Sunday, September 22, 2013

Giving In?

This weekend, I've been struggling with how to proceed with the last week of our first BYOD unit. Not only do I want my students to succeed, I want them to feel that they are succeeding, and not just slogging through an endless list of tasks. 

With many of them stuck on the 4th of ten Learning Goals (and only then because of the nature of the investigative task asked of them - see previous blog post - and not because of the difficulty of that particular Learning Goal), is it worth my while pushing them through the last six Learning Goals in time for the unit test this Friday, as was expected of them at the outset of the unit?

Part of me says: YES. As students getting ready for college and university, they NEED to learn how to manage their time. 

If they haven't been able to budget their time wisely, should there not be consequences? If not, how will they learn to respect deadlines, or learn how to force themselves to focus on a task in order to get ahead of the game, or keep up with the competition, or even just get their bills paid on time? They have had this deadline since the beginning of the unit (13 days ago); I can't be soft on my expectations. Give them an inch and they'll start demanding miles.

But another part of me says: NO. 

This is the learning pattern I've been staring at for the past few years - students wading through the course material, trying frantically to just get caught up or stay on top of the latest topic. Concepts are given a passing glance, memorized long enough to regurgitate on a test and then forgotten. The course is not enjoyed, and the work becomes just another burden. This is one of the patterns I wanted to try and break in attempting this new BYOD format. 

So, against my nature, I think I will "give in" (well, maybe it's not really giving in, but it sort of feels like it is). I'm going to move the last two Learning Goals of the first unit to the next unit. I'm hoping this will alleviate some of the pressure the very-behind students are feeling (though still providing some pressure to get through the last four Learning Goals for Friday's test). 

I'm also hoping this will give the students who are working at- or near-on-pace a bit of breathing room, and a chance to really get into the MASK-e-MATICS unit project before the test (and give them a fun way to demonstrate what they've learned so far).

We'll see how the students react when we review and edit the master list tomorrow. I'm worried that some of those students will still be demanding that mile instead of being happy with the inch… will they be able to pull it together in time for the test at the end of the week?

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