I hadn't been enthralled with the way that I was teaching US History. Yes, the kids were compliant. Yes, they would discuss in class. Yes, they were doing well on the formative and summative assessments. Yes, they said they liked the class. But my heart just wasn't in it. I don't think I let it show in class, but I wasn't sure for how long I could keep up the charade.
I recently went to an Inquiry Based Design session with @MrsOlbrys at Windsor High School. It was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulder and the sun was once again shining. I knew that this is what I had been seeking as an alternative to what I had been doing in US History.
For those of you that know me, you know that I jump into things with both feet when I see something that will not only transform the way that my students learn but will afford them student voice opportunities. This is the task that I gave the kids: https://goo.gl/4zgPp5 and to put it in a nutshell, they had to evaluate information regarding President Hoover and formulate an historically based argument to support or refute Hoover's inclusion in the Top 10 Worst President's List.
The first thing they did (and I did this on purpose) was
1. "I have so much more evidence to get him off the list than keep him on. Crazy! I would never have guessed that two days ago."
2. "There is no way you should be blaming Hoover for the Stock Market Crash. All of the things that led up to the Stock Market Crash happened before he took office. Wait...
3. "I don't really know much about several of these Presidents. Does he really deserve to be on a list with those Presidents?"
4. "I think that what is really swaying me right now is that he sent food to the troops in Europe. I can't believe that they wouldn't feed the soldiers enough, that is just common sense! But I guess, that was really thinking outside the box back then. Imagine how different the war would have been if he hadn't done that?"
This is only a very small snippet of what they were talking about and it is only day two. I can tell you 100% that these were not discussions or questions or thoughts that were happening in my class when I was driving the learning up in front of the class.
In keeping with the end in mind, here is what we are doing next. https://goo.gl/LNEUT6 The work that they are doing this week and next will become the documents from which they write their DBQ on the last page of the above link. I would love to hear your thoughts on both Inquiry Based Design and the two tasks I have included.