Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Making Authentic Assignments

My marks are in, my students feel like they are done. Problem - they keep showing up to class. The year isn't done, and while I am not likely at this point to change a lot of student marks, I feel as though teachers must still hold the possibility of low marks over kids like some sword of damocles . Instead I have said at the beginning of the class that this final assignment is not for marks. At least once a class someone asks me "is this for marks?" I reply that not everything is for marks, but everything in this class is worth learning.

Some students are making animations using new software that I am unfamiliar with. I know just enough to get started with Flip Boom animatior classic, but not enough to really teach it well. So I decided to crowd-source it , and have kids teach me how it works and how it doesn't.

One of my students is teaching class. She is 13 and has done a lot of research on her own about advertising. She taught my class a lesson about what ads are, what goes into an ad, the layout of an ad, a rubric on how to judge if you have made a successful ad, and then prepared some examples. She walks around the class, helping others, and I come in when needed. Otherwise I sit at my desk, and keep out of the way on this one.

I am contemplating taking this a step further. I wonder if some of these kids sent their ads in to the brands they have chosen as spec ads, would any of them respond? Would they encourage my students? Would any of them pay my students for their project? What kinds of copyright would I have to sort out to make that happen? I guess I will have to keep thinking about this.

What I can say is with the year winding down, my students for the most part are still learning even though the kids are nuts for the summer weather. And that is not too bad, I say.

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