Choice and Voice in the Classroom: Sometimes you just have to let go.

In my experience, giving students the choice in what they will learn and the voice in how they will present that knowledge is key to improving student learning. 

As a teacher of middle and high school students, I often ask myself - how do I do that?

Sometimes in life we have to take the advice of Queen Elsa from Disney’s Frozen and just “Let it go.”

Let go of the control and give students choice: choice in what they read, choice in how they present evidence of their learning, and choice in the direction of their educational goals. After all, don't we want to make our students life-long readers, writers, and thinkers?

As a teacher, I know this is hard. I struggled with control until the last couple of years. 

However, when I saw the results of losing control, I decided I could never be the teacher with all the control again. It was as easy as just telling my students the learning target I needed them to reach and being blown away by the results. 

Example:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.7
Analyze the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums, including what is emphasized or absent in each treatment (e.g., Auden's "Musée des Beaux Arts" and Breughel's Landscape with the Fall of Icarus).

I wanted my students to reach the above standard as stated on the CCSS website, so this is the assignment I gave them. 

The Crucible Summative Assessment

Goal: Analyze the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums, including what is emphasized or absent in each treatment.

Using any method, achieve the standard stated above.

In your assessment, be sure to include:

-the reasoning for similarities and differences

-the reasoning for studying two different artistic mediums

-the representative Puritan views

The products I received from my students were outstanding. I received Keynote’s, Glogsters, iMovies, traditional essays, etc. 

Check out some samples here: http://www.slideshare.net/schoolyardjunkies