I showed them this commercial from YouTube.
Then I decided to trust them to choose a 19th century social reformer and how they would present that reformer to the class. The only parameters:
- It had to be inspiring, touting the power one individual can have to make real change.
- It had to use and cite primary sources.
This is what my classroom looked like ten full minutes after the last bell of the day had sounded on a Friday! For real, people, these are 15-16 year olds who have been through a full 5 day week of classes, and the first week of winter sports tryouts in many cases, and they stayed after on a Friday for a history project. Whaaaat?
Their projects aren't due until Tuesday, but here is a preview I've received of one part of one project.
I'll add more projects as they trickle in this weekend. I'm excited about a Prezi I saw that made a connection between the education reforms of Horace Mann and the heroics of Malala Yousafzai. I'll update this post with it as soon as they finalize it and send it to me.
Overall, I'm impressed with my students' work ethic and work products when I give them the power of choice. As teachers we are often pleading with parents, students, and administrators to trust us and our academic choices. Perhaps we need to start returning the favor and trusting our students more as well.