So let's talk about lessons/best practices, and why I want to take that route. I have successfully integrated 3 best practices that were shared in the classroom here at Kean since I started in the program in July. The first was Laura Lopez's 6-word memoir idea. I adapted her lesson for my first year writing course at NJIT in our personal narrative unit. The students loved it and learned about connotation, register, word choice, composing in digital format, and reflection. I used an adaptation of a lesson plan shared by Larissa Lee to introduce counter arguments in our unit on persuasive essays. They learned the concepts of support vs. counter arguments and how to predict, concede, and/or refute the opposition's point of view.
Now, shout out to Melissa Libbey, thank you! for sharing that lesson you participated in about understanding counter arguments. While you may have just mentioned it in passing, I listened closely, and used the same plan on Tuesday to drive home the concept of counter arguments with my freshmen before their persuasive essay due date next week. We had Team Snickers and Team Twix eating candy in two groups and making lists on the board. They gained a solid understanding of where counter arguments fit in the scheme of a persuasive essay, why they are rhetorically important, and how to phrase them effectively. And, they got to trash talk each other and eat candy bars. The activity was a much more effective learning tool than my previous classroom explanations were. Understanding was evident in their rough drafts following the team activity. Awesome!
Back to the final project. Idea #3 doesn't seem to be a combination of #1 and #2 to me. It seems to be an explanation of what each individual could do with #2:
- Pick something to teach (from the list in idea #1), decide your pedagogy (anti or not, songs, pop culture), choose the presentation (print, electronic, interactive, etc.), develop an assignment, and explain the whole thing in terms of a theory you agree with.
My contribution to the group project, if it were idea #2 lesson plans / best practices compilation, could be fun grammar lessons, I know, it's an oxymoron,...with online components, songs, videos, and student activities. Or, I could explain and demonstrate college level eportfolios and how to use them in a class and for evaluation. For there to be learning in this project, we'd have to tie the lessons back to theory, which would be great. Then we'd have a basis for the pedagogy we choose. Also, we don't have to decide on a grade level. Writing is writing, and grammar is grammar. As Laura pointed out last class, the kid's learn the same thing year after year. Laura's 6th grade lesson was easily reworked for my college class. My college grammar could be tweaked for high school, etc.
If we went with idea #1 and went anti-theory with each genre, we would have to develop classroom lessons that might not be actually usable given time constaints, administrative rules, grading policy, etc. Fun, but, not sure where the useful learning comes in there, beyond understanding the theory. Also, some genres might lend themselves to anti-theory better than others, so it would be hard to constrain everyone to come up with an anti-theory. Still, I hope some of us would choose to take that route, it would be interesting.
I hope that helps move us towards a conclusion. Looking forward to hearing what everyone else has to say!