So, the assessments are pouring in from students and I’m struck by how much they are learning. I don’t just mean the English benchmarks for the unit: I’m talking about personal responsibility.

  • They are learning tech: I thought of creating a video about how to splice together various images and audio, but a student figured it out for herself and has become the resource for the class.
  • They are learning how to collaborate: many students have realized that they are at different levels of progress and are now asking each other for advice or guidance. “Can you explain this metaphor?”, “How does synecdoche work?”, “Which annotation strategy works best for you?”.
  • They are learning how to overcome obstacles: though a few students still automatically ask for help when stuck (e.g. “how do you spell…?”), they are also increasingly realizing they can find a solution themselves.
  • They are learning how to plan: they struggle here, but most students are learning how to plan their time and a few are even looking weeks in advance.
  • They are learning to love poetry: despite having poems available to them, all but one of the students have opted to find their own poems for the visual reading. They’re reading Keats, Plath, Angelou… If the unit was structured differently, they wouldn’t have been exposed to as many poems.

On my end, I am moving the whole time. Whether it is asking probing questions, helping students find resources, evaluating plans, or just being called over to read an interesting poems, I am constantly moving from student to student. By the end, I realized an important lesson:

I’m going to need a good pair of sneakers.