Sunday, January 8, 2012

Student reply "That's why you do that, sneaky Ms. P, very sneaky".

Two days ago I had a student question me on the reason behind an assignment.  He was in my Information Technology Grade 12 class, in the movie making section, and he was assigned to do a movie a week to enter in the Vancouver Sun Movie Contest.  The winner gets a $1000.  I thought this alone would motivate the students. (See some entries already published here)

There are five different categories and the students get to choose which one they would like to enter - mocumentary, Public service announcement, music video, and others.  But one of the students called me on the assignment - "You're just trying to give us busy work Ms. P since there is only two weeks left of the class.  So why don't we just sit here quietly, and then you won't have to mark any of this."  My reply back was "I wasn't going to mark it anyways.  It's for you to learn something new.  To learn to plan and implement what you've planned."  

After we talked for a while I found out it wasn't the assignment that bugged the group, it was the categories.  The students wanted to do a video on a song already done, not a new song from someone in school.  This is where experience and versatility come in as a teacher.  I said sure, what song do you have in mind?  They told me the band, one of the people in the group mentioned that they followed the group on Twitter, and then the lightbulb in my head went off.  "OK, do the video, but when it's done, you're going to upload the video to your YouTube Channel and then tweet the band the address of the video."  

Here's where the fun came in.  The same student said "Oh, oh.  Now we're really going to have to do something special."  And "We're not sending what we've done to them, we have to start over".  Now I'm smiling the look of complete satisfaction and someone in the student group notices and says "Is that why you make projects like that Ms. P?  So we work harder at it?"  The reply "It's always like that when it's a real-life project and you have to share it.  You take more pride in your work when you're name is attached to it".

The response of the group "Sneaky Ms. P, very sneaky".  When I was walking away to help someone else in the classroom, I head the comment whispered "She's good....."  I hope so, the better I am the more kids learn.  ;)

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