Students’ blog postings represent the culmination of several weeks’ worth of collective efforts – with minimal ‘interference’ from their instructor (me). At the beginning of students’ work in the collaborative process, I described the role I would hope to play by referring to “the guy in the suit” from this YouTube video.
My thinking is simple: best that students offer their views of political action as a sort of antidote to fellow members of their generation who, when it comes to the political process, choose indifference rather than engagement. The pursuit of authenticity, then, requires that students have freedom to create what’s most relevant to them, rather than answering a more traditional “what does the teacher want?” question that so routinely frames their work at school.
I’m keenly aware of the (sobering) fact that my students and I see government and politics from increasingly divergent generational points-of-view. Put simply, I’m on thin ice when I preach to them about why their participation matters. Better for authentic answers to arise from their collaboration.
- Who: 60+ 11th and 12th grade students in a college-prep Government course.
- Submissions: Student groups will submit two blog entries. The first is an ACTION STATEMENT, which is a narrative that describes the group’s political action project in full detail. Action statements may briefly describe the group’s process and rationale as background; however, the document’s defining purpose is to provide a detailed description of political action. The second is an IMPACT STATEMENT, which is a persuasive document that presents a cogent argument: “the group’s political action has been meaningful and impactful because…” Groups explain and analyze evidence that supports their conclusions.
- Student Groups’ Workspaces: We have used Google sites as wikis, and these spaces are homes for all the on-line research they’ve collected, all the data they’ve gathered, and all the YouTube videos they’ve created. I see them as ‘sandboxes’ where students collaborate, brainstorm, and think out-loud creatively on-line. to allow students to collaborate and brainstorm on-line.
- Duration: The overall project runs during a 5-week period during our 1st trimester. The project was introduced in mid-September, and the majority of the work will essentially take place in October. Our deadline corresponds to the midterm elections on November 2, 2010.
- Opportunities to Collaborate: Please leave comments and engage my students directly!!