Kids like choice – so give it to them sometimes! Our 5th grade AG teacher came up with a great assignment that I am helping her with on how citizens can cause change. There are three “layers” and the kids can choose activities in each layer that they want to do. Each activity is worth various point amounts and they have to add up to the total number. In this case, layer A requires 50 points, B requires 30 points, and C is 20 points. Most of the layer A activities involve who, what, when, where type research and are about 5-10 points each, so students have to do several of those. These mostly focus on things like civil rights, women’s right to vote, and other protests. The layer B and C get deeper into the thought process and are worth more points per activity. B asks for evaluation type activities such as thinking about the “I Have a Dream” speech by asking how it would have been different if it had been called “I Have a Plan”. One of the layer C activities is to perform a random act of kindness and write an essay about that describes the plan, what happened, and why they chose it.
By having choice in the activities they choose, students take better ownership and can focus on what they are most interested in. For the research portion, we focused on using NC Wise Owl (a state sponsored site that host the online Britannica among many other awesome resources), webpath express through Destiny, and a livebinder I created for Black History research for another class.
Of course, this is taking a little longer than some projects, but I am so thankful to have alternating quarters of flex scheduling to allow for projects like this!