Today was the first real time when I would teach curriculum. I was looking forward to it. I had an assignment where they would be read selections from the Colonial Era, choose one of them to read in-depth, and then summarize it and reflect on it in a blog. I provided supplemental readings and videos to help along the way. Sounds great, right?
The kids immediately began to try to work together not as a group helping each other learn, but to each do as little work as possible. There was clearly no intrinsic motivation in the classroom.
I realized after the flop that although we must provide autonomy for our students, we must also provide some direction. For tomorrow, I will clarify what the ultimate learning goals are: reading excerpts from primary sources from the era, choosing one, reading its entirety, and then summarizing and blogging about it. For tomorrow’s group activity, I will have groups research various topics (by choosing which one to research). Each group will create a Google Doc, curating and summarizing what the students learn. For good measure, we will throw in some gamification: groups who have lopsided creators (thank you, revision history!) will lose HP, and the group with the best links and summaries of knowledge will get AP. These documents will provide background information for students the following days, when they will have to individually read these primary source excerpts and reflect on it.
This is the plan, but then again, I might just FAIL again.