Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The planets need a job

So while my kids were toiling away with their state standardized tests the past 2 weeks, I was given the opportunity to work on some planning. I have to admit, I have been extremely busy with completing my National Board portfolio the past 2 weeks, so my month-ahead lesson planning had fallen closer to being only a week ahead of the kids. I know, bad teaching etiquette, right?

I don’t think so and the reason is this. As I have a unit plan in place, there will come times when I need to make adjustments, create time for deeper learning experiences or even make time for teachable moments. I like being prepared, don’t get me wrong, but I also have learned to become flexible and have evolved with my students.

So for my next unit, my students are going to create planetary resumes. You read it right, folks. Resumes of the planets. In Mr. Simoni’s social studies class, the students will be introduced to personal economics and will actually begin writing their own resumes. The boys who have already informed me that they plan on applying to Publix this summer are already ecstatic about writing their own resume to accompany their stellar job application.

What I noticed that while I was creating this mini-project is that I cannot possibly plan any other way than backwards. I have seen the promise land and will shout from the mountain tops on how beneficial and effective backwards planning can be. Ok, so I don’t have a mountain, but I do have a blogspot.

Anyways, I created a rubric, a sample planetary resume on Pluto (who knew Pluto could be so useful?!), a chart of Human Resume sections compared to Planetary Resume sections (e.g. work history vs. planetary history) and even a data table example of what students SHOULD copy down in their composition notebooks. For the last project, I provided students with some website examples but let them explore the web using numerous search engines. Well boys and girls, the scaffolding structure needs to be removed – my little munchkins are using Google, NetTrekker and any other search engine they can think of (and isn’t blocked on the network) to complete their quest to make a planet’s resume. After they research all 8 planets, they will be paired up with their new shoulder partners (thanks to Kagan) and will each complete 4 resumes, combining them to create a packet of the solar system.

Pretty nifty, eh?

I thought so, given I have never done this type of activity before. I have created a few sample templates using Microsoft Publisher for the students to choose from on my science website that they will download into their network folders. If students feel creative and adventurous enough, they can create their own.

We start tomorrow.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

No comments: