Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Summing up the Year, Part 2

Last year, when I asked students to evaluate my class at the end of the year, I received a lot of good and some bad comments, but the one that stuck with me was "You talk too much." I found it interesting because, that year, I had made a real effort to talk less. However, it got me thinking, and I ran across an intriguing book called "Never Work Harder than Your Students" by Robyn Jackson. I also had started working with a class wiki.

So, I tried a system where I would give out questions, and the students would research the answers on their own for the factual portion of our history units. It worked out very well. Now, instead of bored faces listening when I lectured, my students did their own research, and posted the results on the class wiki. Each student answered a question, and added his or her own name and the page numbers in the relevant textbook. The wiki page became the study guide for the test. And I talked a lot less, and students got more practice in using the index and looking up information for themselves. That's probably the thing I'm most proud of this year.

And what about this year's evaluations? Largely positive, but the thing that stuck in my mind was "Can we act out more scenes from history." Now I have some ideas for next year....

Image: Pearson's Falls, near Tryon NC, Photo by Maureen Esty, my daughter

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