I began with class with an agenda and a list of objectives written on the board:
- Go over essay
- Independent work on lesson
- Discuss DBQ
- Describe the chain of events leading up to American independence
- Explain in your own words British and American motivations
- Analyze the causes of the American Revolution
I then offered a series of activities for students to do. The first two were for everyone to start with, reflections on their essay on the first test. After that, students could pick and choose, based on their interests, and what they wanted to work on. Here's what the set-up looked like:
As you can see, my goal was to have students hit all the objectives over the course of the 75 minute class. I was seeking a way to give students choice, while also asking them to think about the material.
How did it work?
In the end, it wasn't completely satisfying. While the format of the class did give me the opportunity to circulate and work with students, I felt that I wasn't able to give the feedback to all students that was needed.
There were some useful things. I did have an opportunity to check homework, and give feedback on revised theses, without having to interrupt student learning. The work students have posted to Moodle will allow me to assess student understanding in general, and give feedback to specific students.
The difficulty is that while students had done the reading (I could tell--I checked their books), they didn't necessarily understand the reading, and the format of the class didn't give me an opportunity to clarify student understanding in a straightforward way.
The format could be improved if I began the class with a 10-15 minute overview of key points, which allowed me to do some basic explanation and some basic assessment, while also giving students the opportunity to ask clarifying questions.
Alternatively, if students had time to complete their work and the revise it based on my feedback, I would have a better sense for where all students stood, and they would get more practice. But that would take more time, both in and outside of class.