Anne Smith has focused her first semester English 9 course (9th grade English, 14 and 15-year-olds for those of you outside the U.S.) around the question of “What Matters?”
Last year, I had my freshmen all focus on the question of what matters. I was really glad to have one question on which they could focus all semester. Every project, assignment, class discussion all came back to this question.You can read Anne’s own “What Matters?” post, as well as read through many of the students’ posts on her class blog (you may have to scroll down a little to see their posts as newer posts are on top). As always, comments and constructive criticism on the students’ posts are welcome.
. . . The first part of the What Matters project is a creative, visual illustration of what matters to them. They always seem to struggle with this question at first, asking me, "Well what do you mean what matters?" I simply respond with, "I don't know, what matters?" They, of course, are confused and perplexed. This year after going through the same conversation with them as my last year's 9th graders, I decided to create my own example of what matters. I think this gave them some better direction, but I still have my reservations. Many of their posts seemed similar to mine (I am not trying to be egocentric here). I am just having a difficult time trying to find the line between feeling like I am leading them to the answer I am looking for (i.e. my what matters example) and having them struggle to find their own understanding- what I feel like they should be looking for.
On a technical note (because I often get asked when I link to work like this so I might as well answer it up front), Anne and the students used Picasa (another piece of the G.A.) to create their photo collages.