Still careening through each day, but today? We crowdsourced the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales in Middle English. They are looking to become expert on the pilgrims, and will be assessing their colleagues as communicators and close readers. I want to build a community of discriminating readers who can 1) notice thematic patterns, motifs and devices in Chaucer's writing, and 2) use this data set to break down the Wife and the Pardoner together next week. Amazing the learning that happens when we share the power and the responsibility. Can't wait for presos tomorrow.
UPDATE 10.15.11: The presos were a mixed bag...most have a better handle on direct and indirect characterization now, but they still need prompting to make inferences about their characters. Though we had the computer carts in the room the entire time, few availed themselves of the resource to expand their understanding, even when I asked them questions I knew they could only answer with a bit of information gathering. The best students in all classes got there, but that might be because they already possessed the skills or knowledge that inspired their effort and results (in other words, it had nothing to do with my lesson). They assessed success with a googleform "rubric" and the results were the same: many gave everyone else all 4s. No real judgment, which was my goal.
I continue to bump up against this wall: my curiosity has always been my internal motivator, but I cannot expect every student to have this same power generator. More thinking, reading necessary on this problem.
This may not have been as good as idea as I thought it was...regardless of my instructions, the students read notes instead of presented, and missed neon signs along the way in the text. Few judged the information they received honestly (even though their assessment did not affect their colleagues' grade). My short term solution to the problem may be to move a crowdsourcing project later in the year, after they have had more close reading (healigan-style) practice.