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English 12s: The classes today inspired me to write this update. The latest assignment was to come up with a Top 10 list of things students will remember from high school, with details and reasons why.

I also added a presentation of their list as part of this assignment, but the presentation would not be marked. Only the written portion would actually be graded. I was so impressed when the majority presented beautifully edited videos of their list, complete with photos, video clips and even voice-overs. They spent hours on their presentation because they wanted to share these memories with their friends and classmates, and it didn’t matter that they wouldn’t get a grade.

I’m so proud of how these grade 12s have proven they are not motivated by grades, that they wanted to spend the time to work on a multimedia presentation, and that thinking about their list was meaningful enough to document. In the real world, no one is going to give us As for our daily efforts, so that internal motivation becomes even more important.

English 10s: An act a week of Romeo and Juliet makes the play zip by pretty quickly. During Act 2, I had students write a summary of each scene using only lines of dialogue. I wasn’t sure how much they’d be able to comprehend, but they were totally fine. We’ve been using decades-old tattered school copies of the play. Coles Notes probably isn’t even in business anymore.

English 8s: We are on the final chapters of Thief of Always, and I’m still hoping to squeeze in The Outsiders before the end of the year because Stay gold, Ponyboy. The students have noticeably matured throughout the year, too. Just a touch more self-regulation, though there were a few weeks where I was collecting cellphones in a basket at the start of class.

 

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