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Exploring the Missions

Identify a mission and write about it from two different perspectives - one, the TEACHER and the other, the STUDENT.

• Record your reactions as a TEACHER or your thoughts about what the teacher’s intentions were in creating this Mission.

• Also record what you notice about the STUDENT responses or how you imagine a student might react or what they might contribute to this mission.

Task Discussion

  • Carla Cherry   May 12, 2012, 2:29 a.m.

    One of the missions that caught my eye was the one for Richard Wright's Black Boy because I would like to teach it next year.

    1. When I looked at this mission from the lens of a teacher, I thought that the teacher was aiming to get students to get to relate to the book on a personal level as well as reflect upon the themes of the book and then compare and contrast those issues to what goes on in contemporary society. Some of the themes that were included in the channels were social justice, human rights, and racism. Students mused about questions/topics such as:

    "How is Richard Wright’s book Black Boy relevant to society and the minorities that exist in them today?"


    "How violence makes us who we are"


    "How Richard Wright's book BLACK BOY inspires me and other readers"

    The postings seemed to be essays assigned in class. They appeared to have gone through the writing process, as they had good textual evidence and cited other sources.

    2. When I think about how students may have reacted to this mission, I imagine some may have been excited about sharing their work on this forum, while others rolled their eyes and sighed in frustration. One student said, "Reading Black Boy at first wasn’t enjoyable, but as it got further in, it became more appealing".

    From the length of the responses, it is apparent that the students did a lot of work in class around selecting key quotes around the literary elements and techniques of the book, citing sources, and making textual connections. I think that participating in this mission was very meaningful for the students.

  • Jimnordlinger   April 21, 2012, 10:31 a.m.

    1. Photographrable Questions: The teacher seems to be motivating students to feel free to brainstorm questions about three interactive parts of consciousness: The inside, The immediate outside, experienced through the senses daily, and the larger more abstract macro world.  The next steps, key word choices, the student is being asked to focus her/his ideas about these giant areas, ideas being questions.  Then the student readies this for public interaction.  

    As a student, I'm, maybe, feeling a little bit of agoraphobia, wonder amidst a big place outside and inside myself.  Once I know I'm allowed to really ask, I can get into this.  I like asking real questions.  When asked to focus, I might want to, but I don't know if I want to go to all this trouble.  But I also begin to find out more as I interact with the specifics and myself. 


    2. Who Am I:  The teacher seems to be aim at activating a student's skill at self-reflection, but in a very cognitive or metacognitive sense.  Understanding the process by which one goes through something, we would be asking the student to consider the concepts of process and personal process, if these are in fact separate.  

    Similarly, the teacher seems to asking about identity, as above.  The teacher is asking the students to look at him or her self, in several ways.  The challenge in both is to find an image that shows this.  The core of which is the willingness to analyze one's self. 

    As a student I might resist the slowing down to think or the willingness to think about the component parts, though, maybe, really, I am loving this chance to look at me and then reflect me in pictures rather than words.  

    3. Black Boy:  The teacher is asking the students to have an authentic and communicated response to a piece of literature.  Providing the range of possible responses, especially in that they suggest containment and focus, seems to provide a good support and structure, while still asking for thought and creativity.  The range of possible forms of response does the same.  

    As a student I am excited by the need to analyze and communicate that analysis with creativity, thought and feeling.  I feel treated like a real person, capapble of skill and insight.  


    4. Interactive Ethical Story using Scratch;  The teacher is asking students to understand and use the elements of the Morality Tale or Fable, it seems, while making this understanding clear enough to employ as a writer.  At the same time, students are asked to become familiar with Scratch 

  • Amal   April 21, 2012, 10:31 a.m.

    I'm enjoying the photography-based missions, especially since they encourage students to use photographs generated by their peers (instead of random Google-searches).  Perhaps the teacher's intention was to allow students to use different avenues in exploring their identities, or to gather images that students could later use to write from.  Students, on the other hand, were being asked to think outside of the box quite a bit.  For me, as a student, I would have been pretty nervous to select my photographs.  I would have spent entirely too much time and energy on their composition, colors, and what they represent.  A picture is worth a thousand words, sure, but the accessibility of an image adds a bit of pressure to represent oneself just so.  I'm not exactly sure why, but presenting and choosing four photographs is very different from submitting a piece of paper with your words on it.  It's powerful in a very different way.


    For me, I would love to encourage students to take their own photographs!  Students are using so many channels, like Facebook and Instagram, to document so many aspects of their daily life.  It would be cool to generate those images as representative samples of their identities, from which they could later write.


  • Jinnette   April 21, 2012, 10:26 a.m.


    Responding to "Photographable Question"

    TEACHER :  I enjoyed this assignment because it engages students in developing meaningful inquiry-driven questions through images. The teacher's intention, I believe, was to have students connect thoughts and intention to photography --to appreciate images beyond the physical reality of the object, focus on the content.

    STUDENT: It did not seem to me that students took their own photographs, but rather searched for some on Flickr that corresponded with their question. This task has a lot of potential for teaching symbolism, where students could have search in their own community/environment for things that embodied their question/inquiry to photograph it.

    Responding to "Black Boy"

    TEACHER: The teacher's intention with this assignment is to encourage students to read with conviction and drama. This is a great way to teach students about how grammar translate from the page to the voice when reading aloud. The task is also a great way for students to reflect on their reading ability as they listen to their own read-alouds. 

    STUDENT: Although most fo the students did not read grammatically, they did attempt to read with fluency and often corrected themselves as a form of editing. 


    • Record your reactions as a TEACHER or your thoughts about what the teacher’s intentions were in creating this Mission.

    • Also record what you notice about the STUDENT responses or how you imagine a student might react or what they might contribute to this mission.