Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Rays of Hope

In preparation for the final exams in my literature classes, I have students work in a variety of ways to write essay questions for the exam (there's an essay portion).  

We start by doing some thematic brainstorming in class, and then students can write questions individually, and then they work in groups to take the feedback I've given to individual questions and write questions, and so on.

It's not just that I'm lazy and don't like to think of essay exam questions.  Rather, I do this because I think students learn a lot by thinking about questions that will allow them to demonstrate that they've learned a lot over the semester.  They start putting things together, and then put them together in small groups, and so on.  (At each stage there's sharing both of their ideas and my responses, especially in terms of whether I think I could write a really good essay about it.)  So once they're putting together things across the semester, they're actually learning stuff more fully.

Anyway, in my two lit classes this semester, we're at slightly different parts of the brainstorming process, and the potential essay questions I'm seeing are really good ones.  The questions give me hope that at least a good proportion of the students are putting things together and making connections between the texts and learning something in the process!

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