But Redwood isn't just asking me to plan my own curriculum - they want me to plan curriculum for three different upper-division electives (for 11th-12th graders) at a college level. Seriously. Last night, I brought some of the texts I'm using over to my church home group, and everyone said something like, "That's for high school students? I didn't read that until nearly the end of college!"
One of the biggest challenges is a class called Essay and Exposition. It's not quite an AP class, but it's still the "best and brightest" in the school who sign up.
That being said, I was reading a fantastic article by Mike Fisher, called Snapshot of a Modern Learner. If you haven't read it, you should.
The basic premise of the essay is that the modern learner approaches learning differently than school offers it.
That got me thinking...what if I had students read the article and then write a portrait of themselves as a learner in the style of Fisher's essay?
It serves myriad purposes:
- working on style imitation, which is a goal of the class
- it tells me about them and their own learning context
- it leads into the unit on definition essays
It also ties in nicely with my White Blank Page project and the goals of a flipped class. I think part of why I'm freaking out about this year is because I want to have something planned out fully and I don't. But I also know that personalisation is a major factor in my flipped class, and without knowing the students, I don't know what they need. Those two competing forces have made my head a really unpleasant place the last few weeks (and I'm sorry to my friends who've had to hear verbalise the neurotic personality inside my head).
In fact, Crystal Kirch, Karl Lindgren-Streicher and I were talking about planning for the year last night on Twitter.
I'm not sure how this post descended into my own insecurities. It probably has to do with the fact that, as a learner, I always feel like I should know more than I do. I always feel like I am so far behind everyone else that I'll never catch up. There are reasons for that (none are relevant for the purposes of this post), but it certainly impacts how I teach.
I think I need to write my own "Snapshot of a Modern Learner" essay first.