I dislike whining. It frustrates me. I have found myself whining about the same problem for the past two years and I decided over the summer to do something about it. So here is the attempt to address an issue I have been managing for the past two years: Apathy with 2nd semester seniors.
The Issue: Effectively engaging 2nd Semester seniors in their required courses for graduation. Specifically:
- Attendance has been a problem.
- Much of class time becomes work time because ‘home work’ time is soaked up by Math, College and Capstone
- They seem to have lost the desire to engage in their learning in their required courses.
Potential Solution: Blended Classroom (as applied to Globalization)
- Students attend in person 2-65 min. classes/week (the other bands will be chosen to limit the ‘down time’ in building… choosing bands at the beginning and ends of the day)
- Students digitally participate in an online environment for the some of the other learning ‘requirements’
- Students work with an outside partnership –
- Group work will have online and in person requirements
- In class time will be used predominantly for activities and discussion.
- If a student falls below a C average, they will be required to attend class all 4 days to address the failure to meet expectations.
- Time that is not in scheduled classes (the other 2-65 min. blocks) will be available for teacher to work one on one with students or in more focused groups that are working on independent projects.
- Time that is not in scheduled classes (the other 2-65 min. blocks) will be available for the teacher to intervene with Capstone projects that are not progressing.
- Increased responsibility for the student to manage their own learning
- Develop a community based project that is collaborative with other classmates and community members
- Better attendance on the days when class is in session
- More effective use and participation in class discussion and activities
- Dedicated time to work with the students who are struggling to graduate
- Less senior apathy. I recognize that there will always be some, of course.
The plan is to meet full time the first two weeks and then drop down to two in class meetings a week (starting Feb. 21). If students are not passing with a C or above they are required to come to all four classes for help in meeting class expectations. B and D bands will not be in class on Wed/Fri if they are meeting expectations.
We started this today and one student commented that it was genius. I’m not sure about that, I would just like to feel it is effective.
This is a pilot of an idea that, I feel, has real potential for the upper grades at SLA. Thoughts? What do you see as possible (unintended) consequences for this approach?