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Task Discussion

  • Jacob Thomas   Nov. 5, 2012, 9:34 p.m.

    I'm just about to start teaching 1984 for the very first time, and I like the idea of my students keeping a journal alongside Winston. So much of the book is based around the idea that individual thought and expression can be a powerful weapon to wield, and what better way to express individuality in the 21st century than through blogging?

    AdditionalIy, I want my students to get into the habit of interacting and having discussions with a text, which is why I'm structuring this like a reader's notebook. Their responses can come in any form or style so long as they are well thought out, well written, and clearly exhibit interaction with the source material (both the novel and information supplements).

  • Chris Sloan   Nov. 6, 2012, 10:41 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Jacob Thomas   Nov. 5, 2012, 9:34 p.m.

    Good idea. My students finished reading 1984 last week, and some of them have written about the book's relevancy to contemporary society, etc. on Youth Voices. Looking forward to connecting my students to yours as your students work through their journals.

  • Carla Cherry   May 12, 2012, 1:44 a.m.

    The mission that I will soon embark upon with my students is a research project, which will take the form of an I-Search paper. One of my classes will have the option of doing their I-Search paper about their neighborhoods--the history, community organizations, and people who have lived there for generations.

    My goal is to have them blog about their journey by posting their research questions, hypotheses/thesis statements, research process, and their findings. I hope that each of them will receive positive feedback and encouragement from my colleagues and their peers.

  • Tricia Clarke   April 21, 2012, 12:43 p.m.

    My students introduction to Youth Voices has been to write a profile, post questions about themselves, questions about the world, and to post a brief description of their Journalism-Redefined independent project and then have classmates (or anyone) comment on what they planned to work on. It is based on this last interaction with the site that my next Mission will be created.

    By now, students have completed their independent projects and have presented their hard work to the class. My Mission to students would be designed around having them post the content of their projects on YV as a Discussion and have classmates (and others) post comments about them. Once students have posted their projects, they would itemize the steps taken to complete the project utilizing the Project Planning sheets they completed in class. I would also have them describe their experience with the process (highs, lows, challenges, strengths they discovered in themselves, and the like), and the final part would be a reflection of how creating and designing this project has given them insight about themselves, each other, and of course the topic itself.

  • Amal   April 21, 2012, 12:42 p.m.

    So far, my students have done preliminary research on topics they are interested in, and posted those writings on the site.  They are under the mission for Relevant and Reliable Research.  I have found in reading their work that the structure of that assignment was necessary, but limiting to their full potential in exploring their topic.  Let me explain:

    The students chose topics they were interested in, but knew little about.  The research they did was primarily to inform them in answering their question.  Their writing, as a result, was a conversational dialogue between themselves as writers and the research they found.  The result was a "balanced" piece that was driven primarily by the research.  In other words, it looked mostly like this:

    - I found this article, and it says BLAH.  This means BLAH and connects to BLAH.

    - Another article says BLAH, which means BLAH and connects to BLAH.

    And so on.


    This structure was necessary because it allowed the students to collect a lot of information without having to select which is supporting or not supporting their ideas.  Since their ideas were barely formed, they were able to gather ideas and resources that would help construct their own thinking on the topic.


    The next step, then, is to have students realize the full potential of their voices in relation to their topics.  This would mean writing on the same thing more than once, or more than twice. From this first assignment, a new mission might be:

    - Reread your post and search for two things:

    1.  What new questions did you research help you to ask?  How could your analysis be taken further?

    2.  What do you know now, or already believe/agree with?  This might be something you already believed to be true, or something your research has presently informed.  It might be something you strongly agreed with or disagreed with in your last findings.

    From here, students might be able to reverse the relationship that their first writing about the topic created (the research drives, the student's voice explains it) to create a situation where the student's voice and opinion are strengthened from the get-go, and the research supports and informs their ideas (instead of the other way around). The entire structure of a new post would be different, since it would follow the flow of the student's ideas, instead of following a list of research items that were found.

    I wrote this quickly.  Apologies for any nonsensical items.

  • Jinnette   April 21, 2012, 12:39 p.m.

    Think of a Mission that might work for your class and your students even if you cannot actually do it with them yet.

    A mission that I would like to do with my students would be helping them rewrite parts, or even the end, of a book they are reading in a play format that can be acted out by other classmates.

    In my literature class we are reading the same text ("One Crazy Summer" by Rita Garcia). I often read aloud and have students follow along. I stop at a very suspenseful part of a chapter and have students write a play leading to what they think will happen next (or even having them rewrite parts of what we have read). This works well because the book is about a woman who abandons her children and so there are many parts of the story the students want to change given their own sense of justice.

    I provide them with the setting and the characters they must include, but the rest is up to them. I introduce them to the format of a play and instruct them on including narration. Then I let them write. The next session I select 2-3 of the student-written plays to act out as a class. After acting each one out, students gather in small groups of 3-4 to discuss what elements of the book that student-play-writer changed and why they might have done that.