more work, but its worth it.

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