I spent the first week of school giving my students seating challenges and teaching them to use EduProtocols. Each day students were put on the clock and asked to sit in a certain order. The goal here is to get them talking to each other and working as a team. As a bonus, I get to see who rises to the top as classroom leaders and which kids are happy to withdraw into a corner, whip out their cell phones, and tune out the world. At the end of the week, students met at least five people and learned about their screen time, birthday, shoe size, favorite band, and favorite movie.
After the seating challenges, I trained students how to use four different EduProtocols. We did a Cyber Sandwich on Academic Recovery issues. An Iron Chef where students introduced themselves to the class. Another Cyber Sandwich on the ethics of being monitored. For variety, one class did a Number Mania on effective homework policies, while another used the Research EduProtocol. Which I stacked the next day so they could identify best practices with high school bathroom policies.
After discussing all of these issues, my classes were ready to write our social contracts which will become our rules for the year. Remind me to update my syllabi before my principal starts badgering me for them.
During the second week of school, I was ready to dive into World History content. We are starting with the War in Afghanistan this year as the one-year anniversary of the US withdrawal is coming up on August 30th and I always like to have my classes interview their parents about where they were during September 11th. This year’s unit will cover Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, post-WWI shifts in the geographic and political borders of the Middle East, how the forces of nationalism developed in the Middle East, the Balfour Declaration, and the role of political ideology, religion, and ethnicity in shaping modern governments.
We started learning the History of Afghanistan by doing a 10% Summary of this 2,500-word timeline. Students struggled with this. The reading was too long to get through, plus they did not have enough knowledge of the subject to know which details were important and which weren’t.
The next day, students created a 6-slide PowerPoint that they would use to supplement their oral report. They had more time to hit their goal of writing a 250-word summary. This was really an excuse to get them to practice with Microsoft Presenter Coach before recording their own 2-3 minute Flip Screencast. Once the videos are in, I will pair students so they can conduct a peer review using a success chart. This upcoming week, we will take a closer look at the modern wars in the Middle East with a Cyber Sandwich and use the 3X CER Challenge from Ariana Hernandez to analyze claims about these conflicts. Thanks to Angela Zorn and Adam Moler for pushing me to blog about my classroom routines again. It feels good!