Saturday, June 20, 2009

Reflections on the 2008 - 2009 School Year

[item originally posted on my personal blog on 6/20/09]

I asked my World History classes to reflect on their school year.  Here is what they answered to the first question:

Mr. Duez's World History Pre-AP Class - End of the Year Reflection
What were the best activities or assignments of the year? Why?  (Things you enjoyed doing)                          
[examples:  projects - rock art, religion pstrs, castles, human rights posters, video project, career project; or cnn student news, philosophical chairs, socratic seminar, trench warfare.]

Video Project = 40
Castle Project = 33
Philosophical Chairs = 15
Rock Art Project = 13
CNN Student News = 12
Trench Warfare = 12
Human Rights Poster = 8

It's very interesting looking at these numbers.  Obviously our Video Project ( see the Video Project Blog here ) had a huge impact.  It is great to see that the kids enjoyed it.

The Castle Project was a pretty close second.  This can be a massive project.  But, the students put a lot of creativity into it.  Many students commented negatively about this project as well (I'll run those numbers later).  And I may continue to tweak it to make it better and a situation where students might be able to learn more.

I only used Philosophical Chairs during the fall semester and Socratic Seminar during the spring.  I am going to change that up next year and mix them up more.  And I am going to use both more.  I think the numbers would have been higher if we would have done them more often.  It is just hard to turn things over to the class sometimes as a teacher.  The benefit is that they learn from each other in their own language and it is a powerful way to get ideas across.  I just have to plan and work harder to get these activities into the class better.

Trench Warfare was fun (as it always is).  We take two sheets of notebook paper, make balls out of them, divide the class into two teams - East and West (Germans and French) and have them fight it out in trenches.  The trenches are created by using the rows in the classroom.  It is fun and it does give the students a bit of a feeling of what it must have been like to hide, attack and maneuver through the trenches.

Here is the form I used for the survey (adapted from one that MissTeacha inspired me to use):
Year End Reflection-WH  

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