So maybe the way we learned, the traditional method, might not work as effectively as partnering can. Even though I realize this it is not an easy transition.
While reading this book I have struggled to implement this idea into my classroom. I would not define myself as a "traditional teacher" but I do have those moments. There is a particular unit that I am not thrilled with...I try something new almost every year with this section. This year I have decided it will be our chance to partner.
Each class is creating a documentary about a different Texas industry. Instead of me unloading a list of facts for each class the students were given a big overarching question and supporting questions. For the past week I have had the painful joy of coaching them through the research process. The students, our digital natives, struggled with research. They are expert searchers but are lost in research. I am not sure why, but I thought this vetting process would come natural. For about two or three in each class it did. However, the vast majority didn't get why they couldn't write type the question into google and write the first thing that popped up. This last week of coaching them through the process of researching was exhausting. It makes me wonder if the process is worth what they are getting out of it.
I have a difficult time seeing them as reliable partners at this point. They are drunk on freedom and movie making and we both struggle because they are letting their silliness get the best of them. I hope that this calms as we continue to discuss expectations and responsibilities.
This week the students are in the process of creating our documentary story arc. I have broken them into table groups. The groups have to produce a story arc based on past documentaries, and the techniques we have seen. They will present these to the class and we will vote and discuss what elements from every arc we want to use to create our class arc. I notice I tend to lose them during the long discussions this type of project takes. I am thinking a sticky note chat might work better, get them up and moving around.
After we agree on an arc the students will be given the chance to work in passion based groups that they pick. It is the passion based groups that will put the actual video together. For the next two weeks students will create goals calendars and will be graded daily based on their progress. This part makes me nervous. I know some students are amazing planners but then I have those special babies that struggle to plan far enough ahead to bring something to write with. I am truly hoping that since they will be working with something they feel strongly about that there will be a natural motivation. I will keep you guys posted.