Good Lord if 2020 is not a Road of Trials…
Anyways, as I begin planning for the Spring 2021 semester a few old ideas are rattling around in my mind. I have thoroughly enjoyed (in pandemic adjusted scoring of course) a few wrinkles that I have been able to add in the Fall 2020 semester. My favorite has been the idea of weekly challenges as well as some of the new specific lessons I have crafted. In particular I have put together a number of lessons that deal with traditionally marginalized American History voices. One concern though is that with the amount of freedom I allow students in selecting their learning pathway some of those voices are still being ignored. I am also concerned that I have added too much complexity into the design of the course. Several students have explained that they appreciate the opportunities in the multiple options as well as the penalty free late work BUT they have also told me that they often picked easiest options because they were found themselves confused. After some discussion I realized it was not the work that confused them but that they had too many options which caused decision paralysis and they went back to what they knew so they could be sure to get a “good grade”. This explains why there were so many students completing the relatively dull Quizizz or Quizlet assignments when they could spend less time and be more engaged with other activities. They gravitated toward the familiar.
All of that is to say that I need to streamline some of the concepts and designs so that students have a bit of an easier pathway to success.
It may seem a bit counterintuitive but all of this thinking has led me back to the old concept of Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth – The Hero’s Journey – and its possible classroom applications.
Or if you prefer Board Game imagery I found this on Google
Over the next few posts I am going to lay out my planning for a Hero’s Journey based “Quest” throughout my 11th Grade HIS202: American History from 1877 to Present Dual Enrollment course. This is a college level class that is taught to High School students and they will earn both high school and college credits with successful completion of the course. We follow a Semester based calendar that starts on January 11th and end in early May.