Thursday, July 26, 2012
An Online, Ongoing, Collaborative "Goal Journal"
An Online, Ongoing, Collaborative "Goal Journal":
Alan November has charged schools with coming up with a "1st five days" plan, a discussion thread you can follow on Twitter (#1st5days). Mr. November's deceptively simple and fun task has gotten me thinking about how an entire school might collaborate on a First Five Days project, so that the students see each teacher in the school is thinking about them as individuals, is challenging them to be aware of their learning goals and, from day one of the school year, is developing their critical thinking skills and nurturing their creativity. The end products of the project foster peer-based learning and enable the school to have concrete markers of progress.
My First Five Days Project:
In each class, teachers ask students to articulate their individual goals for the course during the year and to come up with five terms that encapsulate those goals. Each student then has to choose a medium through which he/she presents those goals: a narrative, a visual, a movie, a song, an interview, or a pie or other scientific chart, etc. Students post their pieces on an online collaborative platform, such as a wiki, moodle or blog.
The teacher and students group the goals into categories, highlighting the presentations that represent each goal. The class discusses the goals the students have all expressed a desire to achieve.
The teacher shares five terms that represent the goals he/she has for the course and a presentation -- Prezi, video, visual, etc. -- that encapsulates those goals. The students and teacher discuss the goals and then compare them with the ones the students have articulated.
The teacher shows the students the course syllabus and divides the class into groups or pairs, with each group or pair in charge of a goal the students and teacher have articulated. The students connect the goals with the material being covered in class.
Ongoing Project and End Result:
During the course of the year, the teacher and students can return to the online "goal journal" and chart their progress as a class and as individuals, seeing where the class and where each student is exceeding, meeting or falling below expectations. The students as part of a class or the school's teachers can monitor each class' progress; individual reports can be posted, depending on each student's comfort level with posting. At the very least, a student can post a periodic update as a blog post or complete a more challenging assignment in an area in which he/she excels. Over the course of the school year, every student should have a subject in which he/she has produced at least one meaningful artifact from which his/her peers can benefit.
At the end of the year, the school will have a "Goal Journal," presented in various artistic and scientific modes, to depict how each student, class and grade achieved their goals.