My thinking has changed since I started teaching using the workshop model.
I think my students’ thinking has changed, too.
I think that’s the point.
For the first seventeen years of my teaching, I was concerned about whether the students turned the assignments in on time, read the short stories and novels that were on the syllabus, and if they were generally compliant.
I assigned packets with study questions when we read The Great Gatsby together. (Big packets! Short answer questions with one right answer! Find it in the text!)
I asked my students to write letters that Huck and Jim might have exchanged after leaving the Phelps’ farm. (Bonus points for burning the edges of the paper or dipping the letters in tea to make them look old!)
I had students create their own real life versions of scarlet letters. (The ones that were made out of rice crispy treats and red M&Ms got an A for Awesome!)
Here are a few gems from past years.
For the first seventeen years of my teaching, I mostly asked all of my students to do the same thing at the same time.
For the first seventeen years of my teaching, my students mostly gave me the same answers at the same time.
At least, that was my hope (gah!) – I wanted them to get it! To come up with the same connections that I had! So they would “understand the canon!”
Maybe I’m too hard on myself. I know teaching and learning happened in my classroom before workshop, but I can’t help but think that things could have been better.
Things are different now. I don’t want the same answers from anyone any longer (or any more arts and crafts).
I’m not looking for answers, necessarily, either.
I realize now that I am looking for evidence of thinking.
I noticed this the other day in class. My students were learning about aphorisms (mentioned in an earlier post), and one of them asked if they could talk to each other to make sure they had the right answers.
I. Stopped. Everything. Continue reading “Don’t share your answers – share your thinking!”