When I was reading through all of your comments and suggestions in your end-of-semester reflections, I started to realize one thing: you wanted more control over what you were learning. Most of you said that you thought the blogs were a big help with your writing and that they allowed you to choose what you wanted to work on, but many of you still felt that there were these pockets of things that you didn’t know. Some of you said that you didn’t know how to write dialogue, some of you said that you wanted more help with essay writing, and some of you even wanted to understand grammar better. The problem is, everyone wants to know something different, and more importantly everyone needs to learn it in a different way. If I taught everyone the same things in the same way, most of you would be bored out of your skulls for most of it. Yet, teaching everyone each skill independently seems highly improbably due to lack of hours in the day and my incessant need for sleep.
What I am proposing instead, is that you teach what you want to know to yourselves. It may sound like I making you do my job, but really I am asking you to really do yours. You learn much better when you care about what you are learning. Although I have a set curriculum of what will happen in class everyday, I am proposing that you create a personal curriculum made up of three things that can actually be accomplished within the course of this semester. We will work on them some in class, but the majority of your learning doesn’t happen in a classroom, so why should these walls confine you, especially with the things you think are truly important. Please know that I will give you whatever resources you need in order to teach yourself, but it it is your learning and you are going to choose it.
Whenever you feel that you have learned what you wanted to throughout the semester, you will present me with some kind of product which shows that you actually learned something. I will give you a grade for each of the things that you choose to learn, and since it is your choice, I don’t know why you would get anything other than an A. All of Language Arts is open to you; anything that has at least some reading or some writing involved with it will do. We will be developing our list of three things starting today. Do not choose too quickly; these are the things that you are going to be engaged with for quite some time.
Personal Curriculum Requirements:
- Must have at least 3 things you really want to learn about or how to do.
- Must be related to Language Arts in some way (if only by the fact that you are reading something or writing something).
- Must be able to demonstrate mastery of the concept, idea, action, theme, etc.
- Must be approved by Mr. Wilkoff.
My personal curriculum for the second half of the year:
- I want to find 3 great books about sensitive boys coming of age. I want to read them and enjoy them and not try to think about how I will use them in class. I want to go on a personal exploration with these books because I feel like I still need to sort a few things out with my coming-of-age faze. I want to start writing a coming-of-age novel/short story of my own.
- I want to research just how blogging affects students ability to write. I want to find hard data to support the fact that I believe students write better when they blog.
- I want to get to know my students so well as writers and readers that I would be able to pick them out from a line-up of writing pieces and book choices.