I've really tried to take those factors into account, and let kids get away with a little more chatting and playing than usual. However, I must say that for most of these days, most of the children (and sometimes all!) have been directly engaged and working well during class time. That can't last forever, especially under these circumstances of June, but fortunately it doesn't have to because tomorrow is the last workshop day!
Oh, and still nobody has asked me about grading. I don't think they would be working any harder than they are if there WERE a specific grading rubric to follow. I cannot prove that, except to say that students' overall focus seems at least as high as it was for a couple of similar items earlier in the year (which did have formal grading criteria).
- 10 videos, although I think only 3 or 4 would be usable for future classes
- 10 board games, with probably 4 or 5 keepers
- 8 song parodies, including a set of "We Didn't Start the Fire" verses that Billy Joel would enjoy
- 7 simulations, which I haven't viewed closely enough to judge
- a few student-created options: a short graphic novel of westward pioneers, a couple of bizarre crossword puzzles, and a freestyle rap which kept one girl engaged in a way I've never seen her all year long
Mistakes I have made:
- Instead of listing just some bullet point descriptions for each project option, I should have given them the first steps to follow (example for board games: 1st make the rules, 2nd draft the board, 3rd write the questions) ... that would have helped them get started more effectively
- I did not enforce the yellow sheets [see prior blog post] as strongly as I should have. The questions were good, especially the one about why they want to do this .... those students who were tepid in the beginning were the first to fall apart this week. My instincts were right, but I didn't stick to them.
- Then I made these organization sheets to start the 2nd week, but I also did not push them as strongly as needed. Another instance of me getting a bit lazy, which allowed my students to slip a bit as well.
Still, it's been refreshing to see that The Power of The Grade has not been a factor here. No regrets about that! In fact, that has taken the pressure off for me, as I don't feel the need to push and shove students to the finish line.
I will write one more post about this assignment next week, after the final showcase.