Saturday, November 13, 2010
Today's News, Tomorrow's Projects?
In a post for Edutopia this week, I talked about developing "ripped from the headlines" projects, using the news as a launching pad for in-depth learning. The idea is to go beyond current-events discussions and bring students into the the role of problem-solver, analyst, or perhaps even advocate for change.
Conversations with teachers about this idea have me thinking about both opportunities and challenges. In a follow-up discussion on Teachers Teaching Teachers, for instance, Kevin Hodgson brought up the issue of how to fit in such projects, given the real constraints of time and curriculum. Matt Montagne emphasized the need for teachers (and students) to own a project idea if it's going to take hold. Chris Sloan cited the recent election season as an opportunity to use a real event to get students involved in a critical study of language.
In the comments to my Edutopia post, there were several inspiring examples of real-world projects--countered by a writer who argued for teaching basics first before launching into more contemporary topics in the classroom.
I'm eager to keep gathering examples of "ripped from the headlines" projects. What have you tried with your students? What were the pitfalls? The benefits? Let me know, and I'll share your wisdom in a follow-up post.