"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Saturday, June 13, 2009

This is my favorite weekend of the school year

originally posted at Daily Kos

Yesterday my students had to turn in their final "fun" projects. This is the weekend where I go through them all, where they blow me away with their insight and their skill. They have only a very few requirements to the project.

They are not allowed to write an essay or do a research paper.

They must put in a minimum amount of time (most far exceed it).

They have to show me they learned something.

I tell them to have fun.

One of the first projects handed in, early, was a standing cardboard figure with my life-sized face upon it, the body, front and back, covered with a collage of things relating to what we have studied and/or talked about.

Yesterday evening, my wife was in stitches as she read "Bernstein v. Terrorists (2009), an imaginative construction by several of my students in which certain (Canadian) terrorists threaten the US because they had once lost a trivia bet to me. Let me simply say that the students found clever ways of covering material while at the same time also finding ways of skewering their teacher. As my wife put, they really got me right. Let me say that this one, but not the only, project to demonstrate that one never knows what students will recall from a class . . . and I wish I could share the whole thing with you, but it is not in the public domain.

One project is. The students involved put it up on YouTube. Two students worked together. They each have multiple gifts, and both always have a positive attitude towards their learning, even when on occasion the work has not come easily. They researched and found what they wanted to use. One is quite skillful with video, as she has shown on occasions outside my class.

Since I will be offline much of today - 3 hours each way to the Virginia campaign kickoff in Williamsburg - let this serve as my diary for the day. There is not much need for commentary on my part. This is one of several outstanding projects I have received this. Please watch and see how blessed I am to have the chance to work with such students.


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