The Rolling Stones famously sang, “Time, is on my side, yes it is.” Yet, I’m not sure.
Over the summer I created a flipped unit on the Muslim empires, which I wrote about here: A Running Diary. Last week I introduce the flipped unit to my students and I’m wondering if I underestimated some things, namely the time it would take to complete the activities.
In this unit I have 18 different assignments to complete. The assignments include viewing several Ed Puzzle videos of my lectures, taking Cornell style notes, working on map skills, evaluating accomplishments, and writing journal entries. The piéce de résistance was a cultural blending project in which students had to complete one six options that included brief research and a class presentation of some sort. I introduced the unit last Wednesday and allowed for three weeks for students to complete everything. The idea was that students could work at their own pace completing assignments in any order they choose. This gives them agency over their own learning.
As I’ve been monitoring progress I’m noticing that quite a few students are progressing much faster than I anticipated. Now, they haven’t begun working on their cultural blending project yet, so that may occupy most of the remaining time, but I’m surprised at how quickly some of these students work. I’m now preparing for a new challenge: what to do if a student completes everything prior to the three week deadline. And, maybe more importantly, how can I have students effectively use class time but still evaluate them in a way that doesn’t over-inflate the grades of those that haven’t completed the unit but still are working well within the established guidelines. I guess that’s a fancy way of what will I have the students who have completed the unit do during class that is effective but yet not have them earn extra credit to inflate their grade. It’s not that I’m against extra credit, but I believe that extra credit should equally be available to all students and those who are working on the unit would not have class time to complete the extra credit. Either way I’ll just cross the bridge if I get to it.
Maybe I’m overthinking things (it’s been known to happen). Maybe the timing will work out pretty well and the vast majority of time will be on the cultural blending project. I know that I will learn from this experience and then be able to make any adjustments for future units. After all, that’s what lifelong learning is all about.
Until next time…