As winter break looms before us, the students enter class smiling, chatting, excited; but also stressed, overwhelmed and frantic. The class has completed their writing final, and now they await the summative final which is still a week away. What can I do to make this last week meaningful and engaging for the students without increasing their tumultuous feelings about impending finals?
As a precursor to planning my final week of instruction, yesterday I interacted with two online texts that helped guide me with instruction. The first, I listened to while walking my dog Onyx, A Cult of Pedagogy podcast by Jennifer Gonzalez titled “What to do on Lame-duck School Days.” She offers many suggestions that might work at some point in my teaching, but each was too far a departure from where I’ve been with the students this year. The second text was a post on Twitter from Teachthought:
Resist the urge to do a Christmas Break countdown with kids. It devalues each day until then. We’ve got some important learning to do! #teachergoals
— #teachergoals (@teachergoals) December 3, 2017
Both of these online interactions put me in a position this morning of wanting to create a continued, inspiring experience for the students that will simultaneously utilize skills they will need for the summative final (creative and critical thinking). Here’s what I came up with:
What can we learn about Native American history through artistic expression? What can we learn about ourselves?
I’ve embedded the interactive slide show that the students will use as a guide through multiple activities that require creative and critical thinking combined with self examinations. Unfortunately, you cannot see the directions because they are in the speaker notes. You can make a copy of the Slides here. I should also note that it was my TA who shared the beautifully made program Injunuity with me via a text on Saturday!