Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Our Seniors' Last Lecture

Anne Smith’s and Lauren Lee's English Literature students are finishing up their last assignment of the semester. Anne writes:
The final semester for seniors (and for teachers, too) is always a challenging one to keep everyone motivated and on task. When I think of some of the activities I have created in order to keep the kids focused on their learning and not on holding down a beach chair, I wonder how effective and meaningful these projects were. This year I decided to start the semester off a little differently and a little more challenging. Rather than focusing on a question that dealt specifically with a thematic topic connecting all the pieces of literature, I challenged my students to answer the question “What’s the Point?” Under that mind blowing question, student needed to consider why we are reading the assigned texts, what relevance do they have towards their own lives, and what messages are the authors trying to send to us all? What’s the point of their final semester of the senior year of high school?

. . . The task was to have our students write his/her own last lectures mimicked after Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture.

. . . We decided on three parts to their speech: reflections on the past, lasting legacy to Arapahoe High School, and looking forward (what do you want in the next year, five years, ten years).
As they give their last lecture in Anne's classes, we’ll videotape them and then post them to their class blog so that their fellow students can give them feedback on both their delivery and their message. In addition, we’ll be ustreaming them out live so that parents (and interested educators) can watch as well. If you’re interested, tune in to our ustream channel on May 6th, 8th, 11th, 13th or 15th, from 10:35 – 11:34 am Mountain Daylight Time, UTC/GMT -6, then check back later on their class blog to leave them comments (it might be a few days after each set of students goes before the posts and embedded videos are up, although you could leave an immediate comment on Anne's post if you didn't want to wait).

As Anne says,
Hopefully, as they have done before, the kids will rise to the challenge realizing what an incredible opportunity this is to leave a lasting impression on their peers, teachers, and world to let everyone know what is important, meaningful, and relevant to each and every one of these kids.

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