Archive for September, 2012

Left Behind

Photo by Angella Mueller. Used under creative commons license.

So, I’ve been thinking a lot about students leaving a legacy recently. Alan November uses this terminology frequently. (Side note, if he is speaking at a conference or event you are attending, I recommend going to hear him. He is enthusiastic, supportive of teachers, and you will leave with ideas in your head.) In a world where it is so easy to share work and have others, maybe only just a few, but still others, get something out of it, why wouldn’t we want this for our students? I know that whenever I have suggested to my students that the work they are creating will be used by me next year to show others, or shared beyond school, I get more buy-in and better work. Everyone wins with that combination. (I’ll write about a particular example of this next.)

Last week on the first day of school, I found this article on Edutopia.org called “Have Students Create Their End of Year Legacy Now” by Maurice Elias. In it Professor Elias suggests starting the year with this goal in mind:

Ask your students to imagine themselves at an assembly in June. All of their classmates, teachers, staff, even parents are there. Every student is called up to the podium at the center of the stage, and the principal reads a statement of what they accomplished in the past year.

I think this is a great idea and one that allows for frequent checking in and monitoring. Professor Elias goes on to say,

Next, you can review the legacy statements at the end of each grading period, which can lead to a discussion, using these questions:

  • How are you doing in working toward your legacy?
  • What can help you make (more, better) progress in the next marking period?

I would go a few digital steps farther, adding the following:

  • How will you share your legacy with others?
  • Who else might benefit from what you have created?
  • How will this add to your positive digital footprint?

I know that not all work needs to be shared. Some really doesn’t deserve to go farther than the recycling bin, honestly. However, if we begin with the notion that creating real content that is of value to others is a goal, then I think it can be something towards which to work. And, there is a huge range of what “of value” means. Curing cancer would certainly qualify. However so would a screencast by an elementary student that explained how to regroup when subtracting.

So, I guess my point here is: what a great way to start the year.

Is there something that you think would really set a great tone or expectation?