I like to have as much student choice in my class as possible. As a writing teacher, voice is very important, and I want to give students as much room to show their own personalities, strengths and passions. Students pick their own projects, pick their own topics, pick their own schedule, pick their own reading. On the surface, it sounds like this would be easier than a traditional model where I do all the planning and prep work. After all, the students are the ones that make all the decisions.
True, I didn’t have a “lesson plan” in place. Instead I had an average of 23 kids all asking me different questions at different times. The projects I assigned? I’ve got essay writers, PowerPoint makers, videographers, display designers, book writers and even one fashion designer. She’s demonstrating her learning with a T-shirt.
I have some kids comparing two novels, some comparing two authors, some comparing two or three magazines, some researching one author and some researching a series of books. One girl is telling her life story. I originally said no since they were supposed to focus on reading in some way, but she promised it would be really interesting.
What activity am I supposed to prepare that would meet all these needs? What lecture can I give that would answer all of their questions? None… so instead of planning one lesson, I am giving an average of 23 individual lessons each period. Boy…that’s hard.