Sunday, September 02, 2007

Week one done

Well, my first week of my seventh year has come and gone, and all is quiet on the western front. My classes have worked out very nicely so far, and my one classroom management concern has actually become empowered with the class and has made very excellent contributions to discussions. I'm concerned about the International Studies class, but I think that I might be putting too much pressure on myself to make this some God-like experience for the students. My AP level class is currently learning college prep economics, and I already get a sense that college prep work is beneath them, or so they think. It will be interesting how they address economic problems that have simple answers, because this is a group that wants to throw every variable known to man into every equation.

I was pretty happy with my choice to make a last minute change on the first serious assignment that I do. I used to take the Preamble of the Constitution, split up the sections, and have students create artistic renditions of what those sections of the Preamble meant to them in groups. Why the art? Honestly, because the ELL crowd was really humping the "diverse instruction" part of education so much that I thought that it was really doing some good. What I found was that students where not totally engaged. Sure, a group would draw, but the discussion was minimal and students would either do their own thing on paper or do nothing. Instead I took the same sections of the Preamble and told the students to cite successes and failures of the United States in meeting the roles stated in the Preamble. Students were engaged and throwing ideas down on paper, which would often lead to side discussions about government. The change was good and effective.
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