From competition to collaboration

They start out my morning. Twenty two bright faces. They posted the required question to the required google form, or emailed me their problems, late last night. A handful show up to ask for a pass to watch last  night’s video assignment. Let it be said–they care about their grades.

But do they care about learning? The other day, I asked them to either read their silent reading book, a choice memoir, or to laminate their Writer’s Notebook. A scant handful was diligently reading a book, but the rest were talking. I broke out Class Dojo, which is a classroom management app I had introduced a few days before, and started noting which students were on task. All of a sudden, books were pulled out and more students began to read. If points were involved, suddenly they cared about doing what I asked.

On my favorite twitter chat, #flipclass, (Monday EST), we had a discussion about #pointsprostitution. It was mentioned that driven students seem to care more about “how many points is this worth?” rather than “what can I learn by doing this assignment?”

I want my college prep students to have student choice and be driven by learning, rather than points, but I am fighting nine years of training. Nine school years where they performed to get the A, not to learn the material.

One ray of hope–after reading Flipping 2.0, an amazing book that I recommend to anyone trying to flip their class, I went from a teacher driven video that showed literary devices in the beginning of their summer reading memoir All But My Life by Gerda Kline, to student created videos. Each group is creating a video that demonstrates one literary device. Once they’ve created their videos, I will post some links in this blog. They’ll be using Touchcast, a wonderful free app that I have used to create my flip class videos. (If you’re curious, you can check out my latest video via this link: http://www.touchcast.com/kr_ela)

Onward, in the quest for student centered collaboration!

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