What Worked: I was pleased with the visual quality of the projects that students made. This assignment was also a great introduction to new students and a fun way for them to share about their summers. Because we only are having class via video-conference, it is important for me to build in times of connection whenever I can. The class reported that they enjoyed having assignments that were about their experiences and that it was engaging to study moments from their own lives. I was happy to hear this because that was my intention with this work. As a precursor to later parts of the project I was able to learn a lot about scaffolding this work and what supports students need when making visual summaries digitally
What Surprised Me: For this project's end I used a new tool called Jamboard as a way to give the class space to celebrate each others work. I realized that they hadn't really seen everyone elses projects and stories so I posted all the final versions to a Jamboard and gave the class a chance to leave "digital high fives" on everyone's work. The class said that this was a highlight for them, being in breakout rooms chatting and getting excited for each others work. They also enjoyed being able to share their stories from summer with each other and the final collection of positive notes was fun to read.
Never Again: I felt it was important to meet with each student 1-on-1 before they submitted their work so that I could give them feedback and catch anybody who still had questions. In scheduling this, I put the whole class in a breakout room "holding pen" and invited each student 1 by 1 to leave the breakout and talk with me in the main room. This is a crappy student experience to sit in a quiet breakout room from 90% of a class period that I overlooked. For future 1-on-1's I made individual appointments so that kids only needed to be online for the 10 minutes that we would be meeting so that the rest of the day could be used to finished their project.
Historical Moment: My Reflection
What Worked? The variety of topics that were chosen by the students was excellent, and I worked to make sure that everyone had a topic that they were interested in. Many students picked very personal stories to share and it was a treat to learn more about them individually. Since we are at a distance it's hard to get to know these people very well, so reading about them and giving them a space to express themselves has been awesome.
What was Surprising? This week I hosted one on one sessions with each student on the day before their project was due. This was more successful that I thought it would be. Being able to check in with each student and answer their questions specifically and personally led to a high level of quality among the projects. It's very satisfying to see a difference between everybody's initial drafts and their final.
Never Again? This week, like last week, we had a hype session at the end to show off all the awesome work that the class had finished. I really have come to value this time not only because it helps us connect at a distance, but because it is important to give everyone a deliberate space to be proud of their work and give positive feedback to each other. I will never have a significant part of the a project get turned in without a similar hype sesh, at a distance or IRL