Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I'm noticing...

I'm starting to notice something that is a disappointment and let's be frank, an annoyance.  The students that have not utilized their time wisely this quarter are definitely starting to feel the crunch.  The quarter ends next week and there are some students that are shocked with how much work they have left to do.  As I mentioned in previous posts, I have implemented a points system in my classroom.  By the end of the quarter a student should have earned 15 category points.  The more complex projects are worth up to 3 points, and range down from there.  Those students that are lacking in the amount of points they should have at this point are scrambling to find "quick and easy" projects to do.  However, a "quick and easy" project isn't going to be worth 3 category points as that value is reserved for projects that take a fair amount of time and work.  Enter the annoying trend now, students are thinking up this "quick and easy" project and coming to me asking "How much is this going to be worth?"  Sigh.  I find this annoying AND disappointing because now they really have no vested interest in the project, but instead see it as a means to an end which definitely causes the quality to suffer and I'm seeing an influx of projects that lack a strong concept.
     Which leads me to my next point.  I am in serious need of changing some of the fundamental ways this classroom is designed and running currently.  The first 2/3 of the quarter was great, all were engaged and working (yes, some at much slower paces than others), but now those that have "finished" their 15 category points early are searching for things to do and those that are in danger of not finishing in time are having a less than optimal experience, in my opinion. 
      I'm thinking I need to get rid of the points system and instead set out 2 or 3 projects for each station and have them choose from this limited menu.  That ensures a worthwhile and properly educational experience while still allowing each student the choice of something that appeals to them more.  So I will be implementing an even more modified version of true choice based.  Unfortunately I'm realizing, (too late maybe?) that the majority of students have not received enough opportunity in their educational experience to MAKE CHOICES ON THEIR OWN and learn the consequences of these choices therefore, they are certainly struggling with this new model presented to them.  It's actually quite sad...

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