Today my classroom was transformed into a school board meeting where students presented to members of the school board, and teachers. I have taught the lesson, "What should be taught in schools, Big Bang or Intelligent Design?" for the past few years. However after a summer of learning, I decided to challenge my students to move beyond the activity of discussing and writing a paper for my eyes only. I presented them with the scenario that they will be creating a presentation for actual members of the school board. So I had to contact members of our local school board, and am very pleased to report that I was able to get two to agree to be in my classroom for the two days of presentations for three of my World History classes.
Students were asked what they think should be taught in schools. They were presented with information about the two ideas that help us understand how we got here. The two theories were presented as best I understand them with the help of readings that students interacted with and we discussed as a class. In the presentation of this activity, I make it very clear that neither one of them is perfect in their explanation, and it is okay to believe whatever they choose to believe.
The task is pretty simple. You are to present to the panel, what should be taught, and support your ideas for why you chose this position. It is a difficult concept, and a controversial topic, and we discussed some of the ideas surrounding these theories as we studied and prepared for the presentations. Students can share and include their opinions and beliefs in their presentations, but they were instructed not to approach this as if it were solely about their own personal beliefs. They must consider all students, parents and teachers in their decision.
This is my first time completing this activity, and I wish I could share their hard work and amazing projects with the world. The students have worked incredibly hard and the results should be celebrated.
What an amazing experience! I had to change text color to hopefully draw your attention to the fact that this experience was incredible! It is one that I will remember for the rest of my life. I expected the presentations to go well, especially since students had put in such hard work. However, I found this experience transformed my role from evaluator to cheer leader. I have talked to each student over the past week several times about their project and had a feeling about how each of them would perform. There were some I knew would excel in their demonstration of knowledge and ability to defend their point of view. There were others that I thought might struggle in this format. As I watched the students present, I started making note of the things they did well, and areas that they could improve upon as I have always done. But after a few presentations, I realized how amazed I was at their efforts. No, not all of them were perfect presentations. What they turned out to be, was an inspiration to me. I stopped watching the presentations thinking about how to evaluate them, but more excited to see the awesomeness that is this group of students. I was most impressed with the presentations by the shy students, the soft spoken students, the ones that in our conversations needed more guidance. When these students stepped in front of the panel, I wanted them to succeed. I wanted them to show their knowledge and understanding. What I saw was outstanding. They shined! For some they overcame a fear, others were able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding beyond what I had seen before their final presentation. I have never been more proud of my students than I am right now.