Learning from Sharing
For discussion, we read Bill Sheskey's article "Creating Learning Connections with Today's Tech-Savvy Student", excerpted from Curriculum 21. The article is from 2002, but it still resonated with everyone. Capsule version: Teacher brings digital camera to class to document students working on their projects, and on a whim starts a slideshow during the last ten minutes of class. The students abruptly come alive, commenting, critiquing, even asking for extra time to polish their work now that it is being documented. Light bulb comes on for teacher.
For me, I am most captivated by the impression that the students now want to take their work to a higher level. Instead of being graded one-on-one with their teacher, students recognize that everyone sees their work, and there will be recognition, positive or negative. This broadens the lesson from learning science, to preparing for adulthood. As adults, we are rarely judged only by an immediate supervisor. Why not start early?
It struck me that students often hold themselves to a higher standard when they are in sport, band, orchestra, choir, theatre, and I think it stems from the inherent public nature of their performance. Why not make the classroom a more public performance?
We also read the NYT article New York Plans to Ban Sale of Big Sizes of Sugary Drinks. The article itself is so controversial that the class couldn't resist debating pros and cons. That's half the message of the exercise: like Bill Sheskey's slideshow, this is the baited hook.
This suggests the NYT article is a great opportunity to collaborate with our fellow teachers, and develop lessons that build literacy across subjects.