The Jens

The Jens
jen b & Jen P

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lots of change, lots of (initial?) work

Congratulations, Jen! We made it through orientation week as well as our first week of curriculum/writing boot camp. That feels like quite an accomplishment this year. We both put in a LOT of hours the past couple weeks trying to make these changes happen in our curriculum. I just finished our last post exchange describing my own reflections about what I think went well and what things I still think I need to devote more time toward thinking through and finding solutions for. 
Before we move onto new topics and bring in more research, theories, or ideas for implementation I'm curious to hear your own reflections and analysis of our first week of writing boot camp. What went well? What do you feel needs to be revamped? What might you change in this roll-out next year? Are you still motivated to charge on in this direction? Do you see what we're doing as being more beneficial (than previous methods of teaching) to the students, us, or equally both?
:-) jen b.


Ok, clearly I am already falling way behind…

Here are my thoughts about our boot camp, as of week 3:

·         The pace was too fast – for the kids who really care about their writing and are trying to turn in their best work, the pace killed them; the other kids used the fast pace as an excuse to turn in mediocre work.

·         I need to spend more time training students how to give feedback – some kids did a great job of providing valuable feedback, but others couldn’t make it past “I liked it.”

·         Setting up groups is tricky – some groups functioned much better than others, even though I really tried mixing up high ability with lower ability, introverts with extroverts.

·         Even though our goal was just to read one draft, I felt compelled to look at them all, and kids seemed to want verification that I had read all.

·         I liked the idea of Google forms as a way for students to self-assess, but the kids just copied and pasted entire sections into the form and the result was a huge spreadsheet that definitely did not help me and I’m not sure helped them, either.

·         Still think this is the way to start the year (the writing boot camp), and I do think our progression from narration to inform-explain to argument makes sense, but I want to think more about how to better roll this out next year.

·         I need to learn how to make the most of Google Drive.

~Jen P.

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